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Great London Shopping Streets: Savile Row

Savile Row is a famous street in Mayfair, known for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men, tailors first started doing business in the area in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Some of the earlier tailors businesses from the mid-19th century still remain such as Henry Poole and H. Huntsman & Sons.

As more tailors moved into the street, the shop frontages were altered to allow more light into the working areas, walking down the street you can still see tailors busy at work especially in the basements.

Savile Row’s reputation was built on bespoke tailoring which generally means a suit cut and made by hand. In the 19th and 20th centuries some of the top names in tailoring have had premises in the street and have attracted a wide range of people from royalty to celebrities.

Although fashions change, many tailor businesses have survived the test of time such as Gieves & Hawkes and Hardy Amies Ltd. More recently tailors like Ozwald Boateng, Timothy Everest and Richard James have updated some of the image of the more traditional tailoring with more focus on marketing and more mass appeal.

There was some objections when American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch planned to open a store in Savile Row with concerns that if chain stores entered the street it would drive out independent tailors.  

Although dominated by tailors for the last 200 years, Savile Row has had a number of interesting residents including the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society and the Apple office of the Beatles, where bizarrely the band’s final live performance was held on the roof of the building.

 Savile Row is a fascinating street to walk along, unlike many clothes stores, Savile Row celebrates craftsmanship and expertise gained over many years. For those who prefer the personal touch and are looking for quality, Savile Row is certainly worth a visit. 

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Great London Pubs – The Blackfriar

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Blackfriar Pub

Location -174 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4EG

It may be  in an uninspiring spot near Blackfriars Bridge but this is without doubt one of the hidden gems of a pub in London.

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Built on the site of a Dominican friary, the original building from 1875 was remodelled between 1903-1925 to create an Art Nouveau masterpiece.

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The various sculptors and designers went to town with the Blackfriars theme with jolly friars popping up everywhere in the pub both on the exterior and inside. Architect H Fuller-Clark and artist Henry Poole are considered the major influences on the Grade II listed pub that was saved from demolition by a campaign led by Sir John Betjeman.

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It does get quite busy at lunchtimes and early evenings but it is worth spending some time to look at the numerous friezes and mosaics all around the pub. It has built a reputation for quality beers and serves mainly English food especially pies.

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