HENRY POOLE TAKES TOP AWARD
Savile Row's international success was in the spotlight when the Princess Royal came to Henry Poole’s Savile Row premises to present the company with the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
Before a gathering of loyal customers, staff and friends, chairman of Poole, Angus Cundey, accepted the award, in the form of a crystal bowl featuring the Queen’s Award emblem.
Much hard work and travelling has gone into receiving this, much of it by Angus himself. Now seen as the elder statesman of the Row, he has travelled extensively and fostered good relations with overseas contacts, not least in Japan, where the company was one of the very first to establish a licencing agreement.
Above, Angus Cundey receiving the award from Princess Anne. He said he was "thrilled" to receive it. Below, the Princess toured the workrooms, seen here chatting to staff working at the bench. Bottom, a classic Henry Poole double breasted suit.
The quintessential Englishman, he is the fifth generation of Cundeys to head the firm, credited with being the first to open on Savile Row. That was in 1846, then owned by Henry Poole. Poole died in 1876 and his cousin Samuel Cundey took over the business and it has continued as a family concern since then, with Angus’s son Simon following in father’s footsteps.
The company has a long tradition of overseas success. When Samuel Cundey arrived, the firm already had nearly every European crowned head on its books, and some of the many Royal Warrants it has received over the years line the walls of today’s shop.
The first came from Emperor Napoleon lll, who was aided to recover the French throne in 1852 by a war chest that Poole’s helped to fill.
In 1871, the firm made Western clothes for Japan’s first ambassador to London, who took back to Japan the name of Savile Row – which became translated into sabiro, Japan’s word for suit. It could so easily have been enlipoo.
Over the years it has made for such illustrious customers as Charles Dickens, Churchill, Buffalo Bill, de Gaulle, Dr Livingstone and Oscar Wilde as well as all the Royals and numerous political heads of state.
Today, international orders are maintained by a constant itinerary of trunk shows around the globe,with Simon Cundey and Phillip Parker, joint managing directors, taking the trunks. Over this year, there are dates in Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, the US, touring Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Monterey, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Washington, as well as two trips at least to Japan.
Now supposedly semi-retired, Cundey senior has scaled back on his travelling but it was his early work that helped ensure the firm’s strong international success today. 70per cent of its sales are from international trade, and last year its total sales were up over 8per cent, a remarkable achievement in the present climate.
The awards ceremony, and the following celebration, made it a proud day for Angus Cundey, and all the staff at Henry Poole. And it points up Savile Row’s continuing relevance, appreciation and international appeal around the world. Craftsmanship is alive and well here.