In 1899, two employees in the shirt making company of Harman's Duke Street left to open their own shop in Tottenham Court Road, London. They were Charles F. Hilditch and W. Graham Key. The partnership soon prospered and the name of Hilditch & Key became a favourite with the fashionable London gentry of the day. Mr. Hilditch also became a familiar figure at the great universities, offering personal service to the gentlemen undergraduates.
After a few years it was necessary to move into more extensive premises on the corner of Duke Street and Jermyn Street, establishing our long association with the exclusive St. James area.
The Company enjoyed further prosperity and in 1907 a branch opened in the Rue de Rivoli Paris that was equally successful. During the London "Blitz" of World War II, the St. James's shop and a large workroom in Store Street were both destroyed on the same night and temporary premises were founded at 65 Jermyn Street. After a short while the Company moved to 39 Jermyn Street. In 1978 an additional shop was acquired in Jermyn Street at No. 37.
In 1981 a new chapter in our history opened with the conclusion of a number of agreements with selected stores around the world to market the Hilditch & Key collection. This represented the first time that our Company had permitted its highly individual merchandise to be sold outside its own shops. During the last few years, this wholesale section of the business has been considerably developed in the United States, Europe and the Far East, and you will find the Hilditch & Key brand name in leading high quality retail shops in many countries.
Since January 1993 the Wholesale Division has been further expanded to speciality menswear retail outlets throughout the United Kingdom. Most of these retailers enjoy having the Hilditch & Key brand exclusive in their own town or city, depending on its size and population.
The brand with its reputation for very high-quality merchandise in shirts in particular is exclusive in itself and, therefore, its distribution is carefully monitored by Hilditch & Key. Point of sale and promotional material is produced in at least four foreign languages.
Our shirts are manufactured in our factory on flat sewing machines, which are basically the same as in the past and the seaming is
The stitch length is very small giving clean, strong, neat seams but not so small that it leads to too great a tension and thus "puckering" on the seams.
The two-piece collars, which are the most important part of the shirt, are all turned by hand and have removable stiffeners (which must be taken out for laundering).
The buttons are all real mother-of-pearl and never synthetic and the shirts are pressed by hand.
The yoke is split at the back and cut on the bias for better shape, fit and comfort.
Extra fabric is stitched on both sides of the gauntlet to give a good overlap and finish.
A Hilditch & Key shirt is long, up to 1" longer at the back than the front, and the triangular gusset at the bottom each side seam ensures extra strength and comfort over the hip.
If the shirt is manufactured from a striped fabric, the stripes are matched at the following − the front and back of the collar giving a clean leading edge, the split yoke, where the shoulder meets the sleeve, and where the extra fabric is placed on the sleeve for the gauntlets.
Only the very finest fabrics are used in the production of a Hilditch & Key shirt and it has to be worn to be appreciated.
All the traditions and skills of Jermyn Street shirt making are to be found at Hilditch & Key.
We offer a range of classic solids, end on ends, Bengal stripes and checks throughout the year as well as two annual seasonal collections, which include some designs that are exclusive to Hilditch & Key.
All ties are hand slipped by our own tie-makers and feature the distinctive Hilditch & Key tipping. Most of the ties are coloured exclusively to our seasonal shirt fabrics and therefore are the most suitable accompaniment to our fine shirts.
MADE TO MEASURE SHIRTS
The Hilditch & Key shirt was recently described by the Sunday Telegraph as "The best shirt in Jermyn Street (and hence the world)...". We have also been described in the Financial Times of London as Europe's leading maker of custom shirts.
These shirts are made in the same way as our ready-made shirts with the exception that each customer has his own complete cutting pattern, which is kept in perpetuity. In addition, we will embroider by hand the customer's initials on the shirts and even engrave his initials on the buttons.
Our clientele ranges from the crowned heads of Europe to diplomats, government ministers and a cross-section of international figures in the world of art, fashion, entertainment and business. We also travel worldwide to visit private and wholesale clients twice a year.
We currently occupy the premises at 37 and 73 Jermyn Street in London as well as 252 Rue de Rivoli in Paris. All our shops are managed by members of staff who have been with the company for many years. Their experience and dedication to the company and the product ensures customers are served by extremely well trained professionals who take great pride in what they do. We offer a range of sleepwear, clothing and accessories to compliment our shirts and ties in all our shops.