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Ede & Ravenscroft is thought to be the oldest firm of tailors in the world. In 1689, the area of London now known as Aldwych, was the bustling centre of the tailoring trade.
In that year a respected tailoring family, the Shudalls, started a business that was to become Ede & Ravenscroft. The quality of their work won them the honour of creating the robes for the coronation of Their Majesties William and Mary. They soon became a recognised supplier to the royal family, going on to produce a large number or ceremonial robes for the coronation of His Majesty King George III.
Before long, in addition to individual customers, Ede & Ravenscroft provided tailoring and robes to the church, state, legal profession and academia.
In the 19th century, following the marriage of Joseph Ede to Rosanna Ravenscroft, a member of the successful Ravenscroft wig making family, wig making was added to the firm’s services.
Ede & Ravenscroft has been tailors and robemakers of choice for twelve coronations. Today the firm continues to service royalty, the judiciary, civic authorities, academia and business.
A new range of contemporary and traditional men’s tailoring offers enduringly fashionable clothing with a perfectly tailored modern twist.
Whatever the occasion, our time-honoured methods steeped in 300 years of elegance style and character set us in good stead to continue to provide a level of service and understanding of tailoring that is as exceptional as the customers we serve.
Francis Ravenscroft was inspired by his father's passionate belief in education and helping others to further themselves.
Francis personally guaranteed the cost of developing new premises for Birkbeck College where he was Governor for half a century. The college was the home of the London Mechanic’s Institution - an early pioneer of lifelong learning. For the first time, it allowed artisans and craftsmen to learn about science, arts, and economics. Francis also served on the institution's management committee for many years.
Ede & Ravenscroft is proud to hold all three Royal Warrants, an honour shared by only a small number of other companies.
We are currently appointed as robe makers and tailors to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and robe makers for both His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
- 1689 - Ede and Ravenscroft is founded
In the same year that Their Majesties King William and Queen Mary are crowned, what was to become Ede and Ravenscroft is founded by William and Martha Shudall in Holywell Street at the heart of London’s tailoring district. Research shows that the company existed some fifty years before, but became officially “established” when appointed for royal work. Detailed records still exist and the day book for the years 1747-62 survives to this day and is now housed in the Guildhall Library.
- 1726 - Thomas Ravenscroft founds his wig making business
Thomas Ravenscroft founds his wig making business in Serle Street, Lincoln’s Inn. Throughout the 18th century the Ravenscrofts, working at the centre of legal and literary London, build a thriving business.
- 1750 - Thomas Ravenscroft’s son, also Thomas, inherits the firm
Thomas Ravenscroft’s son, also Thomas, inherits the firm. He collects portraits of the legal celebrities of his time. Subsequent Ravenscrofts ensure that over the years the collection grows.
- 1757 - The Robemaker, William Shudall dies
William Shudall dies. His widow, Martha, continues to run the business.
- 1760 - His Majesty King George II dies
His Majesty King George II dies. The firm deals with the ceremonial dress for the funeral.
- 1761 - The Coronation of His Majesty King George III
The firm sets to work, preparing robes for the lavish coronation of His Majesty King George III. Francis Stone, robemaker, joins Martha Shudall in partnership.
- 1770 - Martha Shudall retires
Around this period, Martha Shudall retires. Francis Stone maintains the firm's position as robemakers to the knights of The Most Noble Order of the Garter and the court. He is also appointed as robemaker to King George III.
- 1797 - William Webb inherits the robemaking business
Francis Stone dies, leaving a well-run and successful business to his son-in-law, William Webb. Webb is granted a new royal warrant. He introduces an ornate invoice for the firm, which acted as an early form of mission statement and states – William Webb supplies ‘…. all kinds of robes for peers, peeresses and bishops, sergeants, clergymen, king’s council, barristers and attorneys, livery’ gowns and robes for any corporation in Great Britain’.
- 1811 - Joseph Ede joins the firm as an apprentice
- 1822 - Humphrey Ravenscroft perfects and patents a wig
Humphrey Ravenscroft (1748 – 1851), grandson of the founder, finally perfects and patents a wig made of white horsehair that needs no powdering or curling. This is the famous forensic wig, whose pattern is still used today. Throughout his life he collects portraits of lawyers and bishops. Some of these are still displayed in the Bar Room at 93 Chancery Lane. New barristers and QCs are invited to sign a book when measured for their first wig.
- 1827 - The firm moves premises to 193 Fleet Street
- 1831 - William Webb dies
William Webb dies and the robe making business is passed to his son, Frederick. Assisted by Joseph Ede, Frederick Webb soon receives a royal warrant appointing him robemaker to His Majesty King William IV.
- 1834 - Thomas Adams buys the firm
Joseph Ede's uncle, Thomas Adams, buys the robe making business and the new name Adams and Ede is displayed over 193 Fleet Street. Joseph Ede is appointed robemaker to William IV. He continues the firm's unbroken record as holder of the royal warrants.
