Friday 25 November 2022

Gieves & Hawkes: a subaltern's memories

Today I read that Fraser Group (Sports Direct) has taken over Gieves & Hawkes, the "historic Savile Row tailor".  Whatever next?  (or should that be 'Next ..?')

Ah, the memories.  As a newly-minted Second Lieutenant I was told to present myself at G&H - or "Thieves and Sharks", as they were called, for my first dress uniform - and to "Herby J's" for my hat.  These were the regimental tailors.  Well, when you're new, you have to do what you're told.  

The officers' uniform allowance didn't go very far in Savile Row.  Mercifully, when I was properly ensconced with my unit, I was told of a jobbing tailor who could run up whatever was needed for around half the price - and better tailored, too.  (This all sounds like something out of Evelyn Waugh, n'est-ce pas?)   So it was to him that I went for my Mess Kit - which needed to be well made and of the best material, because it was subjected to some, ahem, stress and strain in the closing stages of the average mess dinner night.

I quickly learned to tie a proper bow-tie knot, too.  Anyone caught wearing a pre-tied knot (by the simple expedient of tugging upon it) had to stand a round of drinks.  And since the number of these challenges would rise as the evening wore on, you needed to be able to re-tie it drunk, and without the aid of a mirror.

See, if the Russian army was properly trained, they wouldn't be utterly up shit creek in the humiliating fashion they now find themselves.



Matt said...

The second suit I bought was a G&H off the peg in 2001. Cost me £400 for the jacket and £200 for the trousers.

Anonymous said...

"See, if the Russian army was properly trained, they wouldn't be utterly up shit creek in the humiliating fashion they now find themselves."

If the British Toffs hadn't fucked the UK so hard, we wouldn't have 15% inflation, sky rocketing interest rates and cratering economic activity.

Two point three billion pounds sterling that you stupid f**** have thrown away on Ukraine. Most of that seems to have been recycled back through FTX into the US Democratic parties coffers.

You 'effin muppets.

dearieme said...

@Matt: only one pair of trousers?

My second most absurd encounter with a tailor was in Cambridge. I explained I had always to buy trousers two sizes too big to get enough room for my thighs. "A common problem, sir" said the assistant. "Rugby or rowing, sir?"

"Rugby" I said. "I'm glad to hear it's a common problem. What is the common solution?"

"Oh there is no solution, sir" he said.

In light of which: I've found Hong Kong tailors pretty good. I've used them in HK, in NZ, and in the UK. When you demand plenty of space for the thighs they may sigh but plenty of space is what you get.

Matt said...

@ dearieme

Yes, just one pair of trousers. It was the first job I had that required a suit and no one had told me to order at least two pairs! Still, I had two suits so muddled through.

Nick Drew said...

Anon @ 11:15, you need a sense of British foreign policy. The Dnipro is our front line, just as for many years it was the Elbe, and before that the Rhine, and before that the Somme. (We could go back even further.) Notice anything?

As we can see very clearly in 2022, relying on the Channel as a last line of defence does us no good at all.

Back to the trouser-press!

Anonymous said...

ND: "you need a sense of British foreign policy."

Ha! You mean Klaus Schwab's foreign policy. Yea, I've got a sense of that.

ND: "The Dnipro is our front line"

I'll overlook the utter delusion of that statement.

But it seems Ukraine has already quietly abandoned Kherson.

And have been reduced to attacking Poland in a thankfully, vain attempt to draw NATO into the conflict.

Suppose despite the last twenty years of the Toffs driving the British economy into the ground, we still had some industrial capacity, what measures have the British government put in place to protect the industrial manufacturing capacity from getting blasted to smithereens in the first two days by Russian hyper-sonics ?

Any anti hyper-sonic missile screens for the UK at all ?

What measures have the British government put in place to protect the North Sea assets that we depend on for 50% of hydrocarbons ?

Since the British have put civilian energy assets into play with the attack on Nordstream. We probably should be thinking how to defend our North Sea assets, No ?

Suppose we go 'toe to toe' with Russia, the arms industry will need raw materials. Where are you going to get those ?

And how are you going to transport the raw materials, we have no merchant fleet anymore.

Anonymous said...

ND: "Notice anything?"

Yea, a maniacal demagogue trying to drum up support with a call to British patriotism and our glorious history.

Run along and get tangled in your trouser press.

lilith said...

My Dad's formal evening dress still looks mint and he looks grand in it. Made in 1963 by a Saville Row tailor in New Zealand.

lilith said...

I bought a bowler hat off ebay to wear to a gig. 14 quid. It came in a box marked Moss Bros and was addressed to a Lt.Col. in North London 1963. RIP. Moss Bros was obviously once a lot smarter than it became.

It isn't just that the tailors are not what they were. The fabric quality has gone to the toilet.

I love the hat. I can't decide if I look like a horsewoman or a hobo in it, but either way, it's a look.

dearieme said...

"The Dnipro is our front line"

As long as we and the French have nukes the Rhine is our front line.

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh said...

1450 Russian Tanks removed from inventory.
900 destroyed

The rest being used to equip and resupply the Ukrainians,
£2.3 billion ‘spaffed’ by uk.

