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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Historic Spanish perfumerie and comb-maker here since 1730.
Location: 89 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6JH
Description: Spaniard Juan Floris left his homeland of Menorca in 1730 to seek fortune in London. He opened a barber and comb-maker shop here in Jermyn Street, but soon became renowned for blending oils fixatives and and essences to recreate the exotic scents of his Mediterranean native home. His skills were developed on his way to England in Montpellier, which at the time rivaled Grasse as the capital of the French perfumery industry.
Today, the shop is still located at its original premises at Jermyn Street, once residence to the Duke of Marlborough, Gray the Poet and Sir Thomas Lawrence. The current chairman is Juan's direct descendent.
In 1820, the first Royal Warrant was granted to J. Floris Ltd as Smooth Pointed Comb-makers to the then newly appointed King George IV. Today this first Royal warrant is still on display at 89 Jermyn Street together with no less than sixteen others.
The Jermyn Street shop is fitted with Spanish mahogany showcases purchased from the 1851 Great Exhibition in London's Hyde Park. Through the years, the family has consistently kept examples of their products, the earliest items date from around 1800-1810 and the earliest receipt from 1816. They form today's private Floris family museum (created around 1910) in the back room of the shop.
The list of well-known past and present Floris customers is almost endless. The names range from Errol Flynn, Michael Caine, Brian Ferry, Mick Jagger and David Bowie to Sir Winston Churchill, from Vivien Leigh, Wallis Simpson and Emma Thompson to Margaret Thatcher.
On July 25, 1863 Florence Nightingale thanked Mr. Floris for his sweet-smelling nosegay and giving news of the Army's sickness record in India. Mary Shelley traveling abroad sent friends clear instructions on where to purchase her favorite combs: Floris.
Tagged in this Tour: David Bowis's London Life
Tagged in this Tour: Feel-Good Xmas Shopping Tour