About W.J Bennett Menswear

Founded in 1919 by William "Biffi" Bennett the shop which still caries his name has always been the sort of business most people would refer to as a "Gentleman's Outfitter". Biffi died in 1956 and the business was taken over by David Padgham who worked for Biffi at the time. David had a great "feel" for clothes and his outlook was much more progressive than old Biffiís. As the austere 1950's moved into the 60's clothing revolution the business moved forward with it and was one of the first shops in the south east to stock Levi Jeans and Ben Sherman shirts, not to mention kipper ties. Those of a certain age may remember that the Ben Sherman brand was known as The Sussex Shirt Co in those early days and was based in Brighton.

Current owner Frank May went to work for David in the late 60's and took the business over, originally with John Pope as a partner, in 1980 when David retired. John left in 1992 to pursue other interests and Frank's son Andrew worked part time for the business for some years before joining full time in 2001. He is now the chief buyer and has David's natural "Feel" for the right clothes from the right brands at the right time.

Thus the business has had a natural progression of ownership for almost one hundred years. Throughout that time we have maintained the high standards of style and service which continue to this day.

W J Bennett 99 High Street Rye as it was about 1921W J Bennett 99 High Street Rye as it is in 2010Etching of W J Bennett and owners by Chad Coleman in 1980W J Bennett, Rye Shop Front with Frank and Andrew May 2010 Interior photo of WJ Bennett Menswear Mens Shirts
W J Bennett 99 High Street Rye as it was about 1921