We started in 1933 in a small shop on Conran Street in Harpurhey, Manchester and quickly established ourselves as the place to visit to have boots expertly made and fitted and to decide on that important personalised nailing pattern!
Over the years, Ellis Brigham shops were always first to sell the latest innovations, seeing clothing move from Ventile, to neoprene coated nylon and then to GORE-TEX fabrics. Footwear soon lost the nails and grew Vibram soles whilst leather uppers became suede and nylon and incorporated GORE-TEX liners. Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports is still going strong and is still proudly family owned. We’ve got the world’s best brands and amazing products that will make your time spent in the mountains even more rewarding. Across the UK we now have 24 fantastic shops with friendly, knowledgeable staff who are all enthusiastic about the outdoors and understand implicitly your needs. Ellis Brigham’s shops really do bring the spirit of the mountains to the high street so check us out, we have mountains of experience!
Frederick Ellis Brigham set up business making walking boots and cycling shoes in a tiny ‘two up, two down’ building on the outskirts of Manchester. A photograph (below) of FEB captures the spirit of the age: "...the trilby, which was hardly ever off, was the modern day baseball cap of its time.
His pants and jacket are Harris Tweed, as that was virtually all you could get at the time. His shirt would be Harris Tweed also. He is wearing Scottish beaters’ shoes with huge toe spring which made striding the fells easier and walking was a rocking-along motion. There would be a leather flap over the front lacing for extra weather protection. He always wore a pencil behind his ear. He’s holding a pair of his hand made sandals. In the shop door window are for sale Bartholomews folded fabric maps of the nearby Pennines & Lake District. The shop window has rubber wellingtons for the local trade, hand made spiked running shoes, hand knitted Harris Tweed wool socks and a rucksack by R.Burns Ltd - the best rucksack maker of the day being technically superior to the rival Brown Best rucksacks."
After the war, as mountain walking and climbing became more and more popular, the shop began to sell ex WD climbing equipment. This was the era of government surplus items like ex-army rucksacks, snow shoes for 2/6d per pair and skis for 30/- a pair. Mr. Brigham's boots with their special nailing patterns became very sought after.
As more and more British climbers began to visit the Alps, the Brigham family began to visit the alpine valleys to buy the latest mountaineering equipment, and exotic French climbing hardware and Italian boots began to appear on the shelves of Ellis Brigham’s Manchester shop. Sadly Frederick Brigham died before the end of the fifties and the business was taken over by eldest son Bob, soon to be joined by younger brother Ellis.