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Some shopfronts can immediately capture your imagination, whether it be by their fresh window-displays, unique signage or gentle old world charm. Taking into account the latter, it would be fair to say that world renowned Gentleman’s Barbers’ (& purveyor of fine toiletries) Geo F Trumper stands out as something of a paragon. The Holborn decided to head westwards to Mayfair to take a closer look.
The shop front on Curzon Street is as traditional (and beautiful) as it is possible to be in modern London. Frankly it doesn’t look like it has changed one iota since it opened in the late 19th century. Your attention is gently coaxed in by its contrast from the surrounding modern eyesores. I guess I found myself slightly hypnotized by the whole experience. It’s a similar feeling to the excitement I used to feel standing outside traditional sweet shops as a child. The feeling Charlie Bucket must have felt before entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
As you enter the shop you can’t fail to take in the aromas in the atmosphere, such smells that must surely have been the inspiration almost every male aftershave since 1902. Within about 60 seconds it becomes clear that you have left the 21st century behind. All of life’s stresses are left back that on that chewing gum strewn pavement in 2013. Now you are in the hour of the Gentleman. Now is your time and the world and its dog can wait whilst you have your indulgence.
Trumpers’ (as it’s more affectionally known) traces its beginnings to the middleof the 19th century when Geo. F. Trumper established his barbers shop in Curzon Street. From the very beginning he manufactured his perfumes, toilet waters, pomades and other preparations in the vaults beneath his shop, these became exceedingly popular with the royal court, indeed a number of fragrances including ‘Wellington’ and ‘Marlborough’ were specially created for their respective Dukes ( I like to think ‘Wellington’ was worn by the Iron Duke during the Battle of Waterloo). In the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign Trumper’s were awarded the Royal Appointment, continuing to the present day (spanning a modest five reigns of royalty). One of my personal favourites among their product range is rather imperial sounding ‘Extract of West Indian Limes’ shaving cream, housed in a rather inconspicuous pink packaging ( £16 at Niven & Joshua). The boxes are so coloured due to a lack green paper supplies during World War One (and they simply haven’t felt the need to change it since).
Trumpers’ is proud of its manufacturing tradition which is still continued to this day. Just as always everything is still made by hand in Britain, in most instances still using the original methods and special skills which have been handed down. Only the finest and often the rarest ingredients are used to maintain the quality and exclusiveness that has consistently been Trumper’s hall-mark. New products from Trumper’s are introduced very rarely and even then only when they have been tried and tested to perfection because, in the case of Trumper’s comparisons will be made with other products from the Trumper range which have been popular for half a century and frequently longer. The current range still include many Trumper all time favourites, including Wellington, Marlborough, Curzon, West Indian Limes, Trumper’s own special cologne and fine matured soaps together with more recent introductions, all, I am told are created with the same skill and care to guarantee satisfaction and uphold the Trumper Tradition.
The art of a traditional barber is one that should not be lost, thankfully in Britain there has been something of a resurgence in quality barbershops with brands like Murdock and Tommy Guns setting up shop and courting the younger end of the market. I think it’s fair to say however that as great, professional and able as those barbershops are, after entering Trumpers’ they feel like something of a flattering imitation. Trumpers’ is, in a sense the real thing, a piece of living London history with the credentials, products and service to back itself up. Every man should enjoy the experience of a true barbers once in their life.Trumpers’ have taken the initiative to start offering gift vouchers to encourage more people to cross that polished mahogany threshold and actually take the time out to get their hair cut, or their beard trimmed, or even to get a full wet shave and hot towel treatment. More than that, one should visit because it’s a small haven of masculinity, distanced from the challenges of modern life, open to all with an interest in supporting quality, individuality and good old British charm.
Customer information on Geo F Trumper’s in store Barbershop services can be viewed here
(Images courtesy of Geo F Trumper)