Member of the Week | Fortnum & Mason

Making the everyday special since 1707.

A fixture in London’s Piccadilly since 1707, Fortnum & Mason remains an essential destination for anyone in search of extraordinary food, unforgettable experiences, and joy-giving things. Over its centuries of history, the brand has been committed to making the everyday special for its customers, whether they are shopping in store or from around the world at the award-winning fortnumandmason.com.

The legacy began in 1705, when William Fortnum, quite the entrepreneur, took a post as footman in Queen Anne’s household. Mr Fortnum had the ingenious idea of selling Queen Anne’s half-used candle wax for profit, paving the way for the beginning of a respectable business. In 1707, he joined forces with Hugh Mason, and in the years that followed the pair established themselves as purveyors of the finest food in London, eventually hatching the world’s first Scotch egg in 1738.

Such early innovations set the tone for more than 300 years of playfulness and creativity, and Fortnum’s most iconic product soon emerged as the picnic hamper. These portable parcels of joy, filled to bursting with dazzling and delicious delights, began as travellers’ baskets and picnics for hunters and have since scaled the heights of Everest, supplied provisions at the excavation of Tutankhamun, been praised by Charles Dickens, and more recently set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Tea, too, is pivotal to the brand’s storied past. In 1902, Fortnum’s brews came to boast a royal pedigree thanks to a bespoke blend specially created for King Edward VII. From contemporary infusions to home-grown blends, the tea is still reigning and pouring today, particularly within the elegant surroundings of the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, named in honour of Her Majesty’s visit in 2012. Here, afternoon tea and high tea is served in all its splendour and includes famed preserves and honeys, cakes, and 4,000 scones freshly baked daily, along with countless cups of tea.

Today, millions from around the world visit Fortnum’s flagship store at 181 Piccadilly to take afternoon tea, explore its famous food halls and wend their way up and down the velvet-carpeted stairs. Resplendent in the brand’s signature eau de nil, and presided over by its famous rooftop beehives, Fortnum & Mason is a corner shop that has seen it all – and is steadfast in its commitment to delivering a sense of pleasure to every customer, wherever they happen to be in the world.

Fortnum & Mason is featured as part of the 2019 Walpole Book of British Luxury. To view a digital version of the book, please click here. To find out more about featuring in the 2020 edition, please click here or email: rosie.mason@thewalpole.co.uk