Our Heritage

1904- Where it all began.

In 1904, in the heart of York, a shoe business was established by Albert Watkinson. For over a century Watkinsons has been one of the largest and most renowned shoe retailers in the UK. Since 1904, the name Watkinsons has been synonymous with luxury shoes and excellent quality from across the globe. Watkinson is at the forefront of Yorkshire style. We design and supply mens, ladies and children's shoes with city, country and coast in mind. 

Watkinsons is a journey, and we welcome you onboard. Now in its fourth generation we are a family run business based on high standards, shoes for everyone and tradition. We welcome you to Watkinsons. 

Our story is very unique. Albert Watkinson cycled to York from Suffolk, visited Castle Howard and decided to settle in York. He opened a small retail and repair shop in Gillygate but quickly outgrew this premises and moved to the original Watkinsons Shoe Store in Bootham. Since then, Watkinsons has traded from various sites within York and now trade from our HQ at 53 Goodramgate, a stones throw away from York Minster.

Our Identity

Our identity is a Victorian- Style arcaded shoe store, together with our black and gold colours and emblem consisting of Albert Watkinsons original signature. The brass shoe sign was purchased in the 1970's and has since been known as one of the most tasteful advertisements in York.

We have recently developed our very own Watkinsons Heritage Collection and have based our identity upon shoes that match our favourite Yorkshire locations. 

We are also proud members of Visit York and work closely with local advertisers such as Yorkshire Living, Living North, York Mumbler and Little Vikings. 


We have battled through two world wars, economic recessions and the covid-19 pandemic and remain one of the largest and most renowned independent stores in the United Kingdom. Today in 2021, Goodramgate is the hub of our A Watkinson HQ. We stock over 50 different brands of top quality shoes from across the globe and travel to ensure that we are providing the right shoes to the nation.

The shop is currently run by Jeffrey Preece, who is the fourth generation of the Watkinsons Family. He has over 30 years of experience in the shoe buying domain and has worked across Europe to ensure quality in the shoes Watkinsons provide. Having returned from her studies in Modern Languages and her career in London, Alice Preece is the fifth generation at Watkinsons. Alice manages all wholesale accounts and the e-commerce side of Watkinsons.

We strive to bring you products which we not only know to be stylish but quality and value for money- it is what we have been doing since 1904. Buy local, support small and shop with Watkinsons. We have unique brands from across the world at Watkinsons including Duckfeet, Palmroth, Palanco, Sioux and many more. 

We are present on Instagram and Facebook, follow our socials to keep up and see what we have in store! We also have a 5* Google rating