Formed in 2006 from the combination of two of the UK’s finest and most historic manufacturers, under the leadership of Russell Kashket, Firmin House has carried on their centuries-old traditions manufacturing iconic uniforms and accoutrements in our factories in Birmingham and London.
With the acquisition of E. C. Snaith and the foundation of Kashket Tactical Group, Firmin House is able to offer head to toe uniformsand operational clothing and equipmentfor military, emergency and security service, corporate and civilian use for everyone from individuals to armed forces, for everything from a Royal Wedding to bank security.
Kashket & Partners
Specialist designers and suppliers of high-quality military uniforms for ceremonial, parade, corporate and formal wear. With a dedicated team of over 40 bespoke tailors and skilled artisans our London workroom can make a fully hand-made bespoke suit to whatever the customer’s requirements, from a single suit to uniforms for a hundred staff.
Honoured to make the uniforms both Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, wore to their weddings, Kashket & Partners has made bespoke uniforms for many members of many Royal Families, including the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as eight kings. Kashket designed and entirely manufactured the page boys’ uniforms for the wedding of Duke of Cambridge.
Firmin & Sons
Exporting since the 17th Century, Firmin & Sons takes the lead in Firmin House’s international and export customers with our dedicated team of experience professionals able to design and make anything from complete uniform packages or individual pieces.
With a metalwork factory in the Midlands making everything from identification badges in the tens of thousands to individual jewels, Firmin & Sons combines modern professionalism and service with traditional craft.
Kashket Tactical Group
Kashket Tactical Group (KTG) is the operational tactical arm of the Kashket Group.
KTG offers Ballistic protection solutions via our own unique manufacture facility of Hard Armour Plate (HAP) and Soft Armour Plate (SAP). In addition to manufacture and supply of ballistic protection, we are able to offer solutions that have been developed from a range of specialist fabrics and materials able to be applied to vehicles and structures or constructed into bespoke garments to meet the threat and need of the client.
KTG understand that Combat situations are diverse and vary greatly from one operational context to another. Land, Airborne, Maritime and a variety of terrain and environmental factors impact greatly on the optimum system design: There are currently no Soldier Systems that can properly claim to cover every operational need and to function in every context and environment required, KTG therefore offer a selection of Load Carriage and Soldier Systems available from our specially developed range as well as the ability to develop systems unique to client role.
The Kashket Group incorporates the oldest manufacturing company in the UK – Firmin and Son, who for over one hundred and seventy years have been hand-crafting body armour in our Birmingham factory which can be seen each day on parade in London. Combining this long tradition of military supply with Kashket’s distinguished tradition of fine tailoring, and using the most modern materials and technology, KTG offer ballistic protection solutions through in-house manufacture of hard armour plate and soft armour packs and a range of specialist fabrics and materials.
From Ceremonial to Combat, from off-the-shelf solutions to full design and development, from the Crimean War to today’s most challenging operational environment. Whether the need is for discreet, tailored security or a full hard armour system, KTG provide the complete protective range.
Bespoke Design – Tailored to Protection:
Kashket & Partners is world-renowned for its bespoke tailoring, with every suit or uniform hand-cut and customised for the individual’s unique requirements. KTG take the tailoring principles of delivering the best products by knowing the customer’s every need and extend it to personal protection.
With the option of intensive trial and biometric studies our product development process focuses on each customer’s specific threat level requirements and operational need. Once a full situational analysis has been agreed KTG develop the optimal ballistic solution and carrier design. All our products are intensively tested internally, but also certified by an external partner to ensure customer peace of mind.
“Wraith” Covert Dress – Protection. Discretion:
Designed and developed with Kashket’s master tailors the WRAITH covert dress combines discretion and world-beating protection for VIPs, undercover officers and civilians.
With our experience as tailors to royalty, world leaders and heads of government, our master tailors specifically developed wraith to fit under national dress or military or civilian formal attire. Specialist fabric and painstaking design ensured cooling, comfort and minimal visibility. The final design allows freedom of movement for any user, remaining fully operationally flexible whilst entirely covert, and having the assurance and security of personal protective armour.
