The first DRESSWEAR HIRE FIRM was Moss Bros of Covent Garden founded as a second-hand clothes shop by Moses Moss in 1860. The hiring service began almost by accident in 1897 to accommodate a single customer, one Charles Ponds, an ex-stockbroker and amateur vocalist who had come to the end of his monetary resources. Ponds had decided to turn his talent for comedy monologues to financial gain, but on obtaining his first professional engagement to entertain at an evening soiree, he found himself in need of a tail-coat, his own having been pawned long before. He approached Alfred Moss, who as Moses’s eldest son had inherited the business, and asked for the loan of a dress suit. Moss obliged not only on this, but on several subsequent occasions when Ponds’s services were in demand for an after-dinner diversion. At first no question of a fee was raised, certainly not by Ponds, but after a while his benefactor decided it was time to put the arrangement on a regular business footing and a hiring fee of 7 s 6 d was agreed. As Ponds prospered in his new profession, Alfred Moss suggested he might find it more economic to buy the suit of clothes he was wearing so regularly. The entertainer declined, saying that he saw no point in having to look after it himself when he could have it from Moss Bros in first-class condition, neatly cleaned and pressed, whenever he needed it. From this informal beginning, the Moss Bros clothes-hire service expanded to include not only morning dress and evening wear, but also wedding dresses, ball gowns. court dress, Coronation robes, ski clothes and theatrical costumes.