Stewart Christie & Gilbert The Phone Box

Edinburgh, Scotland | C.1720

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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Any arduous adventure and expedition requires a good clothier. Tucked away on 63 Queen Street, this quiet storefront humbly holds a unique title: the oldest bespoke tailor in Scotland. For over 200 years, Stewart Christie & Co. has served up new fashion for generations, and not just for any old codger. With a long storied history, the tailors of Stewart Christie have found new life in the 21st Century–along with a pet telephone booth. 

Tracing their roots all the way back to the early 18th Century, the venerable establishment has records going all the way back to 1720. Receipts, adjustments, and alteration notes all tell the story of how this company successfully served several generations, most notably an invoice from Scottish hero Sir Walter Scott himself, who appears to have not paid the amount owed just yet. 

SC & Co specializes in “bespoke” tailoring, creating custom garments by hand and providing onsite personalized alterations. While a unique presence on any modern bypass, establishments such as this were an important requirement to any fashionable gent up until the 20th Century. Stewart Christie during this time rose above the rest, gaining a Royal Warrant under the rule of George V, which the company still qualifies for to this day. 

While always located in the trendy New Town of Edinburgh, Stewart Christie found itself at its current storefront in 1973 due to a downturn of profits. With lowered demand for fine suits and quality tweed, the future looked grim for the long-lasting tailors. After running through the same family for four hard-earned generations, Stewart Christie was sold to Victoria Rae and Daniel Fearn, promising new life for the greying walls on Queen St.

The result? An injection of whimsy and old-fashioned curiosity into the mature master-tailors. Festooning the interior with period trinkets and facades, visitors are welcomed into another world upon entrance. Surprises are welcome—the gentleman’s fitting room comes with a hidden built-in cabinet full of specially curated Scottish whiskey for a “wee nip” for any nervous patron. Providing a crafty homage to the lush history of the neighborhood, SC & Co. also offers the chance for a lucky few to even  stay at their highland fantasy guest suite, The Abide. 

Along with these little whims, the tailors of Queen St have also adopted a classically red telephone box, lovingly named “Gilbert.” Named after the designer of the iconic booths, his exterior is similar to his many cousins around the UK, but inside of Gilbert, visitors can be transported into a second Stewart Christie shop. Fitted with hats, a cane, tartan curtains, and open drawers labeled “nonsense” and “stuff,” any proper lad or lassie can temporarily embellish their look for a small donation going to Save the Children. 

Located in what was once the estate of the Earl of Wemyss, there’s documentation that the illustrious Earl doth protested when a storefront was constructed on his street in the 1800s. Yet, the Earl is long gone, and the stupendous Stewart Christie & Co remains to stand the test of time. 

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