Tuesday, 13 May 2014

John Lewis - 150 Years

John Lewis is a British institution. Before Ikea invaded the country, it was always the place you would go to if you needed anything for your home. Well this year it is celebrating it's 150th year. The flagship store on Oxford Street was opened by John Lewis in 1864 as a drapers. As part of their celebrations, the company has recreated the original shop on the 3rd floor of their Oxford street store. 
Last week I went along to see what it was like.

A reproduction of the original shop front.

Children's clothes in the shop window

Inside the shop

An accounts book from c.1920

After the reproduction of the shop, there was an exhibition about the company's history.

The account book for the shop's first bank account.

A photo of the shop in the early 20th century

One of the first shops that John Lewis bought, when his business started to grow, was a department store called Peter Jones. Today it is still owned by John Lewis, and remains the only department store, that the company has taken over, to keep its original name. Though its name hasn't changed the actual shop has changed beyond recognition.

The original Peter Jones Shop. It had a pub on the ground floor.

The shop today.

When John Lewis died the company was inherited by his son John Sepdan Lewis. John Spedan Lewis was the one who turned the company into a partnership. Through his new scheme every employee owned shares in the company, so shared in its profits. The company is still run this way today.

John Spedan Lewis's desk.

The recreation of the view from a shop window during the 19th century.

This typewriter was on John Spedan Lewis's desk but I am not sure if it was actually his or just one from the same era.

Some of the products which the shop has sold in the past

more products

This is a reproduction of a fabric that was used on some of the furnishings on the Titanic. At one point John Lewis owned the company that made the material.

The supermarket Waitrose is also part of John Lewis.

This is a photo of the original Waitrose before it was bought out buy John Lewis

During WWII the Oxford street shop was bombed. This money tin was found in the wreckage, with the money melted to the bottom!

The rest of the exhibition was about the late 20th Century, today and the future, which didn't interest me as much, so I didn't take any photos :).

The exhibition was very interesting and definitely worth a visit if you are in the vicinity of the Oxford Street shop.