People and Partners

John Spedan Lewis (1885-1963)

Constance Lynn, John Spedan Lewis's secretary and housekeeper from 1928 to 1961, remembers the Partnership's founder.

Portrait photograph of Miss Constance Lynn 1930
Miss Constance Lynn 1930

“We used to work in London during the week and go to Leckford, Mr Lewis’s country house, at the weekends, still working. It was a seven-day-a-week job. We were sometimes expected to work until midnight and produce the answer at the breakfast table. Hours and weekends were nothing to Mr Lewis. And holidays were, in his own words, ‘plainly inconvenient’. We didn’t get any rest. Occasionally I was allowed a weekend off and went home. We just grabbed what we could.”

Photograph of John Spedan Lewis in 1906
John Spedan Lewis (1906)

“Really, we gave our whole lives to Mr Lewis. I think it was the pure magic of the man. He was an absolute genius, no doubt about that. We could have murdered our boss at times, but most people think like that at some time. And, of course, we had the perks, many perks which most secretaries don’t have, like being taught to ride, taught to drive a car, taken to Switzerland. Even when he took people out to dinner he usually had a secretary with him. So life covered a very large field and I shall be ever grateful for the education I got with him.”

“Looking back on life, you forget the hard times and remember the pleasant ones, but I certainly have had most happy times in the Partnership, times I wouldn’t have missed for anything, and a great deal of pleasure – going abroad with Mr Lewis, sharing in all the good things as well as the bad.”