Jermyn Street is the wardrobe area of what you might call Gentlemanland — the corner of St. James that hosts many of the ancient gentleman’s clubs (Boodle’s, White’s, The Reform, The Athenaeum) — and the kinds of gentleman’s clothing shops that having been selling discreetly to royals and aristocrats for hundreds of years.
Geo. F. Trumper was established in 1875, which makes it almost modern by the standards of St. James. Although the business describes itself as ‘Perfumer’, Geo. F. Trumper was really about grooming in the widest sense. Everything that a chap would need to look — and smell — like a toff — was offered by Trumpers, and still is.
The barber’s pole outside is not an affectation. Downstairs in the tiny shop is a barber’s salon, where a steady stream of chaps head off for their shaves, facials and manicures.
Upstairs, the smallness of the space proves no barrier to cramming in an astonishing array of goods. Beneath the military prints and Guard’s helmet, ancient wooden cabinets host a staggering range of Super Badger shaving brushes, ties, silk handkerchiefs, cuff links, pen-knives, real sponges, walking sticks, hair-brushes, brass and silver bathroom ware, perfume atomisers, leather goods, shoe horns and giant loofahs. If you find yourself in London without your moustache wax, Trumper’s is the place to lay your hands on a spare supply.
Just inside the door is the collection of perfumes. These are called ‘colognes’, but many of them are deep, spicy and stronger than you’d expect from a cologne. All come in atomisers and splash bottles, and some in plastic travel bottles.
Despite the manly character of the shop, ‘lots of women come in to buy for themselves, rather than their menfolk, according to the manager.
Best-sellers: ‘It changes month on month,’ says the manager. ‘We sell a lot of Sandalwood, Extract of Limes, GFT and Spanish Leather.’
Fragrances: Ajaccio, Astor, Bay Rum, Eau de Cologne, Eau de Portugal, Eau de Quinine, Eucris, Extract of Limes, GFT, Lavender Water, Marlborough, Milk of Flowers, Sandalwood, Skye, Spanish Leather, Wellington, Wild Fern.
Nearby: St. James Church (entrance on Piccadilly) offers lunchtime recitals, but also hosts an Antiques and Collectibles Market on Tuesdays from 10am-6pm, and an Arts and Crafts Market on Wednesdays to Saturdays 11am-6pm.
Floris is on the other side of the road, and Fortnum & Mason is about five minutes away on Piccadilly.
Getting there: Nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus. Head for the Haymarket exit.
Geo. F Trumper
20 Jermyn Street
London SW1Y 6HP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 1370
— images & report filed by Nina.
See also: Perfume Shopping in London
Update, 5/2010: Geo. F Trumper is renovating the Jermyn Street location, and has temporarily relocated to 1 Duke of York Street, SW1Y 6JP, Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 1370. The new location is very near the old; image is below.