On November 30th, 2023, Simon Cundy hosted The Young Churchillians at Henry Poole & Co in London to celebrate Sir Winston Churchill’s 149th birthday. The bespoke tailor shop was founded in 1806 and moved to its historic Saville Row location in 1846. Poole & Co has a rich history of creating bespoke clothing and uniforms for the British aristocracy, and Cundy is the latest member of his family and the seventh generation to look after the family business.
Winston Churchill, like many well-known historical figures, was a regular customer at Henry Poole & Co. Over the years, the shop has been awarded 40 Royal Warrants, with the first being issued by Emperor Napoleon III in 1858 and, more recently, HM Queen Elizabeth II. Churchill utilised their services for custom clothing over the years as well as for required adjustments and repairs. Many of his orders in the archival ledger books were displayed on the evening. However, Churchill and the shop had an unfortunate falling out when he failed to pay a long-overdue bill.
As the author of Henry Poole & Co: A History by Stephen Howarth, he writes, ‘In addition to civilian clothes, Churchill ordered from Poole’s his formal apparel as the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, a Privy Councillor, President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, Chancellor of the Exchequer and an Elder Brother of Trinity House.’
The shop is rich with Churchill’s history and holds in its archives the suits made for Gary Oldman, who played the prime minister in the 2017 movie Darkest Hour. Two of the suits Oldman wore in the film were on display in the showroom. The archives at Poole contain a long list of renowned historical figures, including ledgers with all the details of Churchill’s accounts. Joe Britagne of Henry Poole conducted tours of the archives throughout the evening, and James Levitt was on hand to share fascinating details of the Savile Row tailors’ connection with Sir Winston.
The event was organised by Matt McGrath and George Repard and very kindly sponsored by Laurence Geller CBE, Matthew McGrath, and Bobby Vedral. Cases of depleted bottles of Pol Roger were left at the conclusion of the event–in true Churchillian style. The clear consensus was that Henry Poole & Co is well worth a visit by all history-loving Churchillians.
If you would be interested in joining The Young Churchillians or sponsorship opportunities, you can find out more here:
The International Churchill Society | winstonchurchill.org
Henry Poole & Co | henrypoole.com
Pol Roger Champagne | polroger.com
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