A few weeks ago I noticed this Tweet from Ellee in my Twitter feed:
“I’m in the most extraordinary bookshop I have ever visited, sipping coffee in front of a welcoming fire .”
Before I even clicked on the link I knew exactly where she was, even though it is far away from her home. It is one of my favourite bookshops too.
The book shop is situated in what was once a Victorian railway station designed by William Bell in 1887. It is one of largest second hand book shops in the UK.
It is also the place where the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster of war time propaganda was rediscovered. I am sure that people in the UK are familiar with the slogan and its many spin offs.
You can hear all about the story of the poster and the other war time messages on this video.
The tweet also reminded me of another occasion when I talked about the bookshop…
Richard had just set up a blog promoting the best independent bookshops in Britain and had asked for reader’s contributions to add to the blog. I thought Barter Books was the perfect place to be included so I emailed him my thoughts on the bookshop.
He posted my thoughts as follows:
Yesterday I decided I needed to be away from the Mac, twelve days on the run staring at the screen is not good. What better a thing to do than go and visit a bookshop, so I decided to pack up some books that were OTR and head for Alnwick in Northumberland; it’s the home of Barter Books, Britain’s biggest second hand book shop. At about 3.15 yesterday afternoon I was standing in line ready to pay for the books I had found during my couple of idyllic hours of browsing. Two were books I had been looking for – two volumes of Rupert Hart-Davis and George Lyttelton’s letters to each other; they were the paperback editions that each contained two volumes – so all I need now to find are volumes 5 & 6. I also got several books that I didn’t know I wanted.
I deliberately didn’t take my mobile with me so I could avoid the temptation to check my emails or any other such unnecessary Saturday act. When I got home there was an email from Cherie.
“I discovered this wonderful second hand bookshop a couple of years ago when I was on holiday. It is situated in an old Victorian railway station, which gives it a lot of character. There is a huge selection of books, which are laid out in a logical sequence; there is even a map to help you find your way round easily.
To add to the enjoyment, it has a waiting room where people can sit down to read, drink coffee and in wintertime enjoy open fires. To cater for families it even has a children’s room with toys, so the adults can enjoy browsing the books uninterrupted.”
Synchronicity works in strange and mysterious ways 😉