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Wellington Boots or Wellies: So Very English and a godsend in Winter

Updated on June 6, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Wellies are swell. Does this mean that they are Swellington Boots?

I recently read a Hub by Habee, about waterproof boots in the States. I had just been thinking about writing a Hub about Wellington Boots. Initially I was deterred but then I thought, what the hey, HubPages is big enough for more than one pair of boots or should I say Wellies.

In fact there are probably lots of Hubs about these boots, so let's see if I can include some new information for the reader.

The Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington in his boots
The Duke of Wellington in his boots

Apsley House London

British modern day Wellies are based on a more traditional boot that was worn by the Duke of Wellington Arthur Wellesley.

Arthur Wellesley was the 1st Duke of Wellington. If you visit London check out Apsley House at No 1 London.

Apsley House is on the south-east corner of Hyde Park and was once known as No. I London.This was because It was the first building past the tollgate into the capital, for travellers..

Wellesley was born in 1769 and died in 1852.

The Duke of Wellington was also known as the Iron Duke having a distinguished military career and he was twice elected to be Prime Minster of England.

Wellesley was granted his dukedom after Napoleon's exile. At the time Wellesley was ambassador to France.

Wellington Boots

It was all down to the Duke of Wellington that these boots were ever manufactured. Based on a rougher, earlier version the early Wellies were made in a softer leather and were more shaped and fitted.

By the mid 1900s Goodyear became involved with Wellington Boots and most became rubberized. This meant that they were perfect for keeping out the rain.

The two World wars of the 20th Century led to an increased production of these boots. Their waterproof capabilities were their biggest selling point. However they were also cheap by then, as they were made from rubber.

Childhood Wellies

As a child in fifties Britain I remember children from poor families would wear Wellies come hell or high water, rain or shine, frost or heatwave. These poor kids would get teased at school and more but if you only have one item of footwear the option is to go barefoot.

The Wellies of my childhood were either black or green, had thin linings, rarely keeping your feet warm. However they did keep your feet dry in bad weather and prevented falls on ice and snow.

Modern Wellies

These days Wellies come in a multitude of styles and colours, with a wide price range. They are suitable for all age groups.

Such is the choice that, these days, you can own a statement pair of wellies.

The current spell of bad weather in the UK has seen the world and his wife trudging around in Wellington Boots. Me? Yes me too!

My Wellies are deep purple with pink and red flowers. They remind me of those hippy days of the sixties.

Retailers did a roaring trade in wellies during the U.Ks last bad winter and all of this has reminded me of Billy Connolly's Welly Boot Song:-

If it was na for your Wellies where would you be?

You'd be in the hospital or infirmary,

Coz you would have a dose of the flu or even pleurisy,

If ya did na have your feet in your Wellies.

Second verse:-

Wellies they are wonderful, Wellies they are swell,

Coz they keep out the watter, and they keep in the smell,

And when you walk inta a room you can also tell

when some bugger takes of his Wellies.

The Welly Boot Song

© 2010 Ethel Smith


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes we usually wear huge thick woolie socks

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      10 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      I had "Wellies" as a child in the U.S. Midwest, but they were purposely purchased large enough so that my regular shoes would fit inside. Everything I read about Wellies in the UK suggests they are worn without shoes. ???

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      You are welcome Mum.I agree about kids jumping in puddles whilst wearing their wellies

    • AllMomNeeds2know profile image


      11 years ago

      There is nothing cuter than a child spashing in some gorgeous wellington boots. Never realized the history, thanks.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull


    • 2patricias profile image


      11 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      LOL - and we thought that smell was seaweed!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks patricias. They will be a bit sweaty in summer though lol

    • 2patricias profile image


      11 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Fun Hub - and good thinking to include the Duke Of Wellington story!

      We live by the sea, and wellies are great in the summer for chilly days on the beach.

    • apricot profile image

      Bengali Bratisha 

      11 years ago from Italy

      I love wellies!! But I prefer the traditional ones not those fancy ones! To think I didn't know the first thing about their history - I mean the Duke of Wellington - I should have worked it out for myself really...very interesting hub - I love those welly pictures!!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Georgina. I love mine too :)

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 

      11 years ago from Dartmoor

      LovelyHub on wellies. I love my wellies and wear them all the time. I've just replaced my old green wellies, because I wore them out!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. A little giggle on these cold winter days helps keep you warm inside.

      Eileen I have been wearing my Wellies so long this winter, that I think people are starting to think that I have a rubber fetish lol.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      11 years ago from Arizona

      Quite entertaining, I would never guess that the wellies had a song as well! I wore them on many hunting trips over the years. Thanks for the smile and laugh!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      Well done, ethel, and you made me laugh with that song. Thank you.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      11 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Ethel, gee that atrticle takes me back to my childhood, so long long ago. Us kid used to live on a 2 acre property and in the winter we used to wade about in the paddocks with our wellies on.

      They are great and are still used in the mines as well in Kalgoorlie out in the mud. You can still slip in that mud though. These would be great in your local snow at the moment though wouldn't they.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      Aha! So these are the Wellies you spoke of - cool! My granddaughters love them!


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