A Cherry Blossom Shoe Shine Jacket. 1940’s/50’s. size 42” (Hornets Archive HA)

When I was a boy there were shoe shine men in their distinctive red jackets all over London, Piccadilly Circus Leicester Square, all the big railway stations and of course the ‘City’, Cherry Blossom was the brand of shoe polish they all used.
With the 1960’s, the casual look and jeans the shoe shine men slowly disappeared.


Co-respondent shoes worn by Max Miller on stage, the last great English stand-up comedian, ‘the Cheeky Chappie’ a huge star and famous Brighton man.



When I lived in Brighton I was often on the last Victoria to Brighton train, sometimes it would be held for a few minutes or so for Lord Stockton (Harold Macmillan, ex Prime Minister) the only other person the train has ever been held for is Max Miller, the Lord and the Low Comic, there’s something very British about that. The ‘Cheeky Chappie’ as he was called told, for the time, very blue jokes and his intro song was ‘Mary from the Dairy’ wow.
Shoes BHC,  not for sale


A tall quiet man with a strong presence.

A tall quiet man with a strong presence who impressed everybody he met with his courtesy,charm and obvious honesty.
He treated all men ‘Lords or Labourers’ with respect and all women as ladies.
I was immensely proud of him and I am privileged to be his son.

Hornets Buys

‘You are treated with courtesy and respect’
(Richard Godwin London Evening Standard on Hornets).
HORNETS BUYS classic, bespoke, vintage, modern and designer Men’s Clothing. Formal and dress wear, shoes, hats all accessories, vintage military and civil uniforms, cloaks and overcoats, vintage sporting clothing shoes and boots. Any clothing that is unusual and interesting.
Open for appointments in the shop from 18th. June seven days a week or drop in Fri. Sat. Sun.
Email Hornetskensington @yahoo.co.uk.
Go to
hornetskensington.co.uk and see Hornets Buys.
Bill Hornets.

This bespoke period hunting tailcoat.

This bespoke period hunting tailcoat wasn’t so much cut and made, but cut and built, it’s rough tough and ready to ride. Made by a top craftsman, with all the brass buttons to the front back and sleeves being embossed with a crown and a large M. A storm collar, flapped  pockets to the heavy cotton lining with mother of pearl buttons, a canvas saddle flap and canvas lined tails. size chest 40, sleeve 25.1/2, back, under collar to hem 41.1/2.

Me in a Hornets felt Top Hat

 I doubt if Ascot is going to happen this year, but we always have black and grey Toppers in stock, personally I prefer the grey ones, more flattering.
I’d like to thank you for buying here online, it really helps in these strange and bad times. We all look forward to being back in the shops on the ‘Walk’ in the Royal Borough, back to Hornets International Club, Sunday lunch  time drinks on the wall and all the other good things that are Hornets. Look after yourselves and your loved ones, keep an eye on the elderly and those in need, give a cheer for the Health Workers everywhere
and remember we’ll get through this and out of it will come great and good things.
Keep fighting, keep caring, keep believing, keep well.
Best as always.
Bill Hornets

Hornets Visitor’s Book.

Hornets Visitor’s Book.
Lester Bowden of Epsom (Surrey) 1898. Closed on the 21.2.2020.
My grandmother lived in a big house on a hill overlooking Epsom, so I knew this long established traditional
Gentlemen’s Outfitters building well, as a boy I was fascinated by the huge spread eagle over the door.
By luck I came across this old unused customer’s order book marked LB 10, it is now our Visitor’s Book. Please sign it with any comment you care to make and a contact and become part of Hornets history.
(It’s at the back of the shop on the mantle piece above the fire place)

Not Fashion, Style

“Yet more remarkable is the charming obliviousness of the staff in all three shops to the vulgarities of the High Street. You are treated with courtesy and respect whatever your budget.”

Richard Godwin (London) Evening Standard.

The unique internationally known gentlemen’s clothier with three shops near the Palace in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington.

Hornets stock is mainly vintage classic English with modern and big name designers, in clothing, shoes, accessories, with new hats and cuff links. Everything for town, country, evening, formal wear and the unusual. There is always a very large stock from all periods.

Hornets has been established for many years and is the oldest classic men’s vintage clothing shop in the country. It was the first shop to open, offering second-hand stock from all periods (that is modern and vintage) in a boutique setting.

Most vintage clothes shops are in the fashion business selling what is ‘in’, Hornets is in the vintage business, selling classic and interesting style.