A Cracking Code
We’re all about personalisation at Harrods – so much so that we even have our own postcode. The name Ernest Maples conjures up images of a well-to-do, immaculately turned out, possibly moustachioed English gentleman. We can’t confirm his hirsute appearance, but Mr Maples was the Postmaster General, who, in 1959, first road-tested the six-digit postal code (in Norwich, to be precise). Other trials followed until the nationwide rollout in the early 1970s, when Harrods took it upon itself to negotiate its own numerical moniker. The prefix SW1X was non-negotiable, but after much effort, Harrods secured the oh-so-suitable suffix 7XL. Why so apt? Seven symbolises perfection, and XL stands for ‘Excellence’. Perfection, indeed.
My Harrods: Neelam Gill
“The last time I was in Harrods, I went in for a Loewe scarf and ended up getting a bunch of kitchen utensils. Even if I’m clothes shopping, I always visit the homewares department. I live alone and I’m really into buying things for my house, particularly for cooking. I always get tempted by all the knick-knacks, so I got this little thing that removes the stalk from a strawberry and a dish rack from Joseph Joseph that extends and has a drainage system. And then I got – I don’t even know what it’s called – a sort of egg brush, because I make a lot of puff pastry for pies, but it has different heads. I love it. I like being in a place where I can buy everything in one go – a dress, pots and pans, bedding, make-up, perfume… the whole shebang.”
In 2017, in response to the rise of knife crime in London, Harrods PR manager Pia Fontes co-founded Steel Warriors, a charitable initiative to raise awareness of the issue in the capital. Steel Warriors takes weapons confiscated by the police, melts the steel down and uses it to make outdoor callisthenics gym equipment; its vision is to “offer young people a space that not only gets them talking about knife crime, but also provides the confidence to walk the streets unarmed”. As Fontes says: “It’s not going to stop knife crime, but we hope it will make a difference in people’s lives.”