128 Extraordinary Years

It was an autumn morning 128 years ago today when Frank Smythson first opened the doors to New Bond Street’s latest emporium of curiosities. Smythson started out life as a family business selling little luxuries for the ladies and gentlemen of London, a legacy that continues to this day.

Smythson's First Ever Advertisement

In celebration our 128th Anniversary, we are indulging in a bit of well-deserved nostalgia, sharing a few of our brand milestones and little known facts.

Smythson at 54 New Bond Street

Our current flagship boutique at 40 New Bond Street is actually our 6th New Bond Street address. A bit of a Bond Street institution, we have been here since 1887 catering to discerning customers from not just London but around the world.

Today you may receive your treasured Smythson parcels and seasonal catalogues through the post but in the past, Smythson used post boys (complete with uniform) to deliver catalogues and orders around London. Perhaps it is time to revive this tradition..?

Smythson Post Boys

Frank Smythson’s favourite words of wisdom were from Cato, by Joseph Addison.

“Tis not in mortals to command success; but we’ll do more, Sempronius, we’ll deserve it.”

The Bond Street bag was Frank’s first foray into bags in 1900. This frame bag was designed to be the perfect travel companion, the sort of bag with a seemingly endless capacity. It featured a unique striped lining which we use to this day in our Eliot Collection.

The Original Bond Street Bag

There was a time, whilst holding Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s Warrant, that Smythson was 1 of only 8 companies in the world to hold all 4 Royal Warrants simultaneously. Today we still hold three Royal Warrants demonstrating quality and service of the highest calibre.

Smythson Featherweight Diaries were (and are) so essential that during the height of WWII rationing, customers were spotted queuing outside the store to ensure that they received one of the few diaries produced.

A History of Smythson Diaries

The Panama diary even went on a journey to the poles in 1976 carried by Ranulph Fiennes and his team for the Transglobe Expedition. The trip was only completed in 1980 but don’t worry, they had enough diaries to see them through.

The Transglobe Expedition

Cricket Match on the Transglobe Expedition via southpolestation.com

Smythson has long been a favourite of explorers, politicians, and connoisseurs from the likes of Sigmund Freud and Sir Winston Churchill to the slightly more glamorous Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh. In fact, Katharine Hepburn was such a fan that she ordered two special edition address books with ‘London, California, New York’ engraved on the cover.

Katharine Hepburn's Smythson Address Book

Here we have collected but a few of the magnificent moments experienced in our 128 years of existence. There are many more stories to tell but we plan to be around for a long while yet and we cannot give everything away at once…