Wearing Joyce Grenfell’s shoes


I’ve never been to an auction before, but yesterday, early for a meeting in Oxford, I happened to see a poster for a viewing of vintage fashion at Mallams Auctioneers – and went along for a look. I fell in love with these burnt orange satin pumps, which belonged to the comedienne and actress Joyce Grenfell,  a national treasure no less! I tried them on and they were a perfect fit, so this morning I went along to the auction and with beating heart put in a bid or two. I was thrilled to win them, and the original drawing which went with them. But I will be keeping them strictly for very special, indoor only occasions.

What made the occasion even more special was meeting Joyce Grenfell’s biographer Janie Hampton (who was selling the shoes and other things) and actress Cheryl Knight, who was bidding against me! But she was happy as she had bought Joyce’s hat, and the three of us had a cup of tea together after the auction. Cheryl is in a production which I would love to see, ‘Turn Back the Clock’ – she performs Joyce’s monologues superbly (I’ve seen the video clip). And she also looks after the shoes at the Royal Opera House – what a lovely job! Next move, to read Joyce Grenfell’s autobiography…


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