Edinburgh Working Partners' Memories of John Lewis


Sarah Jane Milne – Selling Assistant in Menswear at John Lewis Edinburgh.


Iain Phillips – Customer Support Assistant at John Lewis Edinburgh.

The Interview

On 6th July 2015 Sarah Jane met with Iain to talk about her time working at John Lewis.

Sarah Jane started in John Lewis Oxford Street in 1988. She has worked in Peter Jones (Sloane Square, London), and is now in John Lewis Edinburgh as a Sales Assistant in the Menswear department.

Sarah Jane talks about how she started working in John Lewis with vivid memories of the business then and how it has changed. She shares her memories of the changes in the Hats department and recalls the difficult time of serving customers who were attending the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Sarah Jane explains the challenges and benefits of her moves to a Section Manager role in Peter Jones She details the different departments she has worked in John Lewis Edinburgh and the challenges those moves entailed.

At the time of interview there was a planned demolition and rebuild of the St James Centre at which the John Lewis Edinburgh branch based. Sarah Jane shares her aspirations for the refitted branch.

Sarah Jane discusses what she did during her six months leave in 2013/14 after 25 years service in the Partnership. She shares advice for Partners who are still to take their long leave.

Length of recording: 35 min.

About the Oral History Project in John Lewis Edinburgh

Iain secured a Golden Jubilee Secondment at the Lothian Health Services Archive in spring 2015. He setup an oral history project at that archive to add recordings to the HIV/AIDS collections there. During that time he saw how important recording oral histories were to sharing people’s stories for use both now and for listeners and researchers in the future.

In 2015 Iain invited working Partners who had taken their six months leave after 25 years service in the Partnership to share their stories in recorded conversations. John Lewis Edinburgh celebrated its 60th year in 2013 so there were many Partners who have taken their long leave to chose from. Iain has interviewed a sample of those Partners.

Support was provided by the Edinburgh Managing Director, Barry Blamire, and the John Lewis Archive team at the John Lewis Partnership Heritage Centre who provided the recording equipment and advice for this project.

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