In 1815 the prolific portrait painter, James Lonsdale, captured an iconic image of the Duke of Wellington stood on the battlefield at Waterloo wearing Hessian boots of polished leather with ornamental tassels. These popular boots were the height of fashion during the Regency period.
But Wellington had spotted a problem with this type of boot: once mounted on a horse, the boots left the knee extremely vulnerable and Wellington noted that this resulted in crippling injuries for many soldiers who had been shot in the knee.
And so he instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St James's Street in London, to adapt the Hessian boot to offer more practicality, cutting the heel low and, crucially, extending the front upward to cover the knee. The new design caught on and was dubbed the Wellington boot.
Two great minds meet to move welly boots beyond the battlefield
In the 1850s the industrialist Hiram Hutchinson met the chemist Charles Goodyear. Goodyear told Hutchinson about a new process he'd discovered called sulfur vulcanisation which meant that natural rubber could be converted into more durable materials that could be easily utilised for different purposes.
Goodyear would go on to manufacture tyres, while Hutchinson bought the patent to manufacture footwear. Hutchinson set up a factory in France where, at that time, 95% of the population were working on fields in wooden clogs. Hutchinson began to produce rubber boots in the Wellington style and, because they were completely waterproof, they became an instant success.
And of course the wellington boot has endured to this day as one of the most reliant and versatile types of footwear, worn by factory workers, gardeners and festival goers around the world.
The meeting of minds that made Reeds Rains
Reeds Rains can also trace its history back to the mid-1800s. In 1868 Samuel Rains founded a rent collection business in Manchester and, just a couple of years later in 1870, George Wrightson founded a property business in Preston. In 1890 Edward Reeds bought Wrightson's business and renamed it Reeds.
The two businesses - Reeds and Samuel Rains & Sons - grew in parallel over the next near century, each growing by opening new offices and expanding through mergers. Then, in 1982, the two businesses merged to become Reeds Rains, one of the largest estate agencies in the country, combining their rich wealth of experience and family history to become one of the most trusted names on the high street.
Protecting you like a welly boot
As well as selling and letting houses, Reeds Rains has built on its 150 years of experience in the property market to offer a range of fantastic property related protection products. These include:
- Home & Contents Insurance, including specialist cover for landlords
- Home Buyers Protection which covers certain solicitor, mortgage and surveyor fees if a purchase falls through
- Rent Protection Insurance which pays landlords 100% of monthly rent if a tenant defaults
- Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection which could help you cover mortgage payments if you get into difficulty.
- Tenant Protection which helps tenants to insure their income
To discuss any of these products and make an application, book an appointment with one of our protection advisers.