The history of Tom Brown Tailors is a thing of quite some interest, as it has been established for over 235 years, and for over two centuries of that period it has been run by the members of the same family. The firm is itself, without a doubt, one of the oldest active tailors in the entire country, and the shop itself is a living historical archive, housing documents and artefacts dating back as far as the early 1800’s.
We do not simply see ourselves as just a business - we believe ourselves to be a testament to perseverance and resilience throughout the ages, with centuries of history stored within our very walls.
It is believed that the first Mr. Brown was originally practicing his trade in nearby Keate’s Lane, before taking over the shop at No. 1 High Street in Eton. The premises had previously been used for business purposes for about two years, becoming vacant when the tenant at the time failed in business, ending up in debtors' jail.
Branching out from Eton, the London shop originally opened in 1890 in Conduit Street. This shop was destroyed during the Blitz, with the business then moving to Princes Street before is latest move to Saville Row, after which the business was consolidated into the larger premises in Eton.
For Gerald Nigel Brown
A TRIBUTE IN MEMORY OF THE LAST BROWN
A 7th Generation Brown - and a proprietor of the London branch - Gerald Brown sadly passed away in early 2019, at the age of 88. As the final member of the Brown family involved with the business, Gerald transferred ownership to David M. Coulthard - an employee of the firm for over 50 years - prior to his retirement, thus closing the chapter on the Brown Saga, but keeping the spirit alive and giving rise to newer generations of tailors carrying on the traditions of the trade in his stead.
Always ready to help and incredibly popular with customers, Gerald was known for his sense of humour and directness with both customers and staff. A man passionate about his trade, Gerald stood true to his traditional dress sense and principles - being seldom seen with anything less than a full suit. An avid rugby supporter and a keen sportsman, he enjoyed keeping active and never shied away from a difficult task, relishing the challenge.
Welcome to Tom Brown
AN EXPERIENCE TO REMEMBER
Customers, in the 'old days' - in fact up to around the First World War - would first be met by the proprietor in his formal frock coat. Skilled cutters would also be in the ‘Front of House', but other staff were not expected to mix with patrons. In the back workrooms they stitched, sewed and pressed - on benches, on the floor, wherever they could find working space, with the treadle sewing machines seldom idle, and only available warmth coming from the gas heaters of the pressing irons. The treadles are still in use today, as is one of the old-fashioned but still functional iron heaters.
The shop, in its early days, was much smaller than today, with the adjoining premises a bakery - Holderness the Bakers. It took on its present shape with rebuilding in 1865, and one fitting room has been kept exactly as it was then, still with the original wallpaper, wall prints, mirrors and fittings - without a doubt a truly fascinating step back into the past. One of the prints which is signed, portrays Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later to become Queen Mary. Her father, the Duke of Teck, was a ‘Royal Warrant' patron of the time.
Making up and cloth cutting takes place in the shop for all to see. Still in use is an old weighing machine, of perfect working order, and a height scale. Some of the College boys' items of clothing were traditionally changed as they reached a stipulated minimum height - like the now defunct "bumfreezer" jacket, for instance - so the height scale was constantly in use.
The weighing device could also, at times, make a critical customer realise that he was, perhaps, filling out a little here and there - a dash of banter between a tailor and their patron.
With a team of skilled tailors, seamstresses and designers on-site, we are proud of our history, whilst relishing our ability to adapt and grow in synchronicity with the modern era. Constantly striving for new ways to advance and develop our techniques, we endeavour not only for excellence in our work, but to also provide an enhanced and innovative experience to all our clients and customers.