Jermyn Street: The History of Floris
It all started in 1730 when Floris founder Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth began selling perfume, combs and shaving products in the elegant quarter of London’s St James. The Floris shop they opened at 89 Jermyn Street remains the heart of the business and is still run by their descendants today.
1820- Floris received their first Royal Warrant as Smooth Pointed Comb Maker to HM The King George IV. Skilfully made combs were a speciality of Floris at this time and greatly valued by the company’s elite clientele. While living abroad during 1818 Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’ and wife of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote to her friend Thomas Love Peacock in London asking him to send her in his next parcel “two hairbrushes and a small toothbrush” from Floris.
1851- The year of the world famous Great Exhibition. The exhibition was held in Hyde Park just a short walk from Jermyn Street. Spanish Mahogany showcases purchased at the exhibition are still in place today. Below is the cover of a price list, also from 1851 which contains some 112 different fragrances “For the Handkerchief”.
1863- Florence Nightingale had returned from the Crimean War, where through her work she became known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’, and was busy setting up a training school for nurses at St. Thomas’ Hospital in Waterloo. In their Jermyn Street shop they display this treasured letter written by Florence Nightingale in 1863 to “Mr Floris” (James) thanking him for his “beautiful sweet-smelling nosegays”.
In 1870 Mary Anne Floris married James R.D. Bodenham. In July 1871 the first of their children was born. Shortly after this they settled in West London at ‘dear old Ivy Lodge’ the family home where they would continue to live for a further 50 years. The couple went on to have 16 children who enjoyed an idyllic upbringing full of many happy memories. In 1878 James and Mary Anne took over the family business from Mary Anne’s brother Joseph.
1930- A receipted invoice dated December 1934 for fragrances purchased by Winston Churchill including Special No.127 and Stephanotis, both of which are still available in the Floris Classic Collection.
During the 1950s Floris increasingly exported orders to the United States where the brand was gaining popularity. A receipt in our collection dated December 1959 shows a purchase of Rose Geranium made for Marilyn Monroe Miller while she stayed at Beverly Hills Hotel, California. Floris products continued to be made by hand on the shop premises at 89 Jermyn Street; this image shows Michael Bodenham (7th generation descendant) working on his next creation.
A newspaper advertisement from the late 1960’s launching the latest fragrance for women, together with a photograph showing the family in the 1970’s standing outside the shop on Jermyn Street.
In 2010 Floris celebrated their 280th anniversary. Unveiling an exclusive new eau de parfum ‘280’, the fragrance was released on a strictly limited basis with only 280 bottles made using the finest oils and ingredients from around the world. The floral oriental creation was inspired by the family’s rich heritage in perfumery.
2012- As Floris entered the 21st century, the family opened the doors to its second shop at the prestigious location of 147 Ebury Street, Belgravia. The new boutique offers the full Floris range, together with a Bespoke Perfumery service for its distinguished clientele. To celebrate the opening, Floris created a new Eau de Parfum “Ebury Street”, a sheer oriental floral fragrance with fruity notes and twist of anise and pink peppercorn.
Floris is definitely worth a visit, their staff are always friendly and eager to assist.
Floris (89 Jermyn St, London SW1Y 6JH)
All Images courtesy of Floris