About Montague Jeffery
Montague Jeffery is an independent Northampton based menswear store. It is celebrating its 120 years of quality service, since its opening in 1901. As a family run business Montague Jeffery prides itself upon excellence of service.
The Jeffery family has long been associated with the quality of personal service to the general public since Joseph Jeffery founded the Furnishing and Cabinet-making business of Jeffery Sons and Co. Limited in Gold Street, Northampton in 1875.
Harold Montague Jeffery was the third son of Joseph. Always an individualist, the trade carried on at the highly successful family furnishing business but working with his father and brothers did not appeal to him and he entered an apprenticeship to the Outfitting Trade with a firm in Leamington Spa. After gaining experience, he became manager of a branch firm in South Wales before returning to his home town of Northampton.
In the Autumn of 1901, he opened a business at premises in Wood Hill, Northampton, next to McKinnell’s the Chemists and which is now Connell’s Estate Agents. Initially trading as a Hosier and Hatter, it was from this beginning that the comprehensive Gentlemen’s Outfitting Shop we see today developed.
Highlights of our first circular in 1903
In 1923 when the Lease expired in Wood Hill, the firm moved for a short time to a shop adjacent to the Town Hall at 3 St. Giles Street and in 1928, Montague’s only son, Bernard, joined his father in business. It was not long after this that plans for the widening of St Giles Street were implemented and the parade of shops which now stands on the corner of St. Giles Street and Derngate was rebuilt.
With an expanding business outgrowing its premises, a recurring situation throughout the firm, even to this day, a Lease was secured on the newly built shop at 2 St. Giles Street and the firm moved across the street with a grand opening to coincide with Bernard’s 21st Birthday on the 27th August 1931.Montague Jeffery’s shop front at 2 St. Giles Street Northampton Number 2 St. Giles Street, Northampton remains, to this day, the firm’s principal place of business and retains some of the original character of the time.
Those who remember Montague will recall his personal charm, impeccable courtesy and seemingly limitless patience in dealing with even the most indeterminate of customers. His office was a glass-windowed cubicle in a corner of the main shop from which he emerged frequently to greet a customer and to open the door for them as they left the premises having satisfied their requirements. He was a staunch wearer of the Bowler hat in winter and a straw hat in the summer months when he was rarely seen without a rose from the garden in his button-hole. He died in 1956.
In 1956, the opportunity arose to acquire the Lease of Number 1 Derngate which had been used as a booking office for York’s Coaches. The proximity of the shop to Northampton’s Royal Theatre (for many years known as The Repertory Theatre) has always attracted custom from actors who, with the advents of film and television were to become household names. With the addition of the Derngate Theatre, it never ceases to be a pleasant surprise when the stars cross the road from the stage-door to do their personal shopping or the Theatre’s wardrobe mistress is able to dress the cast from stock. A recent BBC programme re-tracing the steps of Errol Flynn during his years with Northampton Repertory Company revealed that he was a frequent shopper at Montague Jeffery. The shop still retains a letter after the actor left the town stating evidence of his intention to settle his account.
Jonathan Williams was born in 1963 and Sally-anne Williams in 1967. Having left school in 1980, Jonathan joined his grandfather at the shop on a temporary basis. It emerged that his secret ambition to own and work in the family business was about to be fulfilled. He embarked on the appropriate business training and became a Partner in 1983. Shortly after this, Bernard was unexpectedly forced to retire from an active role in the partnership through illness. Fortunately, he made a full recovery. He lived to the ripe old age of 92.
As another shop became available, so the lease of Number 3 Derngate was acquired. 1995 was a considerable step forward as the wall of the former hat department was knocked through to a large new showroom area selling an extensive range of separate jackets and trousers leaving the existing basement showroom available for the suit collection which seldom comprises less than 700.
In providing the excellence of service on which the firm prides itself, the Partners have always acknowledged the support and dedication of loyal staff, whether on the shop floor or behind the scenes. While appreciating a changing retail environment, and a constantly altering trend in fashion, it is the determination of the Partners and their staff to uphold the standards of excellence and personal service which were laid down by Montague over 100 years ago and which sets the family owned firm of
Montague Jeffery apart from the average self service multiple on the High Street of the 21st Century.
We were delighted to seize the opportunity to extend our business by taking over the premises next door at number 5 Derngate and we are very proud to present our new department selling top quality country wear.
Now, both our jacket/trouser and country wear departments offer fully coordinated ranges to suit each and every occasion.
Montague Jeffery has now joined the
internet generation with the launch of MontagueJeffery.co.uk. Now with a face on the internet as well as the high street, Montague Jeffery looks forward to the future ahead.