Although London as a whole is an organic entity that grew piecemeal, without the rigorous logic of Manhattan or theatre of Haussmann’s Paris, it’s the only in the City that on can truly access an urban experience that predates town-planning by several centuries. Its knotted streets can confuse even seasoned veterans. Throw in a dense network of interconnected courts and one can wander for hours. The book is divided into three sections for simple reference (Morning, Noon, and Night), with everything needed for a better quality of life in the city. The book honors those London landmarks that preserve craftsmanship and great service.
Fitzdares CEO William Woodhams’ long-held desire has come true with the publication of the handbook. It will be mandatory reading for Londoners, immigrants, and selective tourists alike this decade, as it is told by William Wolfe, a fictional combination of Will Woodhams, his late father Rod Woodhams, and author Martin Williams. It is the ultimate survey of the best on offer in London today, including top tailors, outfitters, shoemakers, bars, hotels, and restaurants, as well as stationers, florists, wine-dealers, grocers, and dry cleaners.
There is more to London than Mayfair and St James’s
“Permit me to tender one final word of advice, as valuable to the seasoned Londoner as it is to the neophyte. While discernment is a quality to be commended, snobbery for the sake of snobbery is not. There’s infinitely more to London than Mayfair and St James’s. It’s my belief that the pukka and polished can only be properly savoured when they’re interleaved with the quotidian but characterful.”
A good grooming brand can make you feel like a new man
“A wash and brush up at Trumper’s or Truefitt & Hill leaves me feeling like a new man. Should my hangover prove particularly recalcitrant, I drag my sorry bones to DR Harris. Originally concocted in the 1860s, Harris’s legendary ‘Morning Reviver’ is available to those in direst need. ‘Once the draught has been drunk,’ the marketing spiel informs us, ‘any signs of jadedness will dissipate, and all will be right with the world.’ I’ve tested it often. It’s yet to fail me.”
Always line your stomach before a night on London
“Not without reason, I’ve referred to the morning-after hangover. Although their recollection of how it was incurred might be patchy, I doubt there’s a Londoner alive who can’t describe to you, in excruciating detail, the symptoms of the worst one they ever had. My own story is a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of insufficiently lining one’s stomach.”
A modern man’s wardrobe is built on quality shirting
“To stroll Jermyn Street of an afternoon is to run the gamut of English style at the most rarefied level. More than once, I’ve reflected that my progress through life has, quite literally, been measured by the calibre of the shirt on my back: from the ready-mades of Charles Tyrwhitt to the bespoke nirvana represented by Budd in the Piccadilly Arcade. Each of the staging posts between – Hawes & Curtis, Hilditch & Key, Turnbull & Asser – has coincided with a distinct chapter in my autobiography it would require more space than is available to me now to relate.”
In an increasingly impersonal city, pursue the personal touch
“In an age of incessant and frequently importunate communication, I advocate a ceremonial approach to life administration. Promptly penned notes, on cards or paper from Smythson or Mount Street Printers, keep my chimneypiece bristling with stiffies. Whether I’m thanking, romancing or apologising, I’m grateful to possess the number of a reliable florist. Make those two reliable florists. Occasionally it’s necessary to keep one’s orders, and their recipients, tactfully separate.”