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Meet the makers: Jermyn Street

Living in Pimlico | 2 MIN READ

While we are currently only open for key workers, we are looking forward to welcoming guests back later in the summer. When the lockdown is lifted, London’s independent shops will need our support more than ever, so we’ve put together this guide to Jermyn Street’s finest artisans.

Discover  genteel Jermyn Street

In the heart of St James’s, tucked away discreetly behind those purveyors of posh groceries, messrs Fortnum & Mason, is one of London’s most distinctive retail streets, and one that has long been a magnet for the kind of people who are otherwise fairly allergic to shopping. In fact, Jermyn Street has everything a gentleman could possibly need, particularly if that gentleman is a traditionalist. In this case, that means a gent of ample means who likes his shoes to be bespoke and his shirts to be tailormade, preferably in Britain, and preferably also worn by either James Bond or Prince Charles.

Floris: One of the oldest shops on the street is Floris, the perfumier where Winston Churchill used to buy his aftershave, still in business here after 290 years, still with a long list of regular clients, and still owned by the descendants of Juan Floris, originally a barber from Menorca. Today Floris, with its Spanish mahogany cabinets from the 1851 Great Exhibition, is the only perfumier to the Queen. And whilst they are no longer made in London, its classics such as Number 89 aftershave (the shop’s address), much liked by Ian Fleming, are nevertheless still made in England – in the small town of Tiverton, in deepest Devon.

Crockett & Jones : Still making its own brogues, loafers and Oxfords in the UK are Crockett & Jones, with the current Mr Jonathan Jones (fifth generation of the family) heavily involved in the design side of the business, keeping some 200 craftsmen shoemakers busy up in the factory in Northampton. The Jermyn Street shop’s best sellers are the Snowdon boot and the Coniston boot, for the more rugged individual who likes to be well-shod in the countryside - and that includes the Prince of Wales.

Turnbull & Asser: Amongst the street’s more revered names is Turnbull & Asser, also family owned and with a royal warrant, and also still very much British made. Their main manufacturing is in Gloucester, but for their bespoke business individual shirt patterns are actually still made on Jermyn Street, as they have been for many a famous customer over the years; Ronald Reagan, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill’s patterns are all displayed on the wall, and Churchill’s is particularly notable for his neck size – a stonking 19 ¾ inches, where most men average 16.

Emma Willis: In amongst all these long-established male-dominated establishments, one relative newcomer stands out by virtue of being the only business on the street run by a woman. When Emma Willis first set up shop here 20 years ago, in her re-creation of an elegant drawing room, she was chided by a male customer that ‘women don’t make shirts’. She’s come a long way since those days, employing 30 staff in a factory in Gloucester, where all her cutters too are female. Her client list includes Prince Charles – and a lot of injured veterans through her charity Style for Soldiers, which fits them out for life beyond the services.