Paxton & Whitfield

Although the wholesaler and retailer Paxton & Whitfield has shops across London, St James’s is still the brand’s spiritual home. “We’re the oldest cheese shop in the country, founded as Paxton & Whitfield in 1797,” explains Annie Meakin, who oversees the brand’s London operations these days. Moves to Stratford-upon-Avon and Bath are newer, but the brand’s Jermyn Street shop is still its flagship. “Once it was clear that St James’s was going to be such a great area to do business, we set up shop and we haven't moved since.”


On doing business in St James’s...

“We can trace our roots back to the early 1740s, when Stephen Cullem was trading as a market stall trader in Aldwych Market, near the Strand. He took on two partners, Mr Paxton and Mr Whitfield, and it's their names that have stuck with the business. We've been in our current building since 1896, but we were a few doors down previously to that, so we have a pretty long history here.”

On the area’s unique atmosphere...

“The history's a big part of the atmosphere here, and it's famed for the gentlemen's fashion part of it, but all of that ties up with the palaces and historic buildings to make it a really unusual corner of London. It's nice to be a part of that heritage. Jermyn Street's always been one of my favourite streets in London, long before I started working at Paxton & Whitfield. There's an otherworldliness almost, where it's very genteel, but it's one step away from Piccadilly, which is really hectic. Jermyn Street is a different pace, which I always really enjoy.”

On the changing face of the area...

“There's some newer businesses coming through in the area now, which is nice to see. The core of the area remains pretty steady, and I don't think it has changed a great deal compared to other areas of London, but there are new things popping up as well, which makes it feel really vibrant.”


More from No.3

You can read more stories from our neighbours in St James’s here.