At each stop, with a bag hoisted onto one shoulder, I would start by scribbling furiously in my reporter’s notebook about the year the firm was founded, the backgrounds of the founders, the types of clothes (like riding breeches or officers’ uniforms) that had constituted the original business, famous customers like various Princes of Wales, Winston Churchill, movie stars or heads of state, and so forth.
But I always ended up pocketing my pencil and grabbing my camera. It was such a rare opportunity not only to see the ground floor areas where cutters welcome interview, measure, and advise customers but also the downstairs workrooms where tailors construct trousers, coats, waistcoats and overcoats that I wanted to record the sights as much as I could.
The workspaces, as you’ll see, are low-ceilinged with narrow aisles. Everybody was intent on his or her work, and although we were encouraged to ask questions we also knew our hosts had orders to fill and deadlines to meet, so we tried not to intrude. There was a lot to be learned just from watching, too.
Here are a few photos of each place on our tour.
Henry Poole & Co.
Anderson & Sheppard
Gieves & Hawkes
Thanks to all our hosts for welcoming us into these very special workplaces!