Henry Poole now has five members of staff making hospital gowns and scrubs with another two starting this week. Cutters Daniel McDonald and Charlie Button, coat-maker Roy Wain and waistcoat-maker Sarah McSweeney are making the garments with cutter Joe Holyoak both making and delivering. Cutter, Philip Parker, a Liveryman at Merchant Taylors, is making scrub bags. Coat- makers Abigail Robertston and Jeni England are all set to join their Henry Poole colleagues.
The garments and their bags are being made for the charity ‘Show Love with Colour’, set up by Victoria Townsend to supply vital hospital garments to the NHS. Victoria, a tailor and Freeman of the Merchant Taylors’ Guild, left Savile Row to found her Battersea-based London Academy of Bespoke, a school specialising in teaching tailors the fundamentals of bespoke craft. She set up the charity to make fun, colourful gowns to brighten the mood, particularly in children’s hospitals, though it is also supplying much-needed regular medical scrubs.
Victoria was inspired by the story of Dr. Olivia Walker (pictured). When the pandemic broke Dr. Walker cut short her trip to Australia by several months and bought a ticket home. She’s since been working on the frontline at Bedford Hospital. Despite being small and slight, only XL scrubs were available. ‘We were so inspired by her story and dedication that we sent her a set of scrubs in the right size so she can work in the clothes that she should be entitled to as a frontline worker of our NHS,’ said Victoria.
With her contacts across the trade, Victoria has pulled in tailors, seamstresses, local crafters and suppliers from across Savile Row houses, including Norton & Sons, Dege and Skinner and Ede and Ravenscroft as well as Henry Poole. Cloth houses, like Dugdale, are also helping and contributing to the charity.