In Cleveland Street, in a modest Georgian house once home to Charles Dickens, is one of Fitzrovia’s oldest and most characterful businesses, Taylors Buttons.
22 Cleveland St
In Cleveland Street, in a modest Georgian house once home to Charles Dickens, is one of Fitzrovia’s oldest and most characterful businesses, Taylors Buttons. If you’re looking for a particular button or buckle, or need a button covered or dyed to match a special outfit, this is the place. We talked to the owner of Taylors Buttons, Maureen Rose.
What’s the story of Taylors?
It started over 100 years ago as a family business run by a father and son. When the son retired in his eighties, he sold it to myself and my late husband Leon who became known as Mr Buttons. That was just over fifty years ago.
What brought you to Fitzrovia?
The landlord of our original shop in Soho wanted his property back. The rent in Fitzrovia was affordable and we only needed somewhere small, although the new premises were bigger than our previous shop.
And you are still happy working in the shop after all these years?
I will continue to work as long as I have lovely clients, and I still do. They are very varied. I do cover work for brides, work for tailors, and supply belts, buttons and buckles for film and TV. Clients return year in and year out, and say they wouldn’t know where else to go.
What’s so special about your buttons?
We offer something different. I buy in very little and when I do it’s only real leather, real pearl and real horn, rather than cheap Chinese buttons. Many of the more expensive buttons come from Italy but my most high-end ones are Czech and glass. They don’t make them anymore, so they are very precious.
Do you have any favourites?
I love the pretty mother-of-pearl buttons with cherries on which I have on my red cardigan. My husband Leon’s favourites used to be mussel shell because each was unique.
You must have had some unusual requests?
I had a customer who wanted 365 buttons on her wedding dress! Another bride loved Winne the Pooh Bear, so I embroidered him on a large button with beads for a nose. I never saw the finished dress but I have never forgotten that.
What does the future hold for Taylors?
My son who works in IT will eventually take over the business but we are already keeping up with the times. We have a website with some online shop items but choosing buttons is very personal and I prefer to meet the customer. Also, if you want to find the perfect match, you really need to see the button in real life.
And what about Fitzrovia?
The area is changing significantly, especially with new developments like the luxury flats in Pearson Square. I just hope there will be more, unique clothing stores. We already have enough sandwich bars, coffee shops and restaurants!