Victoria Glendinning - Family Business

In conversation with Nicola Upson

Victoria Glendinning - Family Business





Friday 5 November, 2021

St Mary's Church, Petworth, GU28 0AD

7.30pm - 8.30pm

Adults £12 / 18 and under £5 / Online £5

  • To buy a ticket to come in person to St Mary's, click here
  • To book a ticket to watch online* click here
  • To buy a festival pass** to watch all our streamed events online click here

The award-winning author and biographer Victoria Glendinning has produced a charming biography of the first John Lewis and how he changed the face of the British high street.

John Lewis’ father died in a Somerset workhouse, orphaning him at the age of seven. Raised by an aunt, he worked as an apprentice to a local draper from the age of fourteen, slowly earning enough to open his own small shop – and then expand.

Glendinning’s biography captures how Lewis and his brother rose up to change the business world, covering the immense falling-out between generations, the passionate advocacy for the concept of Partnership, the social and political activity of Oxford Street. This is a warm and colourful history of the family behind the iconic brand, and for anyone interested in the foundation of the British high street - and how it has evolved from the nineteenth century to today.

Victoria Glendinning’s biographies include Portait of a Writer, Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West (winner of the Whitbread Prize for Biography), Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn Among Lions (winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and the James Tait Black Prize), Anthony Trollope (another Whitbread Prize for Biography), and Jonathan Swift. Victoria was awarded a CBE in 1998.

On booking an online ticket via the Petworth Festival’s third-party booking site Ticketsolve (, you will be sent a link in your confirmation email which will take you to the online event. Events may either be watched ‘live’, as they happen, or from 24 hours after the event time in the brochure. Please note, it is not possible to pause or rewind events being watched live. Tickets are valid for one viewing only, either of the live streamed event or the recording. Events will be available to view online via the website until midnight on Sunday 28 November. Online viewing tickets may be purchased until this date.

All online events £45. The full Festival Online Pass is like a season ticket and can only be used by the holder. The full Festival Pass holder will receive a link which will take them to a page where they can view each individual online event once (either ‘live’ or recorded).