Norwich’s friendly shoe factory

Memories have been revived for the well-loved Norwich footwear company as it celebrates its 75th anniversary

A birthday party has revived memories of friendly Florida – the family firm where people wanted to work.

Today, Van Dal, part of the Florida Group, is the last Norwich shoe company making upmarket ladies shoes.

My story of how the firm was celebrating its 75th anniversary sparked many memories among people who worked there, or had family or friends who did.

And many spent decades at the factory, run by members of the Goodman family, which had a reputation for being one of the best shoe factories to work at in Norwich, where there were once more than 25 factories.

The anniversary story proved what a soft spot people have for Van Dal, still flying the Norwich flag after all these years and now employing about 80 people at its Dibden Road premises.

It all started in 1934 when Adelman Goodman, a shoemaker from London, arrived in Norwich looking for somewhere to start his business. Today, the chairman of the company is his grandson Simon Goodman, who says they are looking to the future with confidence. 'Norwich is our home,' he added.

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Let's take a look at life over the years as we open the company archives – and don't miss my page over the next few weeks as we introduce you to more members of the Florida family.

The objects of the Florida Shoe factory (Norwich) Ltd, were registered in October 1936 and stated that the company had been set up to:

'Carry on the business as manufacturers and factors, merchants, importers and dealers in boots and shoes and wholesale retail dealers in leather and rubber goods, hides, leather stockings, socks, gaiters, puttees, goloshes, silks, fabrics, and dealers in all kinds of footwear and allied articles.'