[…] I served a term of three years from the beginning of 1910 till the beginning of 1913. During that time I received board and lodging but no cash salary. My father provided me with money for clothes and personal spending. The premiums I made were always cancelled out by fines. About 1912 the premiums were abolished and periodical bonuses were given. Apprentices did not participate in this so my account was always well overdrawn. About a month before the end of my three years my overdrawn account was graciously cancelled out. I was given a special gift of 15/-, I think it was, and I was pressed to stay on at a very different salary.
I did quite well
As far as work was concerned I did quite well. When 18 years old the Buyer asked for me to be made first sales in the Furnishing Dept which included Soft Furnishing, Carpets and Linoleums. Several experienced first sales had not been satisfactory and sales had declined. An apprentice who was a first sales was something new but it worked well. We got the trade going well and in addition secured much more outside work supplying and fitting floor coverings, curtains and blinds. As part of my job was to manage the workshop and give estimates I remember that the Head Fitter, a very reliable and capable man, earned 6d an hour. The Seamstresses employed were out-workers employed at piece or agreed rates.
My present business no longer includes retail distribution but I am still interested in reading the John Lewis Partnership Gazette. Not once, since before the 1914/18 War have I visited Trewin Bros., a business I knew very well indeed. I should like you pay a visit again sometime if the Management would permit me to do so.
Arthur N Butler