From London’s iconic Jermyn Street, Hilditch & Key has produced shirts of the very highest quality for more than 100 years. Here, we pay tribute to our home and heritage.
BUILT TO PERFECTION
Take a turning off Regent Street, just behind the brightly lit bustle of Piccadilly Circus, and you’ll arrive at a peaceful and charming thoroughfare – and the historic home of refined British menswear in the capital. This is Jermyn Street.
Here you’ll find restaurants and cafés, tailors and shoemakers – and a collection of the most celebrated shirtmakers in the world. Just as Savile Row is famous for London’s finest suits, neighbouring Jermyn Street is the birthplace of the tailored shirt. Behind many of the shop fronts that line this half-kilometre stretch of St James’s, are businesses – many of them decades, if not centuries, old – that keep alive a rich tradition of quality craftsmanship and personal service for which the street has been synonymous for some 300 years.
'Just as Savile Row is famous for London's finest suits, neighbouring Jermyn Street is the birthplace of the tailored shirt.'
A GRAND PLAN
Jermyn Street has always been a destination for the well-heeled. Its history can be traced back to one man and visionary, Henry Jermyn, the Earl of St Albans (pictured), who was granted permission by King Charles II in 1661 to develop an area close to St James’s Palace. Jermyn built St James’s Square and a series of broad, paved streets leading out from it – one of which he named after himself.
Lined with elegant brick houses, with a church in the middle built by Christopher Wren, Jermyn Street was designed to attract the highest of London society. Sir Isaac Newton, future prime minister William Pitt, author Sir Walter Scott and Vanity Fair novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, have all called Jermyn Street home.
IN THE BEGINNING
As the neighbourhood continued to flourish, Jermyn Street’s residential buildings gave way to luxury men’s retailers – including shirtmakers. At the same time, Charles F. Hilditch and W. Graham Key were looking to expand into a larger premises from Tottenham Court Road, where they had opened up in 1899, having quickly established a reputation as shirtmakers to the best-dressed Londoners. Where else would they choose to relocate at the turn of the century, but to Jermyn Street. The concentration of shirtmakers here, with their fine fabrics, impressive designs and attention to detail, soon gained recognition far and wide – as they still do.
Today, the companies on Jermyn Street have an almost family relationship. Many of the Hilditch & Key staff have previously worked for other Jermyn Street outfitters and their knowledge is formidable. The CEO of the company himself, Stephen Miller, came from Turnbull & Asser, bringing master bespoke shirtmaker David Gale with him. These connections, and the fact that much of the clientele is both local and loyal, create the alchemy that makes Jermyn Street’s atmosphere unique.
'The concentration of shirtmakers here, with their fine fabrics, impressive designs and attention to detail, soon gained recognition far and wide – as they still do.'
WALK OF FAME
Of course, the finest shirts have always attracted a discerning following, and although discretion is key here, Jermyn Street’s patrons are legendary. Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Winston Churchill have all been dressed here, while for decades, designer Karl Lagerfeld (pictured) had Hilditch & Key make the white high-collar shirts that were an unmistakable part of his signature style.
Jermyn Street continues to offer the best in bespoke and ready-to-wear shirts, clothes and accessories. At number 73, Hilditch & Key is one of the longest-standing shirtmakers and luxury menswear purveyors in residence. We’re honoured to be part of Jermyn Street’s unique history and are proud to uphold the exacting standards for which it is known. Discreet style and top-quality materials, cut to suit today’s customer, has always been our formula, and always will be.