John Lewis to mark its 150th anniversary with Victorian interactive exhibition

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John Lewis is to mark its 150th anniversary with a celebration of the company’s growth from a humble draper’s shop to a £4bn international business.

The department store’s 
Oxford Street flagship will host the focus of the commemorations - an interactive exhibition where visitors will walk the 
cobbled streets of Victorian London leading to the original draper’s shop that opened on May 2 1864.

The group’s stores in Sheffield and York will also play host to anniversary celebrations.

The exhibition will feature a replica of the office where John Lewis’s son, John Spedan Lewis, implemented his plans to turn the company into a partnership making all its employees co-owners - despite his father’s misgivings.

An installation will tell the story of how a Second World War bomb threatened the future of the company while another will explain the “craft of shopkeeping”, an “obsession” of Mr John Lewis, according to the firm’s archivist Judy Faraday.

A number of brands such as Silver Cross, Dualit, Kenwood and Barbour and designers including Orla Kiely, Alice Temperley, Ted Baker and Lucienne Day have produced exclusive products for the event featuring heritage colours and fabrics.

The retailer is also working on a 150th anniversary television advert to kick off the celebrations.

Andy Thorburn of EMIS

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