Overt Protection – Serving Those Who Serve:
Police, maritime security and armed forces require something more than the Wraith system. With the challenging range of modern operational environments and threat levels, KTG offers armour systems and tactical load carriages that are modular, adaptable and integrate with the wearer’s equipment, allowing KTG to provide a solution to any tactical problem with multiple COTS options and tailored systems to meet any need from free fall operations to CJW,
KTG is even able to offer FLOATATION armour, designed and developed in partnership with special forces all over the world, to provide full positive buoyancy systems with ceramic options specially designed for CJW operations.
Peace of Mind – External Testing and Certification:
When an “end-user” puts on a KTG protection system their life is in our hands. This is both an honour and a responsibility we take extremely seriously.
We test all our protective solutions thoroughly both internally and through independent Internationally approved test houses, furthermore they were developed in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Helston Forensics Laboratories as well as current and former service personnel. Copies of these test reports available on request. Tested to defined threat levels that can range from the smallest shrapnel fragment to the highest calibre rifle, in line with each customer’s specific requirements.
External verification and certification include:
- Test reports and certificates of conformity to the customer’s requirements issued by external, accredited organisations.
- Compliance to international standards set by the National Institute for Justice, the Home Office Scientific Development Branch and equivalents.
- CE marking in compliance with European Council Directive 89/686/EEC for armour suitable for civilian use.
- ISO 9001 – Quality management and assurance.
- ISO 14001 – Environmental management system.
- SA 8000 – Social accountability in the workforce.
- Cyber Essential Certified – in line with the UK government’s National Cyber Security Strategy.
- Safe Contractor Accredited – Health & safety compliance.
Firmin Bespoke Tailoring
Although Kashket has always supplied personal as well as corporate and military wear, this has remained one of London’s best kept secrets. Founded to bring Firmin House’s suits and accessories to a wider audience Firmin Bespoke Tailoring offer fully bespoke and hand made suits to all those of taste.
Able to attend you at your location, or by appointment at our London workshop, Firmin Bespoke Tailoring takes the craft and care with which we hand-make our royal uniforms and applies it to suits of classic elegance or leading-edge fashion.
Monarchs aside, Firmin & Sons has traditionally dealt with larger institutional customers. However, it was felt that this left the individual users often ill-served, relying on direct website sales which often lacked the knowledge of either manufacture or protocolto ensure the correct product for the correct use.
With the acquisition of E.C. Snaith Firmin House sought to change this. Available via the internet or telephone to individuals and the trade, E. C. Snaith narrows the gap between manufacturer and client to ensure the best possible service and product at the best possible price.
The oldest part of the company, the oldest extant manufacturing company in England, and indeed one of the oldest continually functioning manufacturers in the world, Firmin & Sons was established by Thomas Firmin in 1655 with an initial capital of £ 100, as recorded in the records of the Girdler’s Company which survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. Sadly, Firmin’s workshop at 3 King’s Court, Lombard Street in the heart of the City of London was completely destroyed in the Fire, although it was rebuilt by 1677. Firmin & Sons first dedicated factory was opened on Drury Lane in 1823 and our association with Birmingham began in 1882 when production was moved to take advantage of Birmingham’s cutting-edge industry. Proud since then to be part of the great Midlands manufacturing tradition Firmin House now operates a factory on New Town Row in the historic Gun Quarter.
Firmin & Sons remained privately held by the Firmin family until 1875 when it became a public company. Now as part of the Firmin House group, it is again a privately held, family company.
The earliest preserved records of Firmin & Sons relationship with the British Royal Family are from 1754 when orders were placed with us for buttons for King George II and for his household. In 1796 Firmin was granted the first Royal Warrant as royal button maker to King George III and has held royal warrants of appointment from every monarch since in unbroken succession, a distinction the Royal Warrant Holders have confirmed is to their knowledge unmatched.
