The term ‘on the cod’ is another of those fine pieces of tailors’ slang that have survived generations in the trade. To explain it briefly, it effectively means ‘gone drinking’, with the cod part referring to ‘drinking like a fish’.
Savile Row’s favoured pub, The Mason’s Arms, recently welcomed a milestone anniversary, having served tailors and shirtmakers from the trade for 150 years. We at Denman and Goddard were invited to celebrate this occasion by joining other tailoring houses and exhibiting a small display of our work, in the form of my Golden Shears winning entry. Thanks to the generosity of The Master Beadle of The Merchant Taylors’ Hall, we were also able to have the actual golden shears on display. People visiting the pub were welcomed to look round the exhibited works, and speak to us about our fine craft. Below you can see a couple of photos from the evening’s celebrations.
Patrick Bunting, President of the Bespoke Tailors’ Benevolent Association and Head of UK sales at Dormeuil (left) and myself.
Tailors assemble outside the pub for a group picture.
Whilst cutting my new suit, I had nothing but admiration for Peter’s shears. From the less intricate cut of a trouser underside, to the precision of an armhole, they handled so well. It was only after Peter told me their story that my respect for these fine blades entered a whole new level.
Manufactured by R. Heinisch of Newark, New Jersey, USA, they bear the name ‘Inventor’ and are 16″ end to end. The cutting blades themselves are 9″ long, and as you can imagine weigh a substantial amount. After opening the blades when cutting, their very weight closes them again- even on heavy tweeds and overcoatings!
Peter himself inherited them from his old mentor Sid Whittingham. Sid was a Cutter at Flights Ltd. (Military Tailors), before moving to Rogers, John Jones Ltd. in Conduit Street. The location on which this old firm’s shop once stood is now the foundations of The Westbury, one of Mayfair’s fine hotels. At this time Peter was working for J. Dege & Sons in Clifford Street (now Dege & Skinner of Savile Row). After the two companies merged, Peter became Under Cutter to Sid, who himself was Head Military Cutter.
During ‘The Blitz’ of World War Two, Rogers, John Jones Ltd.’s premises on Conduit Street was completely reduced to rubble. In the crater of devastation only one item remained, having managed to survived the intense blasts completely unscathed- Sid’s shears. I find it remarkable that in true British spirit, these shears have survived the most desperate of times and still continue to cut on a daily basis. Their legacy lives on at Denman and Goddard to the current day, and I have no doubt that it will continue for many years to come. Who knows, I may even inherit them myself!