Savile Row

Savile Row, Westminster

World famous for its high-class tailors, Savile Row is a Mayfair street that runs parallel with Regent Street, south of Conduit Street

Savile Row - Gieves and Hawkes

In order to alleviate his financial difficulties, the third Earl of Burlington offered developers the five or six acres of land behind Burlington House in 1717. Savile Row (originally Savile Street) was laid out in the early 1730s and named after Burlington’s wife, Lady Dorothy Savile. Noblemen and high-ranking military officers were among the early tenants.

For a while Savile Row attracted some physicians’ and surgeons’ practices and was something of a precursor of Harley Street. Tailors began to set up shop in the streets of the Burlington estate in the late 18th century, making a first appearance on Savile Row by 1806. Beau Brummell was an early patron of this fashionable new quarter.

View up Savile Row from Burlington Gardens
View up Savile Row from Burlington Gardens*

By 1838 the street was teeming with tailors, and when Henry Poole inherited his father’s Old Burlington Street business in 1846 he enlarged the premises and created a new entrance on Savile Row. Poole became Savile Row’s foremost tailor, fitting out monarchs and, later, Hollywood stars.

Hawkes & Co, later to become Gieves and Hawkes, moved to Savile Row in 1912. Successful apprentices of the leading firms have often started their own businesses on the street, as have several cloth merchants.

Savile Row was extended to Conduit Street in 1937–38 and the West End Central police station was built soon afterwards at the corner of Boyle Street (see also Vine Street).

The street has become an international byword for gentlemen’s tailoring. The Japanese word for a business suit, ‘sebiro’ (背広), may derive from the Japanese pronunciation of ‘Savile Row’.

The playwright Richard Sheridan died in Savile Row in 1816.

The headquarters of the Beatles’ Apple Corps were at 3 Savile Row, previously the home of the Albany club and of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton. The band’s famous rooftop concert, its final performance, took place here in January 1969.

Postal district: W1
Further reading: Richard Walker, Savile Row: An Illustrated History, Thomson, 1989
Website: Savile Row Bespoke Association
See also: Jermyn Street

 

* The view up Savile Row from Burlington Gardens on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Robert Lamb, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.