The History of Leckford Estate

Leckford Estate was purchased as a private estate by John Spedan Lewis of Oxford Street in 1929; a visionary retailer with extensive knowledge of botany, entomology and aquatic life who later founded the John Lewis Partnership.

Spedan invested into the estate heavily during his lifetime, particularly in housing, farming mechanisation, partner welfare and the environment. The Estate stands as a legacy to Spedan Lewis’ devotion to experimentation, partner happiness and the natural environment. Over the last 90 years, our involvement is in the heart of the Test Valley and is deeply connected with our history.

About Leckford Estate's History; a Timeline

1929 - Spedan Lewis brought Leckford Estate. The original estate was c.1800 acres and Spedan's home was Leckford Abbess, which later became known as Leckford Abbas.

1930s - Improvement was carried out on the Estate, this included the development of sustainable farming operations. Later, a bird farm was established and the first copy of the Leckford Gazette was published.

1937 - The first Leckford camp was introduced (a facility for retail working partners to holiday). This holiday provision remains on the Estate, even today.

1940s - The Estate expanded into Longstock. Spedan Lewis moved from Leckford to Longstock House and spent much of his time improving the Water Gardens. The farm continued to produce food for the Waitrose shops and a substantial part of the Leckford side of the estate was commandeered as an airfield for the War effort.

1946 - The Estate became integrated into the partnership, and the staff of Leckford Estate became Partners and the Leckford Branch Council was established.

1955 - Spedan Lewis retires and moves into a small house on the Estate. The farm continues to develop the types of produce grown on the estate.

2001 - The Leckford Estate becomes part of the Waitrose trading division and officially becomes the Waitrose Farm.

Leckford Estate Heritage

For over 90 years we have been farming on Leckford land, and are proud of our heritage. We have adapted and modernised our farming practices to ensure the produce we supply to Waitrose & Partners is of fantastic quality, produced in a sustainable way.

We sell our produce at Leckford but also as ingredients within other Waitrose & Partners products using the Leckford name. The Estate is so much more than a farm; modern Leckford is about celebrating our diversity, ensure we enhance our Waitrose & Partners brand by being the Waitrose & Partners farm and farming ethically.

The legacy of John Spedan Lewis’ vision continues to live on at Leckford Estate from the foundation that he built in the John Spedan Lewis Trust.