Reviving the lost craft of shoe shining

A 1920s-style shoe-shine shop recently opened in Sheffield, where polish is set on fire and customers are given an unforgettable experience.

Talented shoe shiner, Joseph Dakin, aged 34, has worked with various vintage shops in Sheffield before becoming a professional in the art of shoe shining.

The Secret Shoe Box opened in September of this year, and it truly gives off a pure, authentic 1920s atmosphere.

This old-fashioned shop is on West Street, in a very convenient location above Cobblers and Keys.

The appeal for Joseph’s services have been overwhelmingly good, with locals incredibly eager to see him work his magic.

Customers sit comfortably in a grand, traditional shoe shining chair while Joseph sets the polish on fire and using his own tattooed hands, leaves the leather unrecognisable.

An unforgettable experience which leaves the customer in total admiration of what they’ve just seen.

Joseph said: “walking upstairs into my shop is like walking straight into the 1920s.”

It is ornamented with a vintage Singer Sewing machine and an old-fashioned fire place containing essential Sapphire shoe polishes and a decanter of Whiskey.

The Secret Shoe Box has over 50 styles of Loakes for sale, as well as mens’ suits from Gibson London.

A lot of people compare his style to that of the Peaky Blinders, although Joseph didn’t get his sense of fashion from the popular BBC series.

Joseph said: “I’ve always dressed like this, I’m a sub-cultured kid.”

Since the age of 14, Joseph has been restoring his own shoes, but he’s only been professional for two years, during which time he has gained significant recognition.

Joseph is now rather famous in Sheffield as it has become a regular occurrence for him to be recognised and approached around the city centre.

On Thursday 7th December, Joseph was asked to set up his throne-like chair for the people at the Sheffield Business Awards to sit in and have their shoes shined.

The night was a great success as people were staggered by Joseph’s service; the pace, the flair and the vintage style make for a truly memorable experience.


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