A VILLAGE tailor that has made outfits for royalty, film stars and American pilots during World War II is celebrating 150 years in business. Four generations of the Abington family have provided professional, quality tailoring for men from the family s sh

A VILLAGE tailor that has made outfits for royalty, film stars and American pilots during World War II is celebrating 150 years in business.

Four generations of the Abington family have provided professional, quality tailoring for men from the family's shop in East Street, Kimbolton. Founded by Edwin Ebenezer Abington, the business relocated from London to Kimbolton in 1858 where it remains to this day.

In the 1850s, tailors sat cross-legged on the floor and stitched everything by hand. Edwin quickly gained a reputation as an excellent cutter and coat-maker, and one of his first orders was for a riding habit for the Duchess of Manchester at Kimbolton Castle.

One man was employed at the shop solely for making liveries for the servants in large country houses, including those of the Duke of Manchester.

Edwin had 10 children, two of whom continued in the family business, Edwin Joseph and Albert Stafford, even though Edwin Ebenezer remained in the business for 55 years until he died in 1924. Edwin Joseph's high reputation for making riding breeches soon spread and orders came from all over the country.

William Abington and Arthur Abington, grandsons of Edwin Ebenezer and sons of Edwin Joseph helped in the shop as boys when caps were most popular, selling at 3/6 and 4/6 each. When they left Kimbolton School in 1919, they joined the family trade.

With business booming, a new workshop was built in Kimbolton and another premise was purchased at 27 High Street, Rushden.

Notable customers of the shop include film star Clark Gable and the Duchess of Gloucester, who had an outfit made in 1944 for Prince William of Gloucester.

The Kimbolton shop took several orders from USAF pilots stationed at the nearby air base. But, as well as bringing customers, the base also brought its own dangers when in 1944 a bomber crashed nearby and exploding bombs on board blew out the shop's workshop windows.

On the centenary of the company in 1958 there were 30 people working for Abingtons.

Richard Abington took over the shop in 1971 and today runs it with his wife Karen.

Richard trained for his position by completing a course at the Tailor and Cutting Academy in Gerrard Street, London.

"We are believed to be the second oldest family-run business in Huntingdonshire and the oldest in Kimbolton," he told The Hunts Post. "Over the last 150 years we have forged a reputation built on quality tailoring and menswear.

"Our stock has evolved over the years to keep up with demand. Hand tailoring dominated the shop until 1972 when the trends changed to off-the-peg suits and more casual wear and wedding attire. People come to us for that extra little bit of service, and with 150 years of expertise we can help people find their ideal suit and have it tailored perfectly.