Savile Row Bespoke (SRB), a group of Savile Row tailors, was established in 2004 to protect and promote the art of bespoke tailoring on Savile Row, and yesterday announced that Savile Row's oldest tailor, Henry Poole and Co., had agreed a new 15-year lease with landlords the Pollen Estate, which is also contributing£50,000 to training and to improving the public realm.
In addition, Henry Poole and Co's application to move its production tailoring facilities from the second and third floorw of 15 Savile Row to the ground and lower ground floors of 15 and 16 Savile Row was approved by the Westminster City Council (WCC) ensuring that the firm maintains the same amount of work space has it had previously.
The agreement of the new lease and the application approval are the first such developments since Westminster published its 'Bespoke Tailoring in London's West End' report in March this year. The council undertook the report to ensure that Savile Row's tailors would not be forced out of their traditional home.
Lease negotiations with other tailors on Savile Row are ongoing.
Mark Henderson, chairman of SRB said: 'This is a positive first step for the future of Savile Row and shows that both the council and the landlord are committed to bespoke tailoring on Savile Row.
'Obviously there are still ongoing negotiations between Pollen and other tailors, however we hope that today's announcement is an indication of how future negotiations will progress.
'One of SRB's key points of focus is ensuring that the craft and skill of bespoke tailoring is promoted and maintained and as such we are initiating a number of training programmes that will attract and retain new tailors to the industry. It is therefore very pleasing that the Pollen Estate has committed to a£50,000 contribution to ensure training is undertaken on the Row and to improve the public realm.
Angus Cundy, managing director of Henry Poole and Co, said: 'The Pollen Estate has been our landlord since the 1820s and to secure a new lease and new floor space in our anniversary year is of major significance to the company and also to Savile Row.
'Pollen and Westminster City Council have both worked with us to ensure that our tailoring operations continue and that the same amount of tailoring space is maintained. The support of both parties is good news for the future of Savile Row.
Alastair Moss, chairman of Westminster's planning committee, said: 'I hope that this decision sends out the message that we are committed to Savile Row, not only in our words of support, but in the practical decisions we take as a council.
'Earlier this year we set up the Savile Row Strategic Group a platform for ourselves, the tailors and the landlord to sit down and work out practical solutions to secure bespoke tailoring on this famous street.
'This is a tangible outcome of the new co-operation and it is worth noting that the application was a joint one made by Henry Poole and the landlord, the Pollen Estate. I hope it represents a turning point in the fortunes of Savile Row tailoring and that talk now will be of its expansion, not fears of its death.'