Mr J Webster

Photo:Advertisement for Waitrose delivery service 1930s

Advertisement for Waitrose delivery service 1930s

John Lewis Partnership archives

Managing Director, Waitrose 1940-1950

By Linda Moroney

Mr J Webster, known as 'Uncle Joe' came to the Partnership in 1937, a grocer since the age of 14, he had been running the London region of the Co-op Stores. His first appointment was that of Director of Selling and he became Chairman of Waitrose on 1st August 1939.

On 18th February 1947 the buying of foodstuffs was centrally organised under the Directorship of Mr Webster as Managing Director, Waitrose. On the 19th April 1949, Mr Webster was made Principal Director of Buying Food and later, the Chairman wrote a Gazette Notice (The Food Trade) in which he explained a further change in the organisation of the Food Trade in the Partnership under which Mr Webster took the position of Assistant General Inspector (Foods).

Mr Webster's first years in the Partnership were difficult ones, due to rationing, the lack of money and the fact that grocery shops were tiny by modern standards. Waitrose shops at that time were very similar to how they'd been when acquired in 1937. Some sold poultry, some confectionery, four had butchers and two fishmongery. The only consistency in all shops was the fact that they all delivered free via vans, or boys on bicycles, all within a radius of five miles.

Mr Webster retired from the Partnership with effect from 3rd April 1950.

This page was added by Linda Moroney on 25/09/2012.