For over three centuries, Firmin & Sons have been intimately involved in British history since, we still have the dies to make the same buttons we struck to adorn the uniform of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Firmin dressed servicemen at the battles of Trafalgar, Waterloo and Gettysburg. The uniform buttons for the White Star Line’s officers, worn on the Titanic, were made by Firmin & Sons. Having grown far from its origins as a specialist button maker by 1851 Firmin & Sons was a sword cutler and regalia jeweller, featuring in the Great Exhibition, displaying“[s]pecimens of buttons. Stars of the Order of the Garter, the Thistle, and of St. Patrick. Swords.” (Placed between a finely knitted baby’s hat in white silk and a new design for a laceless corset.) During the Second World War, as well as uniforms the factory also made bomb fuses and
Kashket and Partners history dates back long before the founding of the company to the family occupation as milliners in Russia – the name Kashket itself derives from a hat that became closely identified with the Russian Jewish community. Alfred Kashket made felt hats for Tsar Nicholas II, showing the close association with royalty from the beginning.
Alfred Kashket (later Alfred Kashket, MBE) moved to London in the 1920s and resumed the family tailoring trade, swiftly building the reputation for quality and the close royal and military links that would come to define the company.
Alfred’s son Master Tailor Bernard Kashket, MBE continues to design and advise the London factory. His son, Senior Master Tailor Russell Kashket serves today as chairman of the group. With his son Nathan joining the company to lead Firmin Bespoke Tailoring, the family now enters its fourth generation in London as tailors of distinction to royalty, military, corporate, and the discerning individual.
This proud history is a living part of the company – we use button dies in Birmingham that were cut by hand more than a century ago next to hand-cut or computer-cut and vacuum hardened dies that were made last week. There are patterns in common use in the London workshop which date back to the founding of Kashket and Partners.
This is a continual source of strength to Firmin House and all its employees. Rooted in tradition, we hold to the old-fashioned virtues of craft and care to bring an unmatched wealth of experience to everything we do. Taking the best of modern technology and practice to support the centuries-old, Firmin House are ready to carry this forward to the next three hundred and sixty years.
Much of what Firmin House does is only possible with the unique specialties of our dedicated workforce. With full-time master armourers in Birmingham manufacturing ceremonial helmets and parade armour, and our master tailor in London passing on the lessons learnt in over fifty years of experience.
Expertise is passed down from master craftsmen to journeyman over years in the traditional and modern apprenticeships. Much of this is arts that can only be learnt by doing, from master cutters and tailors in London, to the vitreous enamellers, hand die sinking and armourers in Birmingham. Our long tradition reminds us of the need to prepare for the next generation and the generation after that, ensuring that all we have learnt today is there to inform and guide our successors tomorrow.
Many of our staff have worked with us all their working life and some are the second- or third-generation of their family to work for Firmin House. It is not just the owners who make this a family company, but all the staff for whom it is also a part of their family’s history and pride.
Thomas Firmin was a great philanthropist, earning the nickname “almoner-general” for his generosity and work with the poor. Inspired by his example and by the service of our military clientele, Firmin House has sought to be an active part of the community wherever it is based.
In Birmingham especially we have sought to aid the continuation and publicization of its great manufacturing community. This ranges from our visits to local primary schools to show what we make and how, to our continued work supporting and learning from the School of Jewellery where we collaborate to give student designers and jewellers an understanding on the exigencies of commercial manufacture, whilst their talents and creativity continually reinvigorate our design and development sensibility. Furthermore we are always delighted to welcome people to our factory to see the fact that Birmingham manufacturing remains a vibrant sector of the local and national economy.
To mark the revival of Firmin’s sword cutlery, dormant since the 19thcentury, Firmin has since 2005 sponsored the Firmin Sword of Peace. Given to the Royal Navy, Army, RAF, and joint service unit that has made the most outstanding contribution to community relations each year. This prestigious award recognises that the work of Britain’s armed forces is as often humanitarian as military and rewards our servicemen for the work they do bringing communities whether in the UK or abroad together.
Firmin House is pleased to have been SA8000 certified, ensuring independent verification of our social welfare policies.