The Odney Club is the spiritual heart of the John Lewis Partnership, being central to Spedan Lewis’ vision of a company run for the financial and social benefit of its staff.  It is therefore the natural location for its Heritage Centre, using part derelict 17/19th Century Farm Buildings used by him as a Pottery during the Second World War.

FSP worked with the Partnership to develop the brief and consult with the people of Cookham.  The design has had to resolve many, often conflicting issues;-

  • Uses, ranging from the Archive needing high levels of security and climate control; the   Collection of 38,000 textile designs, accessible to researchers but needing some protection; facilities for Partners to learn crafts and arts – in line with Spedan Lewis’ original philosophy and revolving exhibitions explaining the Partnership history and ethos to staff and public.

  • Flooding, irreplaceable Archives and Collections, on an island in the Thames requiring extensive defensive measures.

  • Green Belt

  • Sustainability, including use of cross laminated timber panel structures and Cedar cladding.

  • Conservation, in an area as sensitive and aware as Cookham.

The building is designed to be light and welcoming whilst ensuring environmental protection and security for the Collections; easily read and managed by a small staff, centred on the Archivist; and fit sympathetically into its Cookham context, respecting the scale and form of the original buildings but expressing the additions as clear modern designs.  One of the Charles Voysey textile patterns has been cut into the timber cladding and used as manifestation on the glazing to establish a clear link between the new building and its function.


  • Cookham Society’s 2014 Design Award
  • Central LABC: Winner, Best Change of Use of an Existing Building or Conversion 2014
  • Central LABC: Winner, Best Small Commercial Building 2014
  • Civic Trust Regional Finalist 2014
  • Short listed for the AJ RetroFit Award 2014

John Lewis