Fortnum & Mason Piccadilly – Hourly Clock Ritual Of Mr Fortnum & Mr Mason
Author: Bob Handford
The Fortnum & Mason store on Piccadilly in London is famous for being the grocer to the Queen of England.
Located in one of London’s most exclusive districts the Fortnum & Mason Store is unique and well worth a visit even if you normally run the other way on the mention of the possibility of going shopping.
The Fortnum and Mason store has a wide range of the best quality foods from meats, cheeses and chocolate through to fine wines and floors also devoted to non-food items.
If there is one thing the Fortnum and Mason store is known for it is tea and its Tea Rooms.
This is one of THE places to take traditional English afternoon tea in London.
You are in good company, the Queen chose a tea room of Fortnum & Mason as a great place to get to know Kate Middleton before she married and became the Duchess of Cambridge.
So you get the general feel, a high class store in a high class area frequented by the richest people in the world but very accessible to everyone.
But this piece is about the clock pictured below that is positioned above the front doors of the store on Piccadilly.
Despite the store being over 300 years old, in 1964 the store decided that a 4 ton clock was needed above the doors.
But of course it is not an ordinary clock.
There are 18 bells making up the chimes, each of which were cast at a foundry where London’s most famous bell, Big Ben was cast.
On the hour every hour the 80 second ceremony is played out on the clock as shown on the video below.
The scene played out is Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason coming out each hour to inspect the store to check it us up to the normal high standards.
On being satisfied all is OK they complete their inspection, at least until another hour has passed.
If you are in the area its worth experiencing the scene yourself.
Piccadilly is a busy street but there is a central partition in the road, the best place to see the ceremony.
People look at you oddly hanging around in the middle of the road, and you may be the only one doing so.
As soon as the bells start ringing people start looking up and unlike you only get the last few seconds of the performance.
Even so, just a few seconds seems to bring a smile to everyone’s face.
A London Shopping Walk – A self guided walk through many shopping districts in London