THERE are not many shoe shops where you can still get your feet measured.

But at Blaylocks in Old Town, Swindon, which has been running for four generations, a proper fitting is all part of the service if you want it.

The 94-year-old business started in 1920 when Robert Blaylock opened a shoe repairers in Gorse Hill.

In 1928, the store relocated to Old Town, and over the years it started selling shoes too rather than just repairing them.

The business, which is now directed by Robert’s grandson David, and managed by David’s son Mark, is one of the south of England’s leading independent shoe businesses, with a wide range of brands for adults and children.

David, 61, said: “In terms of how we run the business, we have tried to maintain the same principles. We believe people come to us because of our stock, our staff and the service we offer.

“We still endeavour to give personal service and carry a range of stock you wouldn’t find in a normal High Street store.”

When Robert Blaylock’s business moved to Old Town in 1928, it was first situated in what is now Pizza Express in Bath Road before it later moved to where it stands today.

When Robert’s health started deteriorating, his son, Arthur, who is now 87-years-old, came in to help. It was Arthur who built it up from the shoe repairers into the retail business it is today. Arthur’s son, David, started working at the business in 1974.

He has three children and all three of them have had Saturday jobs at the store, with youngest son Mark, 33, the only one still working there.

David added: “We had a lot of regular customers and we have a lot of regular staff too. All the staff with us now have been with us for quite some time.

The longest standing members have retired now but Muriel Hanks was with us for 50 years and Doreen Puddephatt was here for 40 years. They were both employed by my father.

“We often have customers comment that it’s nice to come into a proper shoe shop. It’s the smell of leather when you walk in and also the fact we still measure feet and give a service.

“Competition these days is very different to what it used to be. People’s shopping habits have changed over the years. The biggest threat to us and any High Street shop is the internet. Also, years ago people shopped where they lived. They would never dream of driving 40 miles down the motorway to go to a shopping centre.

“We’re trying to still offer something which is attractive to customers.”

As well as offering a shoe measuring and fitting service for adults, they also do the same for children.

They also offer a shoe repair service.

As wella s shoes, Blaylocks also sells handbags, polishes, shoe trees and laces.

For more information phone 01793 534271 or visit www.blaylocks.co.uk.

EMMA DUNN