Fortnum and Mason reopens Piccadilly store's food halls

Masked staff at Fortnum and Mason signal the future of shopping as world-famous Piccadilly department store reopens its food halls

  • The company reopened its London headquarters’ ground floor on Thursday 
  • It opened from 11am to 7pm and in-store bars and restaurants were shut
  • Fortnum plans to open the first floor on May 28 its St Pancras store on May 26

Fortnum and Mason reopened its doors at its Piccadilly flagship venue as staff wore masks and took social distancing measures.

The upmarket London department store opened its main food floors including the basement food hall on Thursday.

It opened from 11am to 7pm and in-store bars and restaurants were shut in line with lockdown rules.

The company plans to open the first floor of the store on May 28 and the second and third floors on June 1.

Fortnum and Mason reopened the foodhalls of its world famous Picadilly department store in London on Thursday as staff wear face masks

Commercial director Lucy Williams told suppliers that the retailer laid out ‘rigorous controls to ensure both our teams’ and our customers’ safety’

Staff also wear personal protective equipment visors as the public are welcomed back into the store

Commercial director Lucy Williams told suppliers that the store laid out ‘rigorous controls to ensure both our teams’ and our customers’ safety’.

It has sent guidelines to suppliers on ensuring health and safety when making deliveries direct to the shop. 

Chief executive Ewan Venters celebrated the store’s reopening on Thursday.

He said: ‘We’ve been around for 312 years and we are going nowhere, other than getting back to business and serving our customers better than ever before.’ 

Fortnum and Mason has sent guidelines to suppliers on ensuring health and safety when making deliveries direct to the shop

A doorman is quizzed by people about his face shield as he stands outside the main entrance of the store

Chief executive Ewan Venters says ‘we’ve been around for 312 years and we are going nowhere, other than getting back to business and serving our customers better than ever before’

The store’s headquarters at 181 Piccadilly was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason.

It also has stores at St Pancras Rail Station, which it says it aims to open on May 26, and Heathrow Airport.

An employee wearing personal protective equipment

The company’s reputation was built on supplying quality food as a grocery store and it saw rapid growth throughout the Victorian era leading to worldwide fame.

William Fortnum was a footman for Queen Anne and convinced his landlord Hugh Mason to open the store with him. 

During the Napoleonic Wars it supplied died fruit, spices and other preserves to British officers. 

In the Victorian era it was frequently called upon to provide food for prestigious court functions.

The company also claims to have founded the scotch egg in 1738. 

Now, the store has several other departments outside of food, as well as restaurants and cafés, which remain closed for the time being.

Its partial reopening comes after Selfridge’s opened its food hall on Oxford Street earlier this month.

Selfridges was one of the first UK retailers to temporarily close its stores before the Government introduced a nationwide lockdown.  

Food director Michael Weber said: ‘We are pleased to be reopening the doors to our food hall and to begin serving our local community once again.

‘We are working hard to ensure our customers and our team members are met with a secure and welcoming environment, including a few Selfridges experiences to bring a little brightness to everyone’s day.’

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Drink-drive footballer Mason Bennett in new Derby County shame

Derby County drink-drive footballer Mason Bennett in fresh controversy as he calls for their Pride Park stadium to ‘f***ing burn’ in leaked video that has infuriated fans

  • Mason Bennett has left Derby fans furious after a social media video was leaked
  • While filming himself going past Pride Park, he was heard saying ‘f***ing burn’
  • Bennett was involved in a drink drive car crash with three team-mates last year
  • Tom Lawrence’s vehicle collided with Bennett’s on the way back from a night out
  • Richard Keogh was left with a knee injury and a young player was involved too

Derby County forward Mason Bennett has apologised after a video appeared on social media featuring an obscenity apparently shouted in the direction of Pride Park.

In the film, a voice is heard saying ‘F***ing burn. F***ing burn’ over an image of Derby’s home ground. Bennett said on his Twitter account that the video is ‘a private joke’. The Championship club are not commenting at this time. 

Bennett, who was in the middle of a loan spell at Millwall when the coronavirus pandemic halted football in England’s top-four divisions, was involved in a drunken car crash back in September 2019 with Derby team-mates Tom Lawrence, Richard Keogh and an 18-year-old academy player. 

A leaked Snapchat video showed Mason Bennett telling Derby’s Pride Park to ‘f***ing burn’

Bennett says it was meant to be a private message but it has made its way onto social media

Bennett was involved in a drunken car crash with three Derby team-mates back in September

Bennett and three Derby team-mates were involved in a drunken car crash late last year 

Ireland international Keogh, 33, was in the back seat of Lawrence’s car when it collided with the rear of Bennett’s and then struck a lamp post after they drove home from a team bonding evening at The Joiners Arms pub in Quarndon. 

Lawrence, the Wales forward, and team-mate Bennett were fined, banned from driving for two years and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid for their part in the car crash, which happened on the A6.

The pair appeared in court on October 15, 2019 after being charged with drink driving. 

Derby also fined Lawrence and Bennett six weeks’ wages each while Keogh was sacked by Derby in the aftermath.  

Keogh departed Pride Park in October when he decided not to accept the offer of a vastly reduced salary for the remainder of his £1.3million-a-year contract, which was due to expire at the end of next season.  

But now Bennett has caused more controversy after cursing at the club’s famous stadium while he was filming it from a moving vehicle. 

After the video was made public on Twitter, Bennett wrote: ‘The video that’s come out was a private joke, didn’t mean any harm to the derby fans.

‘The club has been great with me and will always be greatful (sic). I apologise if I’ve offended anyone. There is a picture of my good friend shinz and it was a joke to him.’ 

Bennett pictured arriving at Derby Magistrates’ Court on October 15, 2019 for a hearing

Richard Keogh was found by emergency services in the backseat of Lawrence’s Range Rover

Lawrence’s car crashed into Bennett’s before the duo fled the scene after hitting a lamp post

Bennett’s current contract with the Rams expires at the end of next month. Since linking up with former Derby boss Gary Rowett at Millwall, he has made four appearances without scoring. 

In the days after last year’s crash, footage emerged of Bennett downing a pint and then being sick in a pub toilet hours before he and Lawrence crashed their cars and then briefly fled. 

The court heard Bennet had a Jagerbomb which made him feel ‘sick’ and that Lawrence had become ‘alcohol dependent’ after his mother died in May. 

Lawrence, 25, provided a sample of 58 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millimetres of breath while Bennett, 23, blew 64 microgrammes per 100 millimetres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg. 

Derby told Sportsmail they will not be making a comment at this time.

Bennett has been on loan at Millwall since January but has failed to score or provide an assist

Fans have been quick to lash out at Bennett on social media, with one supporter describing him as ‘thick’.

@KeriWalton_ wrote: ‘Mason Bennett has always been incredibly thick. He just continues to prove that time and time again. Sooner he’s gone permanently the better’. 

@teachingparks added: ‘Why would Mason Bennett film that? Then why would he think it’s a good idea to post it online? #dcfc I also hope his journey was essential’.

Another Derby fan was furious at Bennett for abusing the loyalty shown towards him by the club. 

@Gallagherlad95 tweeted: ‘Derby sacked a man who’d been a great captain and leader for them after he was nearly killed by 2 idiots who they stuck by. Mason Bennett is a moron, but got very little sympathy for the people at the club who made that decision.’ 

@bunts_sam posted: ‘The club that’s supported mason Bennett through countless injuries and a drink driving fiasco, and he still doesn’t learn his lesson. Thick springs to mind…’. 

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