2019 is a big year for British brands. Fate would have it that carmakers, craftsmen and even iconic retail destinations are all ringing in anniversaries — and celebrating them in style.
We’ve rounded up six of the biggest milestones, and taken a look at how each of these quintessentially British companies are celebrating centenaries, bicentennials and more…
Oliver Sweeney has 30 years of footwear under its laces
This quality British shoemaker may only be celebrating 30 years proper, but it has been 50 years since Oliver Sweeney ran away to London to start his business. At just 16-years-old, the young man dedicated himself to two decades of learning his craft — and is still trading on his name half a century later.
Today, Oliver Sweeney combines classic shoemaking techniques with 21st century technology and innovation to present us with pioneering, envelope-pushing collections every season. Our favourite part of Sweeney’s enduring business? The collaborations, which have seen the shoemaker join forces with chef Marcus Wareing, explorer Levison Wood, photographer Nadav Kander and more in pursuit of the finest footwear.
Bentley is celebrating 100 years of starting engines
One of Britain’s most famous carmakers, Bentley needs no introduction. Instead, we’ll throw back to earlier this year, when we took photographer Olivier Hess to the brand’s Crewe factory to discover why it has remained at pole position in a competitive sector for 100 years.
To celebrate its centenary, earlier this year Bentley revealed the incredible EXP 100 GT — a vast sportster featuring four electric motors, biometric sensors and tech that tracks occupants’ eye movements and blood pressure to look for signs of discomfort. It’s the future on four wheels — and a hell of way for Bentley to ring in its birthday.
Burlington Arcade opened its hallowed hall 200 years ago
This year, the capital’s most iconic shopping destination will have been actively trading for 200 years. And, in typically decadent style, these two successful centuries have been marked with immersive installations, gift wrapping, personalisation, bespoke services and other experiences — to heighten an already heady whirl down the gallery.
Gentleman’s Journal even jumped on the Burlington bandwagon earlier this year with a pop-up shop — joining brands including Penhaligon’s, Crockett & Jones, Church’s, Mulberry and the Vintage Rolex store under the glass roof. So, next time you find yourself on Piccadilly, look left as you jostle along with blinkered commuters and head-bowed businessmen — and wish Burlington Arcade a happy birthday.
Ettinger is ringing in 85 years in leather-bound style
Founded in 1934 by Gerry Ettinger, Britain’s best intricate leather goods manufacturer is still family-owned — and still at the top of its full-grain game. For over 20 years, the brand has held a Royal Warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales, and has remained a collaborator and firm friend of many other British brands including Asprey, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Bentley.
To celebrate its 85th birthday, Ettinger has revealed yet another unique collaboration. Calling on the considerable talents of renowned British artist Rory Dobner and London printer and bookbinder Barnard & Westwood, the brand has launched a beautiful limited-edition notebook featuring reddish brown tones, waxy cowhide and an idiosyncratic owl named Nigel.
British Airways is flying the colours for its centenary
On 25 August, British Airways will be turning 100. That’s one whole century of taking the world to Britain and Britain to the world. And it’s spared no expense in celebrating the milestone — with a campaign starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Joshua and former Gentleman’s Journal cover star Riz Ahmed.
Over the years, British Airways has made some impressive strides in the world of air travel. In 1976, it teamed up with Air France to operate the supersonic airliner Concorde, flew mostly UK-built planes when it first took to the skies and, today, travels to more than 200 destinations in 75 countries. We couldn’t have asked for a better British global ambassador.
Barbour has zipped up 125 years as an outerwear innovator
For 125 long years, north-eastern brand Barbour has been keeping us warm — in the coolest of ways. Another British brand that is still family-owned, today by fifth generation Barbours, the company began in 1894 when it supplied mariners with oilskins to keep them protected on the wild North Sea.
Today a global lifestyle brand, Barbour has stores in 40 countries worldwide, and its clothing caters for men, women, children and even dogs. To ring in its 125th year, it has teamed up with fellow South Shields success story Sir Ridley Scott on a beautiful film as well as launching a limited edition range of Icons jackets.
Looking to joined these storied ranks and celebrate a landmark of your own some day? Here’s how to name your start-up…