Search

Brent 2020: The marvel of Brown Edwards shoe repair shop in Kensal Rise captured in exhibition

PUBLISHED: 14:25 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:40 26 June 2020

Owner of Brown Edwards Satish Umeria with daughter Ricka. PIcture: Jude Wacks

Owner of Brown Edwards Satish Umeria with daughter Ricka. PIcture: Jude Wacks

©judewacks2020

A family-run shoe repair business which has been in Kensal Rise for 106 years is the latest photographic subject for a Willesden mum.

Owner of Brown Edwards Satish Umeria. PIcture: Jude WacksOwner of Brown Edwards Satish Umeria. PIcture: Jude Wacks

Brown Edwards, in Chamberlayne Road, opened in 1914 and was bought by the Umeria family in 1984.

For a time they also had a shop in Acton.

Satish and Bhagway, now both 62, have carried on the traditions of repairing shoes and expanded to cutting keys as well.

Daughter Ricka, who trained as a nurse, has worked in the business for 14 years after her father got sick.

A Brown Edwards customer with Bhagway Umeria. PIcture: Jude WacksA Brown Edwards customer with Bhagway Umeria. PIcture: Jude Wacks

“They started it together, dad did the leather work and mum did the stitching, the key cutting, the retail side,” the 37-year-old said.

You may also want to watch:

“When I just graduated from uni my father had a massive brain haemorrhage, he was lucky to survive it. I stepped in to help and I’ve been here 14 years. My dad will never go back to full health, he’s had heart attacks and pancreatic cancer, he really has been through the wars, but this business is his life. He and my mum are workaholics.”

The two women are at the front desk every day and at night, when the shop is closed, Satish comes and starts working with the leather, standing at the machines cutting, then grinding and gluing it.

Owner of Brown Edwards Bhagway Umeria with daughter Ricka. PIcture: Jude WacksOwner of Brown Edwards Bhagway Umeria with daughter Ricka. PIcture: Jude Wacks

“It’s a hard job, to repair shoes is a craft,” said Ricka. “My dad does it properly, if a sole’s run down, he’ll rebuild it.”

READ MORE: John the Grocer captured in Willesden mum’s online photo exhibition

Their story is captured by Jude Wacks, part of her @a_Lifetimes_work photographic exhibition on Instagram, which captures diverse family businesses in Brent.

Her project is part of the Brent 2020 London Borough of Culture.

She said: “During my research phase, it become evident that local businesses need support and what better way to support them than to not just visit them but also to provide an opportunity to showcase them to not just our local community but also to those outside the area looking for businesses that really are focused on the quality of their product and service provided. Brown Edwards is one of those that I’m delighted to include.”

Ricka added: “I feel that small businesses are very unseen and very forgotten. When I look back at my parents and seen them work day and night, it’s nice for them to get that kind of recognition.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Brent & Kilburn Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Kilburn Times