The first Royal warrant of appointment issued by HRH The Prince of Wales was to Turnbull & Asser in 1981 as ‘shirtmakers’. The company’s shirts have been favoured by Sir Winston Churchill and many other notable figures (including 007) over their 125 year history.
Although best known for its shirts and ties, which are all manufactured in their own factories, primarily in Gloucester, England, Turnbull & Asser offer full outfitting services bespoke and ready-to-wear suits and jackets and also offer online ordering. The company also offers ladies shirts and a wide range of leather goods, umbrellas, cashmere scarves, hats and accessories.
Turnbull & Asser was founded in 1885 by Messrs Regan Turnbull, a hosier, and Ernest Asser, a salesman. They opened a hosiery shop on Wall Street in the St. James’s area in central London. The store was called “John Arthur Turnbull“. The palace of St. James which gives the area its name, became the principal residence of the monarch in London in 1698, during the reign of William III and Mary II when Whitehall Palace was destroyed by fire, and became the administrative centre of the monarchy (a role it still retains). The Royal Court is still formally based there-British foreign ambassadors are still accredited to the Court of St. James’s.
St. James also became the home for some of London’s best gentlemen’s clubs and the store was frequented by the wealthy clientele of the area. Offering a bespoke service for the making of gentlemen’s clothes made from the highest quality fabrics, Turnbull’s business flourished. The name was changed to “Turnbull & Asser” in 1895.
In 1903, after continued success, Turnbull & Asser moved to its present location at the corner of Jermyn Street and Bury Street. In 1915, during World War I Turnbull & Asser developed a raincoat which doubled as a sleeping bag for the British Military. During the 1920s, as dress became less formal men’s dress shirts became worn without jackets as an item of clothing in its own right and demand grew for this new style. Turnbull & Asser responded by focusing its business more on shirtmaking, for which it is best known today.
Between the 1920s and the 1970s, Turnbull & Asser grew its London business from a haberdashery to a clothier, expanding into sportswear, clothing (both bespoke ready-to-wear) and ready-to-wear shirts. As its symbol, it used a hunting horn with a “Q” above, which it called the Quorn, a name it shares with one of the oldest fox hunts in England in the Leicestershire/Nottinghamshire area of England.
Many of Turnbull & Asser’s articles were called by this name, such as the popular “Quorn scarf.” In 1962 Turnbull & Asser began to outfit the cinematic legend James Bond as first portrayed by Sean Connery, whose dress shirts had turnback cuffs fastened with buttons as opposed to cufflinks, a style referred to at the time as the ‘James Bond Cuff’.
In the late 1990’s Turnbull & Asser saw its first USA store on 57th street in New York City and later in Beverly Hills. An additional London store was opened in Old Broad street in 2008.