The establishment and growth of Cavendish Textiles

Photo:A Cavendish Textiles buying agency memo from 1944

A Cavendish Textiles buying agency memo from 1944

Photo:A Cavenshish Textiles wartime party invitation, 1939-1945

A Cavenshish Textiles wartime party invitation, 1939-1945


By Jonathan Blatchford

80 splendid years

After 80 years as a trading department within the John Lewis Partnership, Cavendish Textiles sadly closed its doors in 2011. For the entire duration, it had played a special part in John Lewis’ history, catapulting the Partnership to the forefront of home textiles.


Cavendish Textiles arose from the idea that the Partnership should not only be able to create and design fabrics that customers were unable to buy elsewhere, but also through self production and the ability to control each process, the Partnership could streamline supplies and be able to offer exceptional value.

Revolutionary beginnings

The Cavendish Buying Agency (later becoming Cavendish Textiles) was formed in about 1930 by Walter H Halstead who later became the first Head of Cavendish Textiles. It acted as a wholesale company but functioned internally within the business, allowing manufacturers to trade directly with the Partnership. This was revolutionary at the time, for previously, wholesalers had controlled the trade.

Growth in popularity and operations

Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, manufacturers continually looked to Halstead for guidance, and he became a figure of national importance within the textiles industry. By the late 1960’s the operation at Cavendish Textiles had outgrown its original premises. On the 26th January 1970, Cavendish Textiles officially moved into its new home at Clipstone Street.

This page was added by Jonathan Blatchford on 24/09/2014.