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The missing socks, boot lasts and slippers

It is well documented that those responsible for travelling ballet companies in the 30’s and 40’s controlled their expenses with a steady hand, Colonel de Basil in particular. It was expensive enough to pay for labour to keep costumes in good order.

That being the case, it would not be unusual if dancers were asked to keep their own slippers and lasts, making for ease of storage and transport.

Rather than have one man responsible for all of them.

Few objected to the notion that the tools found in the dead man’s suitcase may have been used to make and repair ballet flats, and given the state of the dead man’s feet, it follows he might have been the best man for the job when it came to making his his own.

Two years ago, Derek Abbott wrote of his frustration at their absence in an email to me ..

“In his suitcase he had a spare clothes, including spare
vests and jocks….but NO spare socks!! The only socks
he had were the ones he was wearing. Now that really bugs me.
Love to see you put that in your story.”


The only items the dead man would have had in his suitcase that undeniably confirmed him as dancer would have been his boot lasts and slippers.

It follows that if his suitcase was stripped of ID, as was his body, anything in it that confirmed his occupation would have been removed as well.

And where better for him to protect his boot lasts, rather than have them knocking around in a suitcase.





He used a zinc sheath (see pic) to protect his sharpened tools.

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