Meyer & Mortimer has one of the oldest pedigrees among the Savile Row fraternity. The modern company traces its heritage back to the 1790s when Jonathan Meyer, a tailor from Austria, established a tailoring and military outfitting business at 36 Conduit Street, at the north end of Savile Row. Around the same time in Edinburgh, the Mortimer family was specialising in military outfitting, supplying officers with swords, ceremonial dirks and firearms. Many Mortimer weapons remain in existence.
The oldest surviving company ledger lists customers and their tailoring orders from 1809-1824. Included in its beautiful hand-written copy plate script are entries for The Prince Regent, later King George IV, and leading aristocrats and military commanders of the day. Another precious and unique handwritten notebook lists the tailoring orders taken by Meyer’s firm as he followed the British forces in the Waterloo campaign. Then, as now, good tailors travelled to serve their customers.
The Meyer & Mortimer ledger detailing orders from 1809 to 1824.
During the London Blitz of World War II, Meyer & Mortimer’s original home at 36 Conduit Street was destroyed with the catastrophic loss of most the company’s historical archive, except for the ledger. After WW2 the company relocated to its current base at No 6 Sackville Street, which is virtually an extension of Savile Row. It is where Meyer & Mortimer continue to call home.
A notable client from the early days was the legendary dandy George “Beau” Brummell, who set new standards of correct dress for gentlemen. At the beginning of the 1800s, Meyer worked with Brummell on an innovative design for trousers, which saw a loop worn underneath the foot to keep the legs pulled tight and neat.
Meyer & Mortimer's Royal Warrants
Royal Warrant Holder
In 1820 The Prince Regent succeeded his father, King George III. The new King George IV awarded Meyer a Royal Warrant for tailoring, the first in a long series that continues to the current monarch. The team at Meyer & Mortimer, proud of this achievement, display the many Royal Warrants in the showroom at No.6 Sackville Street.
Since 1955 it has been Meyer & Mortimer’s privilege and honour to hold a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The company tailors the uniforms for the Military Knights of Windsor, a body of retired military officers who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle. They provide support for the Order of the Garter and services at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
In the 1830s, Meyer joined forces with John Mortimer to establish a new company, Meyer & Mortimer, which advertised itself in Edinburgh as “army contractors and tailors to His Majesty”, by which time His Majesty was King William IV. The business was also known as the Royal Clan Tartan Warehouse, which specialised in supplying Scottish military officers. Among the modern company’s treasures are two books of examples of clan tartans, dating back to the days when vegetable dyes were used to dye cloth.
Meyer & Mortimer's tartan book dating from the late 19th Century
Although military tailoring is now only a small part of the business, Meyer & Mortimer is justly proud of its association with two other venerable specialist tailors. Ward & Kruger specialises in military uniforms for the cavalry and footguards. Jones, Chalk and Dawson started trading in 1896, when the three founders William Jones, Joseph Dawson and Arthur Chalk left Hawkes of Savile Row (now known as Gieves & Hawkes). Jones, Chalk and Dawson continues to hold a Royal Warrant from the Belgian Royal Family.
The exemplary tailoring and the lavish decoration of these ceremonial uniforms display in the most spectacular way the standards to which Meyer & Mortimer works.
The Royal Yacht Squadron
Meyer & Mortimer is also very proud to provide members of The Royal Yacht Squadron with day and evening wear. The RYS is based at Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Nearly as old as each other, the RYS and Meyer and Mortimer share an interesting historical connection in the aforementioned Prince Regent. While a customer of Meyer & Mortimer, the Prince joined The Yacht Club in 1817. Three years later, when the Prince Regent became George IV, it was renamed the Royal Yacht Club and Meyer & Mortimer, received its first Royal Warrant from the King.
Royal Yacht Squadron Burgee
Thank you for reading. If anyone would like to see the Royal Warrants on show do please call into the showroom at No.6 Sackville Street on any week day. Resident historian and company director, Brian Lewis, is always happy to share his historical knowledge with visitors and customers.