Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly, in the heart of London, is a cornerstone of English heritage. Fortnum and Mason’s has been around for over three hundred years (longer than many countries, including America, have existed for). William Fortnum was a footman in the royal household of Queen Anne. The Royal Family’s insistence on having new candles every night meant a lot of half-used wax – which William Fortnum promptly resold for a tidy profit. The enterprising William Fortnum also had a sideline business as a grocer. He convinced his landlord, Hugh Mason, to be his associate, and they founded the first Fortnum & Mason store in Mason’s small shop in St James’s Market in 1707.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the 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.
I visited on a weekday afternoon in August. As a Londoner I don’t tend to spend much time in the touristy areas like Piccadilly, so I’ve only been to Fortnum and Masons a few times before. It was lovely to wander round, have a lovely cake and prosecco, and take some pictures. I hope you enjoy the photos!