Ede & Ravenscroft
Image courtesy of eMedals
Image courtesy of eMedals
In 1689, Martha and William Shudall of London opened a tailoring business in the area now known as Aldwych. The business would later become Ede & Ravenscroft. The high quality of their work would win them the favour of Their Majesties William and Mary and they were commissioned to produce the robes for their coronation. They soon became a recognized supplier to the royal family and produced a large number of robes for the coronation of King George III. The business began producing robes and tailoring for the church, state, legal and academic professionals.
In 1726, Thomas Ravenscroft founds a wig making business in Serle Street, Lincoln’s Inn. The business thrived throughout the 18th century. In 1750, Thomas Ravenscroft's son, also by the name of Thomas, inherited the firm. William Shudall died in 1757 and Martha continued to run the business. Upon King George II's death in 1760 the robe company was put in charge of making the ceremonial dress for the funeral. In 1761, Martha Shudall partners with Francis Stone to make the robes for the coronation of King George III. In 1770, Martha Shudall retired, leaving Francis Stone to maintain the business. Stone maintained the robe making for the knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the court and was appointed as robemaker to King George III. Francis Stone died in 1797 and left the business to his son-in-law, William Webb.
In 1811, Joseph Ede joined the robe-making business as an apprentice. In 1827, Humphrey Ravenscroft, the grandson of Thomas Ravenscroft, patented a wig made of white horsehair that needed no powdering or curling. Just five years later, the firm moved to 193 Fleet Street. William Webb died in 1831 and the robe business was passed to his son, Frederick. Frederick and Joseph Ede worked together and soon received the Royal Warrant which appointed the company the royal robemaker of King William IV. In 1834, the business was purchased by Joseph Ede's uncle, Thomas Adams. Adams renamed the business Adams & Ede. In 1837, Joseph Ede is proclaimed as the royal robemaker to Queen Victoria. Joseph Ede died in 1862 and his wife, Anne, took over the business, but she died a few years later in 1868 and the business is left to her son, Joseph. The company name changed to Ede and Son and was moved to 93 & 94 Chancery Lane.
In 1871, Joseph Ede married Rosanna Ravenscroft, a member of the successful Ravenscroft wig making family, and wig making was added to the firm’s services. Joseph Ede died soon after at the age of 26, leaving the business to Rosanna. The business would reman under female management for another 60 years. Queen Victoria died in 1901 and was succeeded by King Edward VII. Ede & Son provided the robes for the coronation. Just a year later, Francis Ravenscroft died and the Ravenscroft wig making business merged with Ede and Son. The newly conjoined business moved from Serle Street to 1 Star Yard, with premises backing on to the Chancery Lane shop. Ede, Son and Ravenscroft was appointed robemaker for King George V's coronation in 1911. In 1921, the name of the business was changed to Ede & Ravenscroft. Rosanna Ravenscroft died in 1931 and the business remained in the Ravenscroft family for another 40 years. King Edward VIII appointed Ede & Ravenscroft royal robemaker in 1936 and King George VI appointed the company as robemaker a year later. In 1952, the company became robemaker for Queen Elizabeth. The company is still operating in the present day and holds all three Royal Warrants.
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