James Poole, a Shropshire lad, was Henry Poole & Co’s founder. He began his professional life in London in 1806 as a linen draper, earning his stripes as a tailor by stitching military tunics during the Napoleonic wars. By the time of Waterloo, Poole had become London’s pre-eminent military tailor.
In 1846, James’s son Henry inherited the family business. Capitalising on his charisma and a passion for the aristocratic world of equestrian and field sports, Henry Poole became a ‘celebrity’ tailor, receiving the Royal Warrant in 1869 as court and, latterly, livery tailor to HM Queen Victoria. The company has proudly held the same distinction with each subsequent monarch.
In 1865, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII asked Henry Poole to cut a short celestial blue evening coat for informal dinners. This royal evening coat was the blueprint for what we know in England as the dinner jacket and which the Americans christened a tuxedo. Today, the Henry Poole dinner jacket remains the standard for men’s eveningwear.
Henry Poole & Co has occupied its current HQ at No. 15 Savile Row since 1982. Famous customers have included Charles Dickens, Dr Livingstone, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Prince von Bismarck, Buffalo Bill, Sir Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, William Randolph Hearst, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Emperor Hirohito of Japan.
Samuel Cundey took over the company after the death of Henry Poole and the firm is still guided by the Cundey family. Angus Cundey, the current chairman, introduced trunk shows in Europe and, in 1994, Simon Cundey MD did likewise across the United States of America.
A Henry Poole & Co suit is pure bespoke: measured, cut, fitted, sewn and finished entirely by hand in a process that involves three fittings and over 60 hours of work. Every suit is made in the workshops below numbers 15 and 16 Savile Row, and the majority of fabrics used in the construction of such a suit are the finest British woollen cloths.
Henry Poole accommodates the requirements of the modern man as part of the bespoke tailoring process. A 21st-century suit is made not merely for elegance and longevity but also for comfort. Henry Poole uses traditional methods to work the highest quality cloths into distinctive garments, without compromising on quality.
The company believes in passing on the bespoke tailoring process to talented young tailors. Its programme of apprenticeships for new tailors ensures that the premium standards of cutting and tailoring skills are preserved for the future.
The continuing success of Henry Poole bears witness to the company’s mastering of the art of embracing change while at the same time preserving the traditional values that make the London cut the gold standard of tailoring. At its core is a bespoke process like no other. The results – men’s tailored suits, blazers and sports jackets, shirts, top coats, overcoats and dress wear – combine the best of what is modern with the core of what is classic, creating anew something as timeless as it is luxurious.
HENRY POOLE 15 SAVILE ROW, LONDON W1S 3PJ +44 (0)20 7734 5985