Two stone dogs sit outside a building in Mayfair. Though they do not wag their tails, they loyally greet every patron who crosses the threshold into the historic store. Generations have been greeted by these two silent companions. This is Audley House, the home of James Purdey & Sons.
Stepping into the Queen Anne-style building is like stepping into a snapshot in time. The walls are richly decorated with our history, intermingled with the newest seasonal collection. Amongst the trophies and memorabilia are essential field accessories, the craftsmanship unmistakably Purdey. Every nook has something to discover and every cranny holds a new story to tell. We invite you to come and experience it for yourself.
The History of Audley House
When James Purdey the Younger took over the mantle, he knew that the business needed a new home that could accommodate its growth. He envisioned a space that housed not only the showroom for the clientele but a workshop as well. The space would have to accommodate the many different fragments of the business, but without the customers feeling as though they were walking into a factory.
William Lambert designed Audley House and B.E Nightingale completed the building. On 1 January 1883, 57-58 South Audley Street became home to Purdey. The result was a complete experience where customers could explore the showroom, important visitors could convene in the Long Room while the workshop laboured on underneath.
The Long Room
James Purdey the Younger designed the Long Room as his personal office. He was a man who understood that to be successful, every element of a business needs to work cohesively. To be able to monitor the progress of the workshop below, the Long Room had an open well in the centre. This way Purdey the Younger was always close to the heart of the operation.
The needs of the business changed and 1938 saw the closing of the well and installation of a meeting table. Now the Long Room serves as a boardroom and time capsule, immortalising the history of Purdey.
A beacon of British history
Displayed on the Long Room’s table is a handsome silver cigarette box. It bears an inscription, dated 1940, to Tom and Jim Purdey that thanks them for their hospitality. The brothers were leading the helm of the business during the turbulent time of WWII, and doing what was necessary to help the war efforts. They opened the Purdey homestead as a headquarters for military meetings and earned the Long Room a place in history. It was in this room General Eisenhower and the Invasion Committee discussed the initial planning of D-Day and the eventual liberation of Europe.
It wasn’t just within its walls that Audley House has a place in history. The marble pillars that stand at the front door may look worn to those who don’t know the history of Audley House. But those aren’t marks of neglect, they’re battle scars. The building survived a WWII air raid as well as an IRA bomb in 1975 that blew out every glass pane on the east-facing side. While the exterior has been restored and resplendent, Audley House has never lost its original Victorian charm.
Visit Audley House
Audley House is ready for your arrival. Walking through the doors, you’ll be greeted by the Purdey heritage — tucked into every corner and proudly displayed on every shelf. Browse through the showroom that stocks the latest men’s apparel, ladies' apparel as well as a selection of novelty homeware. Audley House also caters to your unique needs with a selection of in-store services. Design your own leather belt or pair of leather winter boots, find a personalised gift for a loved one or tailor your new smart trousers all within the walls of this historic house.