The V&A is one of my favorite places on earth. Today, while reading my dear friend Eve Golden's Queen of the Dead column, one of her obits was of Major Henry Herbert Kitchener, 3rd Earl Kitchener which brings me to I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet. As a young pre-punk lass, I pored over any account I could get of the Rolling Stones (Pops Lethal was a Beatles fan - they were my nursery rhymes) and was always fascinated by mention of this store. From the V&A website interview with owner/founder Robert Orbach:
I'm sitting there one morning and in walked John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Cynthia Lennon. And I didn't know whether I was hallucinating… but it was real. And Mick Jagger bought a red Grenadier guardsman drummer's jacket, probably for about £4-5. They all came from Moss Bros and British Army Surplus. In 1966 it was only fifty or so years from Victorian times, when we had an empire. We used to buy fur coats by the bale… we had to throw quite a lot away.
So Mick Jagger bought this tunic and wore it on Ready Steady Go when the Stones closed the show by performing Paint it Black. The next morning there was a line of about 100 people wanting to buy this tunic… and we sold everything in the shop by lunchtime.