What to do in summer > Sports and leisure > Natural world > The Educational Trails > Heritage Trails > Historical path in Ayer > Post 10. Daniel’s Shoe Repair Shop

Post 10. Daniel’s Shoe Repair Shop

The old mill, built in the eighteenth century was operated with water power. The flowing water of the stream was used to turn the wheel and the saw. In 1952 it was replaced by a sawmill which was operated by electric power. The building was dismantled in 1995 at the time of the widening of the road. It was rebuilt according to the orientation of the oldest sawmill, and is currently used as a museum.

   Map of Ayer

 

The mill belonged to the Bourgeoisie of Ayer, that could thus exploit the forests that they owned, producing firewood, beams and boards for construction. Sawdust was used as bedding for the stables.

This small museum, which now houses the tools and equipment that belonged to Daniel Melly ( 1919-2002 ), was created with donations from his family, in 2008.

Once, at a time when money was scarce and people constantly walked between the valley of the Rhone and the mountain, shoes wore through rapidly. Itinerant cobblers went from village to village to offer their services. Then, residents learned the craft and exercised it as an accessory activity. Daniel Melly tried to make it his profession in 1936 ( CFC degree obtained in 1947 ).

All the different stages of shoemaking are presented in the museum. The wooden forms used to create the sizes, sewing machines and different tools can be seen here. Before the arrival of machines, all operations were performed by hand, from the soles to the laces. The form of the sole was cut in a piece of leather that was softened in water. It was then pounded to give it the necessary rigidity. The soles of hiking boots were equipped with nails.

The square is dedicated to the twinning of the former town of Ayer with Montferrier-sur-Lez ( France ), agreed to in 1999. The old water pump, situated nearby, was used to fight fire before 1900.

 


The historical visit of Ayer ends here, but more discoveries of the heritage of the village are possible in the suggested visits.