First Night Design | Edwardian Fashion — Swan & Edgar’s is all the rage!

Swan & Edgar’s Fashionable Furs © Sarah Vernon
Swan & Edgar’s Fashionable Furs © Sarah Vernon

Swan & Edgar’s Fashionable Furs was one of the first greeting cards I made at Zazzle. I scanned this advertisement from one of my early 20th century editions of the English theatre periodical, Play Pictorial.


Even if you have never heard of Swan & Edgar’s, this grand department store was housed in one of the most recognisable and iconic buildings of Piccadilly Circus, between Piccadilly and Regent Street. It was the establishment in which to be seen for it sold the most sumptuous clothes for the well-heeled. The store had its beginnings in a haberdashery stall in St James Market run by William Edgar early in the 19th century. After meeting George Swan, the two men combined resources:

They first opened a shop together in Ludgate Hill which Mr Swan had been operating, but moved to 20 Piccadilly in 1812. They then moved to 49 Regent Street when their former site was demolished to make way for Piccadilly Circus, which had been the home to the Western Mail coach offices and the Bull & Mouth public house. George Swan died in 1821, however Mr Edgar continued to use the name. By 1848 the premises had expanded to 45-51 and the entire corner of Piccadilly Circus… [Wikipedia]


Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!


18 thoughts on “First Night Design | Edwardian Fashion — Swan & Edgar’s is all the rage!

  1. If you accept that the drawings are a little exaggerated around the very matronly bust line, I can’t think of a more elegant period for women ever, or for men actually.
    I adored the 60’s with the maxi and midi as well and a return to the peacock colours of the past for men. Though not very colourful, my favourite shirt ever was brown with a four button fastening from the left shoulder up to the neck which had two buttons and was like a Cossack collar. The sleeves flared a little from the elbow but came in again at the wrist to a three button cuff.Probably the worst description ever but I can still picture it and would kill for another. That was above a pair of slacks which may or may not have been velvet ( not now though) with a broad belt band at the waist ( mine was 28″) and which flared gently from the knee down rather than the full bell bottoms some liked. They came from Carnaby Street.
    Going back to the Edwardian era for a moment, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to don a nice waistcoat, my frock coat and sometimes a top hat.Women have their shoes and handbags, I have my waistcoats.
    xxx Huge Hugs Sarah xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I actually remember the name “Swan and Edgars, although I knew nothing of them until I read your very interesting history of their shop. Is it still going I wonder. My knowledge of the retail world is pretty limited, as you might already suspect 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It became Tower Records, then Virgin and now a clothes shop that doesn’t match the elegance in any way shape or form. So sad. Click the Wikipedia link in the post to find out more. I’d known about them since childhood but didn’t know it was this particular building in Piccadilly Circus until reading about it for this post!


  3. What an amazing era to have lived and those hats, what incredible works of art alone they are! My copy of Downton Abby Season 5 arrived just this week so have been treating myself with an episode each night, drooling over the ensembles the Crawley ladies are wearing, particularly the hats. Simply glorious, so NOT me but a girl can dream. {sigh}

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David, indeed the era would have fitted you to a tea. Thanks Sarah, fascinating story of the building. How many lives do these buildings live…And great card.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very fascinating. I would occasionally pass by that part of Piccadilly on my way to and from work.or from Trafalgar Square/Leicester Square area and thank to your post, I’ve now learned that this used to be a department store. The clothes are beautiful and elegant but I don’t think I would want to wear them. I’m a practical person and I’d feel restricted with those sort of clothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Two of my great aunts worked in this store, they were furiers, making fur coats, stoles and muffs etc for the rich an famous. I have an old sepia photo of the staff up on the roof with their hair up in buns, white blouses and long skirts, its quite a faint photo, so im going to see if the local photogaphic store can improve it. Will maybe be able to up load it when its done

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.