Woollen merchants since 1846
Including the supply of:
- Real Shetland
- Harris Tweed
- Irish Donegal (Handwoven and Machine woven)
- Scottish Cheviot
- Genuine Irish Linen
A short history
- 1846. The company was founded by William Bill in Chester Street, Mold, Flintshire, Wales and was selling Welsh flannels and blankets.
- The company later moved from North Wales to larger premises in Tenby, South Wales. The second William (Thomas) Bill introduced tweeds to the product range.
- 1892. William (Thomas) Bill moved to London and opened one shop for knitted garments and another for cloth.
- The knitted garment and cloth shops were later combined and a single store was opened in Great Portland Street.
- 1920's and 1930's. Brooks Brothers and other American brands began buying from W Bill.
- The Second World War. Despite the difficulties of war and the danger of working in London during the bombing raids W Bill's reduced staff continued its shipments to America.
- Late 1940's and early 1950's. W Bill was one of the few companies licensed to export cashmere and supplied many American servicemen before they returned home.
- A new export-only shop was opened in South Molton Street and later a despatch department in South Molton Lane under the management of Ray Hammett.
- 1960's and early 1970's. The company continued to grow, particularly in the US and further abroad.
- 1994. W Bill was taken over by Smith & Co, who continue to run it.
What others are saying
A present from 'Dr Who' W Bill's Ray Hammett with a photo of Matt Smith in his jacket made with cloth supplied by W Bill.
Some famous customers
- Pablo Picasso
- Had a jacket made from W Bill cloth.
- Sir Ernest Shackleton
- The firm supplied Shetland pullovers for the voyage to the Antartic in 1908.
- Sir Edmund Hilary
- The firm supplied Shetland pullovers for the first Everest expedition in 1953.
- Dr Who
- The Donegal Tweed used for his Series Five jacket and the Shetland Tweed used for his Series Six jacket were supplied by W Bill.