History

Davies and Son stakes its claim as the oldest independent tailor in and around The Row.

The Davies & Son story:
DATE EVENTS TIMELINE
1804 Thomas Davies inherited the Cork Street tailoring business from his deceased brother and moved to Hanover Street in 1804.
Prior to inheriting the business, Thomas Davies worked for Greenwalls who were procurement agents for the Royal Navy. Davies boasted tailoring for the most famous sailor of the age Admiral Lord Nelson whose victory at Trafalgar led to a buoyant naval officer class keen to order their uniforms and civilian suits at their leader's bespoke tailor.
During Thomas Davies's tenure as guv'nor, Davies and Son claimed to dress "all the crowned heads of Europe".
1829 - 1880 Sir Robert Peel, founder of London's first Police Force, was a famous customer. In 1979 when the firm moved from Hanover Street, we found a bill from 1829 made out to Sir Robert for the sum of £128.
Labour that was subcontracted out to sweatshops in London by the great houses on and around Savile Row became the focus of unwelcome attention. Angelica Patience Fraser, "the tailors' Florence Nightingale", began religious readings in these sweatshops in 1875. In 1880, she called a conference about "sweating" and held a “tailors-against-drink” rally in response to the notorious "Carnaby Boys" - a clique of drunkard tailors centred around Soho. A House of Lords inquiry followed and led to no less a firm than Henry Poole (an icon of Savile Row then as now) condemning sweatshop labour. Davies and Son signed a resolution to improve conditions.
1892 One particular uncrowned head in the British royal family unintentionally led the firm into the middle of one of Savile Row's greatest scandals. Miss Fanny Hicks told the Trades Union Congress in Glasgow that she knew that the Duke of York (later George V) had his trousers made in a sweatshop where she knew fever to have broken out. She told the tribunal that the subcontractor was Davies and Son. The Duke's brother (heir apparent and grandson of Queen Victoria) Prince Edward, Duke of Clarence, had died suddenly in January 1892 as had the daughter of Davies and Son customer Sir Robert Peel. The Duke, however, did not lay the scandal or the death of his brother at Davies and Son's door. As King George V, he awarded the firm his Royal Warrant and, according to The Savile Row Story, "created a room for his exclusive use (in Hanover Square) and fitted it with panels and a tube like a hose pipe which communicated with the tailors upstairs". George V was as solid a customer of Davies and Son as he was King and introduced his sons to his favourite tailor of choice.
1935 The last Davies exited the firm in 1935 and it was taken over by its cutters who continued to run the company until 1996. The times were glamorous but turbulent.
Davies and Son was swift to capitalize on the Duke of Windsor association and attracted Hollywood royalty like Clark Gable and Tyrone Power.
1936 Though the Prince of Wales was a famous customer of Scholte, he also patronized Davies and Son. He continued to do so when he became King Edward VIII and then Duke of Windsor and remained a customer well into the 1960s.
1952 In 1952, another Davies and Son stellar customer, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, was moved to declare "Savile Row has recaptured the tailoring supremacy of the world".
1979 The firm left Hanover Street and George V’s private room. It took fitting room chairs, fenders, fireplace screens and records rediscovered after a century of neglect.
By now 90% of Davies and Son's turnover was international trade. The firm announced, "our business was built on the clothing requirements of the aristocracy of Europe and Great Britain. Today our business is mainly with the affluent and famous abroad; an ideal commercial profile, we are advised, in times when exports are of prime importance".
1997 - Present day Visionary MD and a keen custodian of Savile Row's history, Alan Bennett had trained under Michael Skinner (the Dege and Skinner MD) who had over forty-years' experience in bespoke tailoring. Alan soon had his name above a door on Savile Row in the late 80s servicing his own book of "businessmen, stockbrokers, a few Lords, Earls". He then bought Davies & Son in 1997.
Davies and Son had already incorporated a number of other tailors including Bostridge and Curties and Watson, Fargerstrom and Hughes (Bunny Roger's tailor) and Alan Bennett went on to add other great bespoke tailoring houses including Johns and Pegg (the 19th Century Royal, military and Household Cavalry tailor ), James and James (who had acquired Scholte when the great man retired), Wells of Mayfair (established on Maddox Street in 1829) and Fallan & Harvey. He gained a reputation as a tailor to the Court of St. James's overseas ambassadors and continues to tailor for the remaining High Commissioners in the remaining British colonies.

Today, Davies and Son on Savile Row is the only old school bespoke tailoring house left on the West side of the Row and still attracts the great and the good of the British establishment.

Royal Warrants: HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Military Tailors).