Arthur Morrison would find London a very different place at the moment. The streets are anything but mean, instead they're eerily quiet.
Surprisingly, in suburban London the world is also quiet but it has a reasonably normal feel, if a little hushed. You also get the impression that there's a crackle of pent up energy waiting to be released everywhere. The heart of Mayfair is a working destination and a home for many overseas residents and visitors. As a consequence of the pandemic the centre of the old town feels a little abandoned. But that's not the whole story.
What we perceive is often not the reality of a situation. In the west end of London, the reality is that commercially, the power is very much on and quietly, behind the closed doors, Savile Row's heart is beating strongly. I found myself there last week and yes, people are missing from the streets but they will return and so will normality. I can't deny that I'm delighted that every adult in the UK will have been offered the vaccination by this July. As that date grows nearer, so does the desire to get back to doing what we love...ordering Savile Row suits and other nice things.
Whilst on the Row, I wandered down the old street to see how the Savile Row tailors are weathering the storm and checked in on my rather lonely looking local pub. I also met a good friend on the Row, Nicolas Guilbaud of Holland & Sherry, one of Savile Rows grand old merchants. I've known Nic for over twenty years or so from when he was at Scabal, another fine cloth house. The cloth merchants who supply all of the bespoke and made to measure tailors are always good barometers of the trade, for obvious reasons.
As usual, I won't witter on. But if you're so inclined, there are two videos in this post. One is a look down the old street of Savile Row in London's west end. The other above, is a behind the scenes visit to the back of our London premises at 11 St George Street, W1. This beautiful old shop is London's oldest, private tailoring house, owned by LG Wilkinson. David Wilkinson, Wilky as we call him, has been a kind friend for many years. After planning the great tailoring comeback we had a very pleasant couple of hours waxing lyrical about Savile Row and it's clients.
As I've said before we're not movie makers, just tailors. Our productions aren't particularly polished but they are honest. So honest in fact we've left in the real "behind the scenes" from the behind the scenes recording. It jumps about a little as we had to take out a dear client who joined us. After all, discretion is the word 😉 Before I sign off, it may be worth putting in a small disclaimer. At the end of the last video we discuss one of the more interesting suggestions to liven up at 11 St George Street....So perhaps a tale best avoided for inquisitive young ears or those easily offended.
Pour yourself a glass of wine and come and join us....Until next time..thanks for dropping by.
Tom has been involved at the highest level in the tailoring industry for over 37 years. He has also been blogging and furthering knowledge of the craft for over 15 years. He is married to Claire and has three children.