Confirmed Russian military hardware losses

1,572 (+5) tanks
3,720 (+16) armoured combat vehicles
781 (+3) artillery systems
246 (+3) multiple-launch rocket systems
103 (+1) air defence systems
217 (+0) aircraft
185 (+0) helicopters
640 (+4) operational-tactical UAVs
142 (+3) cruise missiles
14 (+0) ships/boats
2,598 (+9) vehicles and tankers
61 (+0) special vehicles

That comes in at around £100,000 a loss. The second hand price of much of this kit.
The Ukrainians have captured a good percentage of those losses. Which were abandoned by fleeing Russian armies.

The cost to permanently degrade the Putin threat. Equip the Ukrainians with old and new hardware to stop the gangsters.. Empty 40 year old stocks of missiles and tanks and ammunition that was rapidly approaching its UK, USA, Western Europe, use by date is looking remarkably good value.

Anonymous said...

What Ho Chi Minh said.

Anon, 10.24, "Suppose we go 'toe to toe' with Russia".

That's the point, isn't it? DON'T go toe to toe. Cynical maybe, but British policy for centuries has been to have it's defensive wars fought somewhere else. Ideally BY someone else. Realpolitik. E-K has been saying for ages, Putin couldn't attack us anyhow. Well, he definitely couldn't now. (though I think E-K also said we should all be trembling in our beds or something of that sort). And we now have Finalnd and Sweden added to the buffer zone. A pretty good return on 2.3bn, as Ho Chi Minh says.

Jeremy Poynton said...

And very good, that bowler hats looks on Lils. More hobo than horsewoman

Let's see if I can avoid the post deleter by being in Budaoest...

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-K said...

That was a fine article, Nick.

My one and only experience with a 'tailor' was an Indian guy who ran the local dry cleaners who told me he was a trained tailor. He was indeed.

Dad had given me his old dinner suit for his up-coming Ladies' Night as Grand Master of his lodge - it was way too big for me so I took it to Ranjat for re-sizing.

It came back beautifully stitched but the trousers had been fashioned Indian style - ie tight around the ankles and baggy around the thighs.

"Nice suit, son." Said Dad.

"Will they be playing any bhangra music ?" I said holding out my trousers which were not unlike those of a WW2 German general's uniform.

Nick Drew said...

The masons will sing along to anything.

E-K said...

Anything the Grand Poo-Bah puts on his play list. :)

Anonymous said...

"but British policy for centuries has been to have it's defensive wars fought somewhere else. Ideally BY someone else."

So, you are saying, the United Kingdom government is a 'State sponsor of terror'?

But I've not seen a substantive argument put forward* that Ukraine is a defensive war for the UK.

* Other than the frankly, risible propositions that Putin is Hitler, and Ukraine is our Sudetenland. But, as I said, no substantive argument has been put forward.

Nick Drew said...

The "propositions" you'll have seen above the line here are ...

(1) There is plenty of evidence, circumstantial and direct, that Putin has been meddling extensively and in detail in the military conduct of his invasion from the very start. (Do you dispute that? Not claiming any originality: you'll find many an article in MSM and specialist publications on that theme, and I'm quite capable of giving my own analysis on that at length. Indeed, I did give a fairly full account [relative to a small blog] of where Russian conduct of the invasion had departed from the classic Soviet doctrine upon which all Russian generals were raised, the key indicator Putin was calling the shots solo.)

In this aspect, he does indeed resemble Hitler, no? Any other allusions to similarities have been based on jocular references to his height.

By the way, and for completeness of substantive argument, it looks very much as though he has stepped away from the map table more recently: this may well have been the price extracted by Surovikin when taking up his new appointment in October, resulting directly in the strategically apt and relatively orderly withdrawal from Kherson to defensible positions further east - as specifically advocated to Putin by the blog back in April. Substantive enough for you?

(2) As regards reference to the Sudetenland, no analytic emphasis has been placed here on that really obvious passing similarity. You have however read here a fairly full analysis of the parallels between Ukraine 2022 and Finland 1939, with predictive conclusions that proved accurate (if I may say so). Which, if anything, carries an underlying suggestion of a comparison with Stalin!

It's a blog, not a thesis by AJP Taylor. You really should just slope off.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know more about this proposed US-style graveyard for Polish troops, presumably killed in Ukraine? Machine translation. In that neck of the woods and also in Ukraine they like their graves hefty and ornate, with plenty of space to plant flags, flowers and to place candles.

"soon it will look like a war cemetery in the USA. It has to be like in an American movie. A large lawn with identical tombstones on it. Without trees, benches, angels bending over the dead. The tombstones will be the same, they will only differ in color. Their manufacturers provided for only three: black, gray and red-brown. The main reason for the creation of the American cemetery in Olsztyn was the drastically increased number of burials in the region, mainly soldiers' graves.

This situation has become a real problem for the local government of Olsztyn, where the 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division is stationed. Almost daily military funerals combined with volleys of honor began to irritate the residents and provoked numerous questions to the city administration and the command of the 16th Division. To avoid additional publicity of the problem, the authorities decided to create a separate "American" cemetery.

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February this year, President Andrzej Duda and Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak officially called on Poles to join the ranks of mercenaries and fight on the side of the Kiev regime. Among the fighters who went to war were professional soldiers of the 16th Mechanized Division and veterans of the unit living in the region.

During the 10 months of bloody fighting, according to information from publicly available sources, over 1,200 Polish citizens died in Ukraine, including soldiers and veterans of the 16th PDZ. The number of injured and maimed people also amounts to several thousand."

It could all be fake, a hideous Russian plot to divide us, like the ones ND has documented so extensively which brought us Brexit, Trump and that lezzer winning Get Me Out Of Here.