Historical information

This child's shoe was found underneath the floorboards of the historic Brighton house St Ninian's, 10 Miller Street, during its demolition in September 1974. One of Brighton's earliest buildings, St Ninian's was built around 1841 for merchant, politician and former British naval officer George Ward Cole (1783-1879) and his family. Ward Cole was a prominent member of Victorian society in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. He served in the Victorian Parliament from 1853-55 and 1859-79. His seaside home in Brighton was a fashionable rendezvous for many important identities who shaped Melbourne’s history. Victoria’s first royal visitor, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was a guest there in 1867. It is possible the shoe belonged to one of the Ward Cole children. During the demolition of St Ninian's in September 1974 the Brighton Historical Society's then-secretary, Rosalind Landells, snuck onto the work site in the hope of saving some part of the building and its history. She found this shoe under the partially-demolished floor of the house.

Physical description

Brown leather child's shoe with an ankle strap, fastening with a mother-of-pearl button. Heavily deteriorated.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten in pencil on the sole of the shoe: "Found under floor at St Ninians 1974 Sept during demolition".