John Lewis is 150 years old, and they have a small exhibition at the Oxford Street store called Stories of a Shopkeeper, which I went to.
For overseas folk, John Lewis is a department store – one which I think of as reliable, where I go to buy pillows, towels and cookware. Don’t get me wrong. Being reliable is an oft under-appreciated quality and they have an excellent online shop.
Stories of a Shopkeeper is on the third floor. Without giving away too much, it’s a little exhibition about the history of the store, its unique employee ownership structure (they have holiday houses for their employees to use !), the archive fabrics that they’ve revitalised for the 150th , and how shopping habits have changed over the last century-plus. You can watch a tv which plays only when you smile !
They’ve also opened up their roof garden. I went up in the hope of having a chicken salad lunch on the lawn, but alas a seated lunch is not served. There is a juice bar and sandwiches but I didn’t fancy either. On the website, there are ticketed dining events on the roof garden, where proceeds go to charity. A lot of days are already sold out.
It didn’t escape my notice that to get to the exhibition and the roof garden required me to walk through almost the entire store. This must have been done by design. I have probably never been up higher than the 2nd floor. Plus, there is a lot of 150th birthday merchandise displayed. I’m quite pleased that I didn’t buy anything. I’m in a de-cluttering phase … long may it last !
~ Spotted Cow