Tuesday 10 January 2012

death of a local bookshop

I have several hats, though most of them are berets.

One of them is the hat of an itinerant book seller.

Which is a beret, since you asked.

I put it on on Saturday, and threw a pile of books and cards into the Moggy. Deb piled in with her promo packs for Communion, her rather fine poetry collection. And her poetry book hat, which on this occasion was an enviable knitted affair with a vague air of Middle Earth about it. And off we went, over the Avonmouth Bridge to Clevedon.

"I really want to take some pics in Seeley's", I said as we trundled past Easton in Gordano. "It's everything a local bookshop should be, which means it's not long for this world. Books, stationery, art materials, good local section, nice people. And Mr Seeley perched in his office up the stairs at the back."

"And the Fontana book stand", said Deb. "It's so Seventies! I really want that stand."

"The Galt one's my fave," I said; "Pure 60s.  ....I'll try and pluck up courage to ask if I can take pictures today."

We were a fortnight late. Seeley's had closed for ever, on Christmas Eve. We stared despondently through the windows at the debris of the last fifty years or so, revealed by the ripping out of the shelves; the two bob coin on the counter, the Empire Produce mango chutney crate with the note advising that 'Phil is having this'.


  1. yet another one goes.

    As does the source of hours of delight. (and my back up employment was always bookshops as well)

  2. Just back from a jaunt to St Andrews which until little more than a decade ago was almost all locally owned stores. Now it could be anywhere, the bookstores were some of the first to go. Now that the Art Centre has been closed down because the university stopped the lease, even though they had no other use for the space, we hardly ever go now...

    University town without bookstores, interesting concept...

  3. What a shame. Loving independent stores, I try to use them but like many am reigning in my purse right now. (Feeling guilty about buying on line from Amazon now instead of the little shop in Bath).

    Maybe, in years to come, you could open something similar to that lost yourself?

  4. Such a shame. I liked that shop and the books they used to sell.

    And the smell.

  5. Dom and J-M were talking about their visit to Bristol 18 months ago at Christmas. Especially a bookshop that had caught their imaginations, I hope that it wasn't this one. It's sad to see real shops go.

  6. ...It was the Oxfam bookshop

  7. I have started making a point of buying or ordering books (some books, at least) from my local indy bookshop, because they need support and they're trying hard - book events, reading groups, etc- which seems to be the way forward. Bath seems quite fortunate in having two good bookshops, doesn't it, Bella¬? (Though Toppings wanted me to discount the books I was representing, rather more than I am used to, hrumph...)
    I was in that Oxfam bookshop yesterday, Anji- dropping off a pile of books. Seems to be my biggest contribution to charity, buying their books and then taking them back... do you have charity bookshops in France?

  8. The last indie in my little town has long since gone, the pound or two I used to spend on a second hand book during my lunchtime visits were sadly never going to sustain it on my own.