- 1835 - Full bottomed forensic wig introduced
After a further ten years’ research, Humphrey Ravenscroft introduces the new and improved full bottomed forensic wig.
- 1837 - Joseph Ede is appointed as robemaker
Joseph Ede is appointed as robemaker to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. This is the first of a series of warrants granted to the firm throughout Queen Victoria’s long reign.
- 1844 - Humphrey Ravenscroft opens academy for young ladies
Humphrey Ravenscroft’s passion for philanthropy inspires him to open an academy for young ladies in Coburg Road, Camberwell.
- 1848 - Francis Ravenscroft joins the London Mechanics’ Institution
Francis Ravenscroft, part owner of the company, joins the London Mechanics’ Institution as a student. His exceptional business flair ensures election onto the Committee of Management a year later. The Institution was part of Birkbeck College, pioneer of lifelong learning, and now a constituent college of the University of London. He is also elected a member of the Society of Arts.
- 1849 - Francis Ravenscroft becomes Governor of Birkbeck College
Aged 20, Francis Ravenscroft becomes Governor of Birkbeck College and holds this post for over 50 years.
- 1851 - The Ravenscrofts found Birkbeck Bank
Astute financial know-how leads the Ravenscrofts to found Birkbeck Bank. After Francis’ death the Bank continues, managed by Clarence Ravenscroft (who was also a non executive partner in the E&R firm) until 1911 when it is taken over by the Westminster Bank.
Humphrey's passionate belief in education and helping others to further themselves was a huge inspiration to his son Francis, who, at the young age of 22 took over the business when his father died.
- 1862 - Joseph Ede dies
Joseph Ede dies and his widow Anne assumes control, but does not survive her husband by many years.
- 1868 - Ede and Son is formed
Joseph and Ann's son, also Joseph, inherits the company and is appointed robemaker to Queen Victoria. The name changes to Ede and Son and the shop moves to 93 & 94 Chancery Lane where it remains to this day.
- 1871 - Joseph Webb Ede marries Rosanna Ravenscroft
Joseph Webb Ede marries Rosanna Ravenscroft, daughter of Burton Ravenscroft who runs a successful wig making business. Joseph Webb Ede dies soon after at the age of 26. For the third time in its history, the firm is under female management and remains so for the next 60 years.
- 1885 - Francis Ravenscroft guarantees Birkbeck College's development
Francis Ravenscroft personally guarantees the cost of developing new premises for Birkbeck College on Fetter Lane. The Breams Buildings would be home to the college for the next 66 years.
- 1901 - Her Majesty Queen Victoria dies
Her Majesty Queen Victoria dies and the Court mourns for one year. She is succeeded by her son His Majesty King Edward VII. Ede & Son provides robes for the coronation.
- 1902 - Ede and Son merges with Ravenscroft, the wig maker
Master wigmaker and benefactor, Francis Ravenscroft dies at his home in St John's Wood aged 73.
Ravenscroft wig maker merges with Ede and Son and moves from Serle Street to 1 Star Yard, with premises backing on to the Chancery Lane shop.
- 1911 - Appointed robemaker for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
As well as robemakers for His Majesty King George V's coronation, Ede Son and Ravenscroft is appointed robemaker for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, making his Garter Robes for the coronation and the purple velvet robe for his investiture at Caernarvon.
- 1921 - The firm's name changes to Ede & Ravenscroft
- 1922 - A volume is opened for the signatures of women barristers
A volume is opened for the signatures of women barristers and includes many names of note such as Margaret Thatcher and Elizabeth Lane, subsequently The Hon Mrs Justice Lane.
- 1931 - Rosa Ede dies
Rosa Ede dies, all the London papers commemorate this remarkable woman who held a royal warrant as robemaker for over sixty years. The firm remains in the Ravenscroft family for the next forty years.
- 1936 - Ede & Ravenscroft appointed as robemaker to His Majesty King Edward VIII
Following the death of George V the firm receives the appointment of robemaker to His Majesty King Edward VIII. After only 11 months, Edward abdicates, having never been crowned.
- 1937 - The Duke of York becomes His Majesty King George VI
The Duke of York becomes His Majesty King George VI after the abdication of his elder brother. The Duchess of York becomes Queen Elizabeth. The company is appointed robemakers for His Majesty King George VI's coronation.
- 1952 - Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth succeeds to the throne
On the death of her father, Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth succeeds to the throne. The company is appointed robemakers for the coronation.
- 1969 - The investiture of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
The investiture of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales takes place at Caernarvon Castle. He wears a robe made by Ede and Ravenscroft.
- 1989 - Ede & Ravenscroft embarks on its fourth century
Ede & Ravenscroft embarks on its fourth century and holds all four royal warrants as robemakers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.