The Luxury Channel highlights some of London’s best craftspeople who create unique products that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world….
Henry Poole & Co
The company still provides classic, elegant, well-cut bespoke garments, and the work is carried out on their premises at 15 Savile Row in the traditional way. A flexible attitude towards styling, combined with the most luxurious cloth, make every piece made by Henry Poole & Co truly unique. Following the initial cloth selection and measurements, an individual paper pattern is created for the customer and the cloth is cut by hand before the garment is ready for the next step. It is then fitted onto the customer at different stages of construction, which ensures the best level of fit and comfort. The showroom offers an extensive variety of over 2000 cloth swatches, which range from luxury worsted cashmere suitings originating from mills in Huddersfield in Yorkshire, to rich flannels from the West Country and pure cashmere, together with fine tweeds from the Scottish Borders.
The gunmakers were granted their first Royal Warrant in 1868 by The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, an honour that has been bestowed on the Managing Director of James Purdey & Sons Ltd by each succeeding Monarch. Today, Nigel Beaumont holds the Warrants of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. In 1882, the company moved from Oxford Street to the new premises on the corner of South Audley Street and Mount Street, where it remains to this day. Although James Purdey & Sons Ltd was bought by the Seely family in 1946, it was to remain a family-owned business until 1994. The Hon Richard Beaumont, a Seely nephew and Chairman since 1970, decided to retire and the company was acquired by the Richemont Group.
Salix Cricket Bat Makers
In the late 1970s, Andrew Kember cut down a willow tree on his father’s farm, fashioned a handle from cane drain rods and wellington boots, and made his first cricket bat. This initial attempt earned him an apprenticeship with John Newbery, with whom he remained until the latter’s untimely death. In 1990, Kember founded The Salix Cricket Bat Company with cricketer, businessman and friend Hugh Betts. They remain a small, uncompromising, artisan business manufacturing unusually fine English cricket bats which sit on the shelves of the UK’s leading cricket specialists, next to many mass-produced and imported bats. Without major player endorsement or massive advertising campaigns, the bats are in great demand. To achieve this level of design, performance and finish involves skilled hand work, but also fastidious and precise machining, ongoing design of tools and machines, constant development of ideas, shapes and finishes, all underpinned by an unrivalled apprenticeship in all aspects of willow processing. Good bat making is a kind of alchemy: turning basic, natural raw materials into something very special.
H. Forman & Son
H. Forman & Son remains a family concern, the last of the original London smokeries, with Lance Forman, Harry Forman’s great grandson, flying the flag for the famous London Cure. Remaining faithful to principles established in 1905 – the freshest salmon, a little salt, just the right amount of oak smoke – he is upholding traditional values and skills that would otherwise have died out long ago, along with one of gastronomy’s finest foods. H.Forman & Son is, and will always remain, a smoker and wholesaler of salmon. London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon is the signature product. Wild Scottish salmon arrives at Forman’s temperature-controlled smoke house within 24 hours of being caught and superior farmed Scottish salmon within 48 hours of harvest. After salting, with bones left in to enhance flavour, two different methods are employed – cold-smoking and hot-smoking. H.Forman & Son Smoked Salmon is supplied with the pellicle removed for a far superior taste. Slicing by hand – D-cut or banquet slices, according to customer preference – also enhances taste because the slightly uneven surface of each slice releases more flavour.
Wig Specialities And Richard Mawbey
Wig Specialities has been in existence for over forty years and is one of the major suppliers to the film, television and theatre business, both in Great Britain and internationally. Richard Mawbey oversees all of the work personally, from the design concept through fittings and knotting plans to the cutting and styling of the finished product. He is surrounded by an enthusiastic team of very experienced knotters, hair colour specialists and extremely talented hairdressers, which enables the company to undertake a whole range of work, large or small, giving great attention to detail and maintaining high standards of workmanship. He considers it a great honour to be personal wig-maker to Sir Sean Connery and Sir Ben Kingsley. In 2000, the company worked on more than fifty wigs and hairpieces for the first Harry Potter film, which included one of the longest wig and beard creations ever for Richard Harris as the Wizard Dumbledore.
Ormonde Jayne is a unique luxury perfume house of uncompromising perfection, creating perfumes, scented candles and a bathing collection. Founded and run by owner Linda Pilkington, it is known for the rarity and purity of ingredients sourced personally from growers from the Amazon to Arabia. The perfumes are alchemised in Ormonde Jayne’s London laboratory, attracting the attention of the perfume cognoscenti and fragrance lovers worldwide. Scents like pink pepper and basmati rice are favourites with those who drop into the flagship boutique on Old Bond Street.