CONNOLLYLAND

Our Story

Connolly’s journey began in London in 1878 as a small family business of saddlers and shoe smiths. It evolved to become the best-known supplier of highly finished leather for the automobile industry. Its portfolio of distinguished clients includes Bentley, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ferrari and Rolls Royce – whom Connolly was the exclusive leather supplier for over 100 years.

Connolly’s reputation for supplying the finest hides to the motor industry is equalled by its reputation for providing leather upholstery to special order. Our leather graces the seats of the Houses of Parliament and the Coronation coaches of the British Royal Family. Other landmarks include the desks of the British Library, the Mies van de Rohe chair, Concorde and the latest lightweight E type Jaguar.

Connolly opened its doors once again on 28th October 2016, at No.4 Clifford Street in a beautiful 18th century London townhouse. Come and explore our collection of tailored separates , knitwear, classic sportswear, leather goods and archive pieces for men and women.

The essence of Connolly is best described as a contemporary style inspired by a rich heritage of classic motor racing coupled with a strong sense of British know-how, understatement and European style and craftsmanship....Today, you will find the history of Connolly woven through the collections at the new No.4 Clifford street shop.

Heath Robinson

With 1928 came the 50th anniversary of Connolly. The Connolly family has always been known for its lively family events and good sense of humour, It was not surprising that well-connected Frederick Connolly decided to mark the occasion by commissioning a cartoonist. William Heath Robinson, by then well-established as a cartoonist with a unique style, was also a friend.

Heath Robinson’s oeuvre revolved around weird and wonderful machinery and Frederick persuaded him to apply his skills to the world of Connolly. As well as numerous individual drawings, he created ‘Connollyland’ which envisaged a kind of ‘cow’ holiday resort, complete with recreation areas, a college, kitchens and even a sanatorium. The one artifact that had Heath Robinson stumped was a hide-measuring machine – the real one used at the factory was such an arcane device that Heath Robinson famously declared, “I can’t improve on that, Mr Connolly”.
Today, Connolly is continuing this wonderful tradition with the young and talented illustrator, Rose Blake.

Rolls-Royce

When Charles Rolls and Henry Royce unveiled their first motor car at the 1904 Paris Salon, they had already decided that they wanted to make ‘the best car in the world’. Although that automotive world was admittedly still small, they turned perhaps unsurprisingly to the carriage-making industry, which was still flourishing.

Since its launch in 1878, Connolly had been a key component in the finest carriages and so began a long association with the carriage’s successor, the motor car. Two things are remarkable about this association – that 112 years later Rolls-Royce still manufacture arguably the best cars in the world, and that Connolly remained its exclusive supplier for over a century, until it withdrew from regular production to concentrate on bespoke offerings. It was a happy marriage of the best for the best.

Concorde

In the same year that the QE2 launched, Concorde was unveiled. Needless to say, the response was global astonishment. It looked unlike any other aircraft and the technical achievement – reaching Mach 2 – broke completely new ground for a passenger aircraft that is unmatched nearly half a century later. The interior went through several iterations, but the last was designed by Terence Conran.

Concorde

In the same year that the QE2 launched, Concorde was unveiled. Needless to say, the response was global astonishment. It looked unlike any other aircraft and the technical achievement – reaching Mach 2 – broke completely new ground for a passenger aircraft that is unmatched nearly half a century later. The interior went through several iterations, but the last was designed by Terence Conran.

His new lighter seat design was inspired by Eames chairs, and the choice materials was to save 20% in weight and nearly £1m a year in fuel. Conran’s choice was a grey/blue leather from Connolly and pairs of these final seats still come up for auction. By happy coincidence, Andrée Putman, designer of Connolly’s first store, designed the (fabric) seats for the French Concorde.

The Houses of Parliament

The members of no less than 14 Parliaments around the world rest their esteemed backsides on Connolly leather. This includes the ‘seat of democracy’ – the well-known chambers of the British Parliament designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin in the mid-19th century. Both appear regularly on television: the House of Lords (in red leather) is seen each year at the State Opening of Parliament, and the House of Commons (green leather) on an almost daily basis. Connolly still maintain these benches regularly.

Connolly leather adorns the House of Commons