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The Development of Zlín, Home of the Bat'a Shoe Corporation
On 22nd October 2015 Eva Jiřičná, a renowned architect, who was born in Zlín but has lived and worked in England since 1968, gave a fascinating talk on the development of Zlín into a major centre for industrialised shoe manufacture. This occurred largely through the efforts of Tomáš Bat’a, the son of a Zlín shoemaker, who left school at a very young age but was determined to learn about and apply to the shoe industry modern methods of mass production already being used for other purposes. Through his vision Zlín was transformed not just by the construction of a large and efficient factory but also by the provision of well-designed housing and all other necessary facilities for workers who came to Zlín from the countryside.
The town has recently been enhanced by new buildings to accommodate the university that has been established there, some of which have been designed by Eva Jiřičná herself, see photo by Richard Davies, left. Her talk was enlivened by a number of personal recollections of her experiences as a small child under the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
The event was held at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic, London, and we are grateful to the Ambassador and his staff for their help and cooperation. Wines were sponsored by Vinovitaj Limited.