This London history chapter actually began in 1730 when Juan Famenias Floris arrived in London from his native country, Menorca, Spain. He came to England with the intention of being a barber and comb-maker and set up shop in the elegant quarter of London called St. James along with his wife, Elizabeth. Because he missed the scents and flowers of his native country, Juan began to mix his own oils and scents which soon became in demand. Thus Floris began to sell perfumes and toilet waters.
The shop, at 89 Jermyn Street, remains the heart of the business today and is now run by the family’s ninth generation of descendants.
The Floris family lived in the Jermyn Street location until the mid 1800s. All perfumes were made in “The Mine” 2 floors below until the 1970s. Floris London is presently the oldest English retailer of toiletries and accessories and second oldest in the world after FARINA GEGENÜBER GmbH of Cologne, Germany.
The steps leading down to “The Mine,” accessed from the basement and through a trap door at the back of the store.
Fortunately, Juan Famenias Floris faithfully recorded the formulas so they could be reproduced. “We’re fortunate that previous generations have been careful about handing down family documents, letters and formulas,” said Edward Bodenham, the current the Floris ‘nose’ and 9th generation of the Floris family.
The coal stove that was used to provide heat and warm ingredients
In 1870, Mary Anne Floris married James R.D. Bodenham. In July 1871, the first of their children was born. Shortly after this they settled in West London at ‘Ivy Lodge,’ the family home where they would continue to live for 50 years.
In 1878, James and Mary Anne took over the family business from Mary Anne’s brother Joseph.
The ladies bottling the Floris perfumes
Floris received their first Royal Warrant as Smooth Pointed Comb Maker to HM The King George IV in 1820. Expertly made combs were a speciality of Floris at this time and greatly valued by the company’s elite clientele.
Today, Floris is the only Appointed Perfumer to Her Majesty, the Queen and holds two Royal warrants: Perfumers to HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Manufacturers of Toilet Preparations to HRH The Prince of Wales.
Old leather bound ledgers containing formulas and notes
To satisfy increasing demand, in 1989 the family set up a factory in Devon which was officially opened by HRH Princess Diana.
It is here that all Floris products continue to be made.
Winston Churchill’s receipt
The 89 Jermyn Street location retains the original and beautifully preserved façade.
Its interior still features the solid mahogany, Spanish-made display cabinets, purchased at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park.
Marilyn Monroe’s “other perfume” receipt
The family opened the doors to its second shop at the prestigious location of 147 Ebury Street, Belgravia.
Old bottles in “The Mine”
Some of their customers over the years include Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (Floris created Bouquet De La Reine as a wedding present for the 21-year old Queen Victoria as she prepared to marry the love of her life in February 1840), Florence Nightingale, Beau Brummell, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming (Ian Fleming’s James Bond always wore No. 89), Errol Flynn, Oscar Wilde, Michael Caine, Sir Ralph Fiennes, Brian Ferry, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Sir Winston Churchill, Vivien Leigh, Wallis Simpson, Marilyn Monroe, Emma Thompson and Lady Margaret Thatcher.
More old scales and heavy tools to seal bottle lids
Michael Bodenham (7th generation descendant) composing in “The Mine” during the ’50s
Old, original bottles that still contain their ingredients… and smell
Mmm- believe it or not, this jasmine still smells fresh
Floris family in the 70s, along with one of their ads
Edward Bodenham describes Floris: “Our story is unique. It is built on a history of creation, family values and a long lasting and effecting relationship with our customers. Sophisticated and understated, our elegance is borne from the experience, not artifice. We are a whisper not a shout. We understand the emotive power of fragrance.”
The Floris perfumers produce unique and timeless creations, all of which are given approval by Edward Bodenham, the current Floris “nose.”
Edward and his team can be found at 89 Jermyn Street in the perfumery behind the founding shop where all of the Floris fragrances have been created since 1730.
Soon to come to Indigo: the latest releases of their Home Collection of candle and room fragrances.