Barter Book Shop Alnwick

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 26th October 2013


I apologize for leaving it so late to bring you the promised Blogs and having done so I won’t write at such length about all the lovely places my friend and I visited in Northumberland.

Long ago, I’d heard about the Station/Barter Bookshop at Alnwick but nothing prepared me for the delights of this wonderful place. It is an old Victorian Railway Station which has been modified into a massive Bookshop utilizing all the available Waiting Rooms, Ticket Office etc which are used as The Buffet, the Coffee Shop and so on and so forth. The Loos, although tarted up somewhat, are the original station loos.

Everywhere there are nooks and crannies filled with sofas and squishy chairs into which you sink to leaf through possible purchases.

I read they have so many books brought in to them that one is only allowed a bag or a box so before I left home, I picked out some books I’ll not read again. I’ve given hundreds of books to Charity shops over the years but can never resist buying new ones so to be able to do a little Barter seemed an appetising idea.

The station is so attractive and still has it’s original wrought iron work and for some unaccountable reason there’s a model railway whizzing around over your heads.

Sue and I had the best bowl of bean soup I’ve ever tasted in my life whilst we waited for my books to be assessed. I was in for a lovely surprise – you can take a larger sum if it is all Barter and a lesser sum if you want cash and part barter. If I lived locally I’d have taken a total Barter but as I’m not likely to go there again till next Spring, I took half and half.

We spent hours just browsing and though they didn’t have any of René’s books nor any about the Duvelleroy Fan Business (set up by his Gt.Gt. Grandfather) the charming manager found me a Huguenot book in their Warehouse. It was actually a novel written in 1856 but it encapsulates the persecution of the Huguenots and I couldn’t believe it when I read that the author had briefly lived in the village where I live now and that he knew the Iron Duke, Wellington who was Warden of the Cinque Ports. The book was not inexpensive but the price was covered by my Barter money and it is a little treasure with the marbled back and front covers and the paper thin pages.

We tore ourselves away and travelled to where we were going to stay for the night.

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