Expansion, innovation and icons      Redgate Factory, Bridgwater In the beginning | 1825-1900 | 1900-1946 | 1946-1990 | 1990-present


As the world emerged from the dark days of war, the next four decades saw change beyond the wildest dreams of many. What began with a baby boom, rock ‘n’ roll, teenagers, television and sputniks boldly going into outer space would end with mobile phones, the music video, Live Aid and an obsession with working out at the gym.

For C&J Clark the end of the 1940s ushered in a period of rapid growth. The available workforce in Street was too small to meet demand so, under the guidance of chairman Bancroft Clark, the company opened 15 new factories in neighbouring towns and cities. New shops and stores were also opened, including, in 1957, Clarks’ first flagship store on London’s Regent Street.

In the decades to come, expansion at home and abroad, increased production and the introduction of new materials like polyurethane and trademark technologies like Active Air all helped Clarks become the world’s best-known name in footwear. There were innovative styles too. The Desert Boot for example, brainchild of Nathan Clark, made its debut in 1950, captured the imagination of millions and remaining a global icon to this day.