Bowes and Bounds Connected

A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green

Spyros Andrea: The Kinky Cobbler of Myddleton Road

Number 123 Myddleton Road is one of the finest remaining frontages in this once proud Edwardian shopping street.

If you imagine hard you might just see beyond the grimy cracked glass and flaking grey paint to relive its former grandeur.

But it’s unlikely that you would conceive of this to be one of the premier fetish boot and shoe workshops in the world; footwear aficianados have rated the creations of this workshop by master cobbler, Spyros Andrea, to be of the best and highest-quality.

The shop – formerly know as Cypriana was established on Myddleton Road in 1973 and was trading until Spyros retired in the late 1990’s.

Spyros Andrea first learned the shoe-and-boot making trade in his native country of Cyprus. Arriving in London the summer of 1950 as a young man of 21 – he worked hard for low-pay as a jobbing cobbler and eventually found a position with a fellow Cypriot Pepino Vassos.

Spyros Andrea had been used to making "normal shoes for normal" people; so it must have come as something of an of an eye opener when he joined Mr. Vassos who ran a shop that made sexy high heels and custom-made shoes and boots for the specialty footwear shops in Soho's nightclub and sex-shop district. Mr. Vassos charged a lot for the exotic footwear he produced and in turn, paid his employees extremely well for the “kinky boots” they turned out.

During his tenure with Mr. Vassos, Spyros Andrea moved quickly from construction to design and made huge numbers of surprisingly fetishistic shoes and boots for specialist shops and designer labels.

After serving a 20 year “apprenticeship” he decided the time was right to set up on his own and opened Cypriana Shoes at 123 Myddleton Road, London N22 in 1973. At first, business was mostly custom-made street shoes for men and women in the local neighborhood, special orthopedic footwear and basic shoe-and-boot repairs.

Gradually Andrea gained his own reputation for making exceptionally high-quality shoes – either from his own designs – or making up shoes by other designers. Again these shoes and boots were made in a range of sizes and styles suitable for men and women.

Although N22 was a long way from Wardour Street his old Soho contacts began to request his specialist services once again. This grew into an international reputation with suppliers in France Switzerland and the US demanding his services.

All the time the Shop in Myddleton Road kept the façade of a respectable business.

In our archive photography section we have a photograph taken in 1999 by Richard Aisworth showing a conventional selection of footwear in the shop window including a single shoe from top British shoe designer Patrick Cox. 

Yet behind the neat barley twist window frame and crisp lace curtains a selection of exotic stack-heeled thigh-high boots were being quietly crafted. Among his creations were glitzy thigh boots for performers at the Paul Raymond Revue Bar in Soho. He made a pair of high-heeled pumps for actress Joan Collins once and in the late seventies he made shoes to the designs of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren who visited the Bowes Park shop and studio..

Now his creations are sought out by collectors and enthusiasts. Spyros Andrea has achieved mainstream recognition for his very specialist craft; the Northampton Boot and Shoe Museum has several of his pieces in their collection as historic examples of the bootmakers skill. (e.g left).

Spyros Andrea retired in the late 1990s and his workshop was left pretty much untouched until his death in 2005.

A story is told of clearing the premises a short while after his death. A few lasts and scraps of leather were left as well as some old patterns and tools, but one lonely boot was found under a pile of old bits and pieces. It was dusty and dirty, but beautifully constructed and stitched The mystery of the solitary boot remains. Where was its partner? Who was its owner? Why was it left behind at the Cypriana workshop when no other boots or shoes were present?

Just one more of the mysterious stories of Myddleton Road.

Sources:

I am grateful to several sources for the content and images on this article - and particularly to one "local" for the original tip off on the fascinating story Some of the content comes from rather "specialist" areas of the internet ... so I have not made a direct link - but would be happy to provide sources for those interested in following up the story.

Views: 2712

Comment by Kathleen Duffy on May 18, 2013 at 17:59

I absolutely love this post!!   Thank you so much. This is the sort of history that is so important and this article makes sure it isn't forgotten. 

Comment by Biba Tomulic-Leach on May 21, 2013 at 11:31

Amazing story, thanks for the research! Kinky aspect was well hidden by the shop curtains, it's hard to imagine Vivienne Westwood visiting that shop. Also, it's interesting that another well respected designer Valentino is using the workshop currently - www.immortalcouture.com

Comment by Lindsey Berthoud on May 21, 2013 at 13:36

Those black and white platforms are quite amazing! Thanks Richard, what a great story. 

Comment by Irena Rybinska on May 22, 2013 at 13:24

A reet riveting read.!! Thanks Richard.

 

Comment by Mandy Norman on May 24, 2013 at 19:15

What a great story! Shame it's still not going on today.

Comment by Melanie Corfield on May 24, 2013 at 20:55

Thanks for this - I always wondered about this shop.  I remember the display of "innocent" shoes but it never looked the kind of place you could walk in and browse around..!  Personally I think it's one of the most lovely shop fronts on the street.

Comment by Max Andrea on September 1, 2015 at 0:17
If you guys didn't know this is my Grandad spiros this is why I'm half Cypriot well quarter and a little more information I see my grandad spiros's grave in Cyprus!

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