Stories of a shopkeeper

Our flagship shop on Oxford Street rightfully sits at the heart of our anniversary celebrations, and we’re delighted to be looking back over the past 150 years at a unique free exhibition to be hosted on the 3rd floor.

From the cobbled streets of Victorian London, you’ll open a door into John Lewis’ past via the draper’s shop where it all began on 2 May 1864. Following a dimly-lit corridor past the original book of the first day’s takings, you’ll find yourself in John Spedan Lewis’ office, the setting for the birth of the Partnership, and will get an insight into the man Spedan was – including his revolutionary idea that all workers should be co-owners and share in the success of
his company.

We’ll tell the story of how a WWII bomb threatened the future of the company, and explain how a passion for the craft of shopkeeping and customer service has guided us ever since.

We’ll recognise the work of many celebrated designers and brands in the exhibition, as well as our own textile mill, Herbert Parkinson, where they’ve produced a bespoke weave that will fill the exhibition floor and run over
the ceiling.

Finally, before you exit the exhibition we’ll provide a glimpse into how we’ll shop, live and look in the future, through a unique collaboration with the Royal College
of Art.

The exhibition runs until 31 August

  • John Spedan Lewis