Fortnum & Mason
Fortnum & Mason is a very popular and highly-acclaimed department store, established in central London in 1707, by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. It is privately owned by Wittington Investments Ltd, and even has two branches in Japan!
Originally established as a grocery store, Fortnum & Mason has always been famed and internationally recognized for the incredible high quality of its goods, and has been the recipient of many Royal Warrants. Though the department store saw rapid growth and expansion during the Victorian period, its primary focus remains on stocking the most superior exotic and specialty fare, such as dried fruit, meats, spices and teas. It even claims to have invented the Scotch egg in 1738!
Even hard-to-please Queen Victoria was a fan of Fortnum & Mason, and actually sent the stores own brand of concentrated beef tea to Florence Nightingale, to use in her hospitals during the Crimean War. The department stores top-notch, luxury picnic hampers were also first donated towards renowned Victorian High Society, for events such as the Henley Regatta and Ascot Races, and are still highly acclaimed and sought after today. A modern day Fortnum & Mason hamper will contain such treats as Stilton cheese, champagne, Quails eggs, smoked salmon, etc, and are available with prices ranging from anything between £35 and £25,000!
In 2007, Fortnum & Mason celebrated its three hundred year anniversary, and commemorated the occasion with a massive £24 million refurbishment!