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Fortnum and Mason, Department Store, , London


Fortnum and Mason, Department Store, London Visitor Attraction


Piccadilly Circus / Green Park

Fortnum and Mason, Department Store - Fortnum & Mason, often shortened to just "Fortnum's" is a famous department store and Royal Warrant holder, situated in central London. Its headquarters are located at 181 Piccadilly where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. It is privately owned by Wittington Investments Ltd.

Fortnum and Mason is recognised internationally for its high quality goods and as an iconic British symbol. It is renowned for its "quintessential English charm" and is possibly one of the most famous stores in the world, has held many Royal Warrants for over 150 years and is the shop most closely associated with the British Royal Family.

Its fame rests almost entirely on its magnificent food hall, (though only two of its several floors are devoted to food), stocking an extraordinary variety of exotic, speciality and also 'basic' provisions. It is also the location of a celebrated Fortnum & Mason Tea Shop and has Britain's only hair salon dedicated to long hair.

In 1761, William Fortnum's grandson Charles went into the service of Queen Charlotte and the Royal Court affiliation led to an increase in business. The store began to stock speciality items, namely ready-to-eat luxury meals such as fresh poultry or game served in aspic jelly.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Fortnum & Mason Emporium supplied dried fruit, spices and other preserves to the British officers and during the Victorian era it was frequently called upon to provide food for prestigious Court functions. Queen Victoria even sent shipments of Fortnum and Mason's concentrated beef tea to Florence Nightingale's hospitals during the Crimean War.

In 1851 Fortnum & Mason first created the Scotch egg and in 1886, after having bought the entire stock of five cases of a new product made by a Mr Heinz, became the first store in the world to stock tins of baked beans.

Fortnum & Mason is famed for its loose-leaf tea and its world-renowned luxury picnic hampers, which the store first distributed to Victorian High Society for events such as the Henley Regatta and Ascot Races. These hampers — which contain luxury items such as Stilton cheese, champagne and smoked salmon — remain popular with England's upper classes today, especially at Christmas time and can cost (as at 2008) anything from £35 up to £25,000. Fortnum & Mason Christmas orders are also renowned for being delivered by horse and carriage, complete with a liveried driver dressed in Victorian clothes.

They also have an Fortnum & Mason Account Card, but it is only supplied to 'favoured customers' and reputedly cannot be obtained via application. Previously, Fortnum & Mason Account customers used to just give their names to the frock-coat wearing staff and signed for their goods, with the monthly bill being sent on afterwards. Some of Fortnum & Mason's most famous, regular and current (non-Royal) customers and account card holders include Terence Stamp, Jane Asher, Marc Sinden, Elizabeth Hurley and Adam Faith.

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