This stylish shop was established by Thomas Fox in 1868, and has passed through a number of hands since then. In the early days the building housed a hair salon and a tailor, also owned by Fox, and it was common for customers to come, leave their umbrella to be repaired and have their hair cut while they were waiting. The extremely stylish exterior was installed in 1936 and was, at the time, the latest in shop-front design. Curved non-reflective glazing later used at heals on Tottenham court road was used for the windows, and the framework was made from black Vitrolite a type of black glass used in the 1930s and chromed steel. Two prancing silver foxes and a neon sign were the finishing touches. Seventy years on, it still looks achingly cool.
Inside, the shop is fitted with cabinets made of solid Canadian black walnut. The staircase boasts framed mirrors, with original advertising graphics dating back to 1868. Right up until 1990, the umbrellas were handmade in the basement workshop to the strictest criteria, and T Fox prides itself on having produced one-off designs for John F Kennedy, a gadget umbrella for a James Bond film, and brollies for John Steed in ‘The Avengers’. Visit the T Fox Website here
These photographs were commissioned by Thames & Hudson / View Pictures for an upcoming book on the architecture of the City of London
Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010