A History in Cloth

1827 - Our Origins

Edinburgh Map

James & Ogilvie founded in 1827 at 123 High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.

1838 - Pre-founding period

Edinburgh Castle

Harrisons soon-to-be founder, George Harrison embarks on his first business venture with partner Samuel Halkett, establishing a business of wool drapers, hatters and hosiers.

1860 - Liberalism & Early Philanprothy

1860 R

George Harrison supplied the cloth for Guiseppe Garibaldi’s forces that conquered the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and helped unify Italy. Included here is a letter received in thanks and appreciation after the successful campaign.

1863 - Founding

1863 R

Harrisons of Edinburgh is founded in 1863 by a 51 year Sir George Harrison through the acquisition of James & Ogilvie moving into their premises of 31 North Bridge, Edinburgh.

1865 - Growing the company

1960 R

As these design copyrights from 1865 show, Sir George Harrison begins modernising the business and increasing the scale of commerce.

1888 - Legacy & Commemoration

1888 R

The Harrison Arch is built in 1888 to commemorate George Harrison's contribution to Edinburgh, while 2 Streets in the city (Harrison Road & Harrison Gardens) here named in his honor.

1895 - Origins In Exeter

Weather Vane

Lear Browne and Dunsford chose Exeter as their base when they commenced trading in 1895, supplying fine quality fabrics and linings to the worldwide tailoring industry, some 111 years later (2006) they would acquire Harrison & Co.

1900 - Exporting Abroad

1900 R

George Archibald Harrison (the third George to head the firm after George Harrison Jr dies in 1890) begins exporting cloth to the USA. When US customers asked for a trade mark to distinguish the cloth, the Thistle was chosen. This was designed by E.S Harrison.

Early 1901-09

1901 R

Over time George Harrison & Co enlarges its business to include English worsteds and coatings before opening offices in London, Paris, Berlin and Brussels.

1912 - Enlarging the premises

1912 R

Work begins on the enlargement of the existing premises to double storage and handling space.

1913 - Jubilee Year (50th anniversary)


To commemorate 50 years since Sir George Harrison purchased the business of Jame & Ogilvie, Harrison & Co reviewed the history of the firm.


1915 R

Frenchman Georges Marchand (like company co-founder Samuel Halkett, a skilled linguist) begins representing the firm - a post he would hold for the rest of his life.

1918 - World War I

1918 R

Company owner George Archibald Harrison dies during WWI, his brother A.C Harrison takes control of the firm until his retirement in 1951. During his tenure the firm becomes specialists in Cashmere and Vicuna cloths.

1939-45 - World War II

1960 R

Overseas trade becomes a large part of the market and the firm is one of the few who has license to export during WWII. This is reflected in the type of fabric produced until the 1950s, including many lightweight fabrics designed for tropical climates.

1950's - Partnering with Porter and Harding


After the war Harrisons & Co became partners with Porter and Harding, a firm who specialise in sports cloth. To two companies would later reunite over 40 years later.

1953 - Master Tailors' Benevolent Association

Merchant Tailor Hall

Company representative Georges Marchand is elected Chairman of the Master Tailors' Benevolent Association.

1960 - Burns Check & Business Philanprothy

1960 R

A lover of Robert Burns (the Scottish Poet), Georges Marchand designs a 'Burns check'. One shilling for every yarn goes to the Burns Foundations.

1963 - Centenary Year (100th anniversary)

1963 R

Harrisons of Edinburgh celebrate their 100th year in business and do so in style with the 'Tailor and Cutter' winner being made of Harrison cashmere. The Tailor and Cutter is an annual award for the best cashmere garment a benchmark for our industry.

1973 - Becoming Incorporated


Lear Browne and Dunsford becomes an incorporated business on 7th July 1973 and continues to be managed by the Dunsford family to this day.

1989 - The Company Grows

Pedersen Becker

LBD acquire Pederson & Becker

1993 - Buyout part 1

Ph Bunch Scissors

Porter and Harding is bought out by Lear Browne and Dunsford Ltd in 1993.

1999 - Buyout part 2


Harrisons is bought out by Lear Browne and Dunsford Ltd in 1999. Both acquired firms still trade with their existing brand names.

2010 - A new acquisition

Lesser Annoucement

Harrisons acquire Woollen Merchant, H. Lesser & Sons.

2014 - More Acquisitions

Smith Acquisition Letter

Harrisons acquire Smith Woollens & Co, and W.Bill.