Sir Bernard Miller

Sir Bernard Miller, c.1960s

OB Miller graduated from Jesus College, Oxford with a First in History.  He was presented with the Stanhope Prize for history for his work on Robert Owen and early trade unionism.

He was interviewed by John Spedan Lewis and joined the Partnership, on 12 September 1927, as a graduate learner.  His first assignment was in the silk department at John Lewis Oxford Street.  He described the next five years as a “a very confused period in my mind, in which I moved from job to job”.

As personal assistant to the Spedan Lewis, Miller witnessed, first hand, the Parntership’s move from private to public company, its expansion into branch trading and worked on the Partnership’s first constitution.

He served the Partnership as Financial Adviser and three terms as General Inspector.  In 1950 he was named as successor to the first Chairman, Spedan Lewis, becoming First Vice Chairman then Deputy Chairman and finally Chairman in 1955 on the retirement of John Spedan Lewis.

Throughout his life he held many public appointments, including the following

  • Chairman of the Retail Distribution Association 1953
  • Member of the Council and Chairman of the Finance and Administrative Committee, Council of Industrial Design 1957-1966
  • Member of the Monopolies Commission 1961-1970
  • Member of the Economic Development Committee for Distributive Trades 1964-1971
  • Chairman of the Glyndebourne Festival Trust 1964-69
  • Member of the Prime Minister’s Productivity Conference 1967
  • Member of the National Libraries Commission 1968-1969
  • Treasurer then Pro Chancellor of Southampton University 1983.

He was knighted in 1967 and retired to Leckford in 1972, but continued his Partnership involvement as Chairman of Leckford Estate until 1977.

Sir Bernard died in 2003 at the age of 98.

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