Tucked among the gentlemen’s clubs of Pall Mall and St James’s, Jermyn Street has long been a bastion of good taste.
Reflecting its strength of tradition and heritage, a great many great British brands have called this thoroughfare home for some 300 years. The history of the street dates back to 1661, when Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, obtained land from Charles II to develop a residential neighbourhood. Once completed, the area flourished, becoming London’s most fashionable address, dominated by the beautiful St James’s Church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
Just as Savile Row is synonymous with bespoke suiting, so Jermyn Street is where the gentleman about town has always bought his shirts.
All the best shirtmakers are here, including Turnbull & Asser, Harvie & Hudson, Emma Willis, Hilditch & Key, Hawes & Curtis, Thomas Pink, Charles Tyrwhitt and Emmett London. But it’s not just about shirts: stores also hold customers’ fitting details for formalwear, gloves and even hats. Britain’s oldest and most reputable shoe and bootmakers, from John Lobb and Foster & Son to Tricker’s and Crockett & Jones, have long-established bases on Jermyn Street, too.
Meanwhile, on Piccadilly Arcade, which runs between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street, you’ll find both Budd Shirts and Benson & Clegg, offering a staggering wealth of goods, including Benson & Clegg’s unrivalled collection of military, academic and club ties. However, it wasn’t just gentlemen’s outfitters who set up shop on Jermyn Street in the early years – the wealthy clientele who frequented the street could also buy a whole a range of goods from around the world, many of which were considered exotic at the time.
Floris, the oldest independent family perfumers in the world, and the only one with a Royal Warrant from HM the Queen, established itself at 89 Jermyn Street in 1730. The magnificent Fortnum & Mason, by appointment to both HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales, has been at the heart of life in St James’s since its foundation in 1705. Paxton & Whitfield, Britain’s leading cheesemonger for over 200 years, has had a base on Jermyn Street since the mid-1700s, becoming cheesemonger to HM Queen Victoria in 1850. In fact, so popular are the stiltons at Paxton & Whitfield today that, at Christmas, the queue to buy them snakes all the way down Jermyn Street.
Gentlemen and women need to eat and Jermyn Street has a number of iconic restaurants: Wiltons, established in 1742, is famed for the finest oysters, wild fish and game; Rowley’s, at 113, is an institution known for its delicious steaks; 45 Jermyn St offers a glamorous but contemporary experience; while The Ritz on Piccadilly, with whom Jermyn Street has had a longstanding relationship, serves the most famous afternoon tea in the world.
Jermyn Street has served world leaders, royalty, politicians, authors, poets, sports stars, film stars and rock stars alike, and it looks to the future knowing that although fashion and etiquette change, an appreciation of fine quality, service and craftsmanship never goes out of style.
THE JERMYN STREET ASSOCIATION 50 JERMYN STREET, LONDON SW1Y 6LX +44 (0)20 7293 0922