High Street Harrison & Simmonds goes global

Published on 14 January 2021

bedford Town Centre

Now selling more world-wide than ever before is the long-established High Street gentlemen’s emporium and tobacconists Harrison & Simmonds.

The business is today owned by the fourth generation of Simmonds - cousins Matthew and Dominic, who are determined to keep the business going until it reaches its 100th anniversary later this decade.

Pipes sell like hotcakes across the globe via the company website, to which people are drawn by the experience of buying from an authentic, independent British business.

“We’ve been selling across the world for years, Brexit hasn’t been a problem, in fact business is booming online as the ‘hipster’ fashion for a pipe, or pocket watch, to go with the beard and tweed jacket has taken off. There aren’t many authentic tobacconists left so we are sought out at home and abroad,” said Matthew.

The on-off UK Covid lockdowns have hampered the High Street trade. Particularly damaging was the last minute shut down before Christmas when, like many, Harrison & Simmonds had stocked up, in their case with gifts “for the man who has everything” which have been left on the shelves.

“The Government aid barely covers fixed costs and although we to sell in the UK on eBay and we do local click or phone and collect, there are differences in what we sell in the shop compared to online,” added Matthew,

“We are trying to help our regular customers by making some deliveries but if we hadn’t had an established internet following then it would have been much more difficult.

“Luckily we have diversified over the last decade and behind our very traditional shop front is actually a business which sells across the world.”

See more about Harrison & Simmonds at https://www.h-s.co.uk/


Event in Bedford Town Centre

Matthew’s mysteries reach New York

 - Sherlock stories serialised

Bedfordshire author Matthew Simmonds has seen his Sherlock Holmes stories promoted in the New York Times*.

He has written three instalment mysteries under dearholmes.com where subscribers receive a letter each month giving clues to a Sherlock-style puzzle. 


“It’s been a real challenge writing the stories in such a way that each letter they receive gives them enough information but not all the answers. They’re great fun for the subscribers who enjoy getting old style authentic letter each month, rather than just doing quizzes online,” said Matthew who is the fourth generation co-owner of a family tobacconists, which of course sells Sherlock-style pipes.

Matthew is also working on a follow-up to his successful Sherlock Holmes full novel The Pigtail Twist, on sale online (and when open, via the family shop at 80 High Street, Bedford).

The Pigtail Twist is set in Bedfordshire and makes a great gift of for fans of the Conan Doyle character.

Writing “new” Sherlock Holmes mysteries is a business which has a global reach. 

The super sleuth remains ever popular. A translation of The Pigtail Twist is now on sale in Italy in the forms of bright yellow book forms which will be easily recognised by those who have travelled there.

Buy from Amazon or the New York Times.

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