anniversary coffee house

On 16th September 1944, Harold Rees Higgins first opened the doors to the H.R. Higgins shop with the sole aim to supply coffee to businesses and individuals affected by the war. A result of the humblest of beginnings, H.R. Higgins is now proudly celebrating the shop’s 75th anniversary and with this lies the opportunity to reflect on the past three quarters of a century.

Let’s rewind 75 years. On Wednesday 31st March 1942, Harold Higgins noted in his diary that he had ceased being an employee of The Kenya Coffee Company (better know these days as Kenco). He was then offered a small attic room on 43 South Molton Street in Mayfair, an address that was occupied at the time by a Miss Fox and a Miss Jenkins, who were local bakers. The room was up 70 stairs and the rent was £5 a month including rates. It was here Harold started H.R. Higgins (Coffee-man), a wholesale only business, possibly because nobody in their right mind would climb the 70 stairs to the little back room to buy directly!

The business boomed, and in 1944 Harold took his roaster back down the 70 stairs to his first shop at 42 South Molton Street. It is thought Harold attempted to acquire these premises over a long period, with several thwarted applications due to the front of the shop being repeatedly blown out during bombing raids. Despite these setbacks, H.R. Higgins was born. This humbled ground floor shop and basement was decorated with rich mahogany and exquisitely designed traditional weighing scales bought at auction. On his first day of trading, Harold served eleven customers and made a rather remarkable £2 and thruppence.

By 1986, the business had somewhat outgrown the premises on South Molton Street. It was then the decision to move to a new address just two streets away at 79 Duke Street was made, and it is here that the shop can still be found today. In 2016, the shop underwent a full renovation, creating the current stylish interior.

anniversary

H.R. Higgins holds a vast collection of extraordinary teas and coffees from across the world. The knowledge and authority with which David and Tony Higgins source, select and create their perfect roasts and delicious blends have been likened to a great sommelier or oenophile creating a world class cellar of vintage wines. However there is no stuffy formality or snobbish attitude – rather the welcoming and enticing atmosphere of a family run business, dedicated to helping individuals find their preferred flavour.

In celebration, we have launched an Anniversary Blend Tea which is available to buy now on the website.

The team are now working hard in planning how to take H.R. Higgins into the next 75 years of business in the ever-changing landscape of the London coffee scene.