The Sanctuary Bookshop Diary.
Tuesday the 11th August 2020.
Running a largish bookshop single handed raises various logistic problems…the most pressing being...how does one get out to acquire stock? Well...our solution is called “Harold”. Before the Internet c 1990 there was a profession in London of the “Book Runner”.
A runner would record in memory the various "Wants" of all the book dealers and bookshops in his or her orbit…and locate them.
The first necessity is a car and a working knowledge of all Boot Fairs, Charity Shops, Recycling Centers within say a hundred mile radius. Our runner is a gem..especially as he has now learned the ins and outs of book buying. In short, we could not function without him.
Last week..not one, not two, but...three signed Harry Potters!
Thursday 30th July 2020.
We have been open now since Monday 15th June. We are not exactly rushed off our feet, but trade is steady and increasing as summer sets in.
Internet trade has been particularly interesting with a steady rise in sales and inquiries.
We reopen our Booklovers B & B July 15th. Looking back we can only thank the Chancellor Rishi Sunak for his support of small business enterprises and demonstrating political strategy at its most impressive.
Maybe there will be life after coronavirus…we shall see. We wish all our customers well and happy reading.
Wednesday 20th May 2020.
We suppose many of you will have seen the article in yesterday's Time newspaper, repoduced above.
Well it seems we are non-essential. No suprise then for us to record that we have another view.
We sympathise with James Daunt and Waterstones, but that must be the reality we are all up against.
They are setting a very high standard for us all. We wish them well.
Saturday 16th May 2020.
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”.
It’s curious to be sitting here in an empty bookshop, empty of people that is.
I feel surrounded by the ghostly voices of countless writers.This is, as Hesse would say "...a massive treasury of thoughts, experiences, symbols, fantasies and dreams that the past has bequeathed us".
:As Rabindranath Tagore so eloquently put it…
“I hear the countless voices of the human heart flying unseen, from the dim past to the dim unblossomed future.
Not here, Not here. Somewhere far beyond”. It does however open new opportunities. Perhaps to read those volumes that have slipped by for all those years?
But just look at the numbers! Say one read a book a day…that’s 400 in a year of lockdown.
But even that’s only 4000 in a decade...and there’s ten times that number here.
And so it was I came across Douglas Adams and George Burns to share with you.
Douglas (images above) was fascinated by his initials “D.N.A.”. He had a delightful offbeat humour and was concerned with the presumptions of mankind.
Take the humour example above, and then this wonderful riff on the speciesism of mankind below…
“This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.
I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”
And maybe George Burns (1896 – 1996) had the secret of living to one hundred.
Famous American comedian, actor, and writer.
This below is verbatim:
On his 100th Birthday he was interviewed live by Walter Cronkite, anchorman for CBS Television News.
“George..is it true…six cigars a day……?”
“And whisky……half a bottle a day..?
“Yes….yes…..but always with a little soda….”
“And the ladies….?
“Oh Yes….I loved the ladies…always have….”
“George….what do your doctors say about all this….?”
“They’re all dead”.
P.S. Should this rouse anyone's interest then we recommend his biography "Living It Up". W H Allen. 1977.
Or, enjoy this Chat Show!
Monday April 6th 2020.
It’s certainly not every day one gets an email from a “Nubiian Gyrl” (so, welcome Na'im Asra El: above centre).
A Book Order in fact, for our ABE Listing “Morocco as It Is. With an Account of Sir Charles Euan Smith's Recent Mission to Fez”.
It turns out this is a scarce travelogue by Stephen Bonsal (q.v.), and first published by W H Allen in 1893.
Incidentally, we see that we first listed this For Sale Online in February 2012..! So it has taken only eight years to find its rightful owner!
Looking back in our Sanctuary Bookshop Diary, we see that the last time this happened was in May 2016.
This is recorded on our page: http://ex-lib.com/Book-Chats-on-Booklovers-, (scroll down to the extraordinary letter from China).
So, one of the joys of bookselling on the internet, is discovering people who one would never normally meet, each with their own fascinating story.
The real pleasure is that some become “internet friends” and one has the enjoyment of sharing life stories.
Correspondence led to a 2nd find for Na'im. Namely Hugh Millington Stutfield’s 1886 “El Maghreb. A 1200 Miles Ride Through Morocco ” (see above right).
We have been unable to locate an image of this particular author, although there is a published book about him.
However, we had some unexpected success with Stephen Bonsal.
He is the central figure in the photograph above left, taken at the USA-Mexico Commission at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on September 9, 1916.
If anyone can forward an image of Hugh Stutfield, we would be most grateful and give full acknowledgement.
We will post more news as this story develops.
Thursday 19th March 2020
2020 Program: U3A Rare Book Group Meetings: 1st Friday of: April: June: August: October: December.
ALL CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Friday 7th February saw the fifth (or possibly sixth) meeting of the U3A Rare Book Group (image above center). We have about two dozen members now (including three overseas!), and meet on the first Friday of alternate months (see program above). The right formula seems to be emerging at last.
Our next meeting was scheduled for 7.30 pm on Friday April 3rd but is now cancelled, as all other RBG meetings till further notice.
Our Guest Speaker was to have been: Dr Mark Byford. We look forward to another time.
A rare three volume Elzevir imprint was discussed from 1658 (image above, top left). Publii Ovidii Nasonis Operum. Lived: 43 BC to 18 AD.
“The Works of Ovid. The Art of Love, etc".
An unexpected discovery was five pages of neat contemporary manuscript commentary at the rear of Volume 11, but in Latin (see three images above).
This had previously been overlooked. Our colleague and Latin scholar Bijan Omrani is currently attempting a transcription. More on this as it progresses.
We were then shown the remarkable literary achievements of the Marriage Family over four generation, by local RGB member John Marriage.
Thank You one and all.
To explore John's fascinating website, a real visual treat, click here...
Wednesday 15th January 2020
We are just a couple of weeks into the New Year...and there have already been a number of surprises. For a start Christmas sales were well down, but New Years sales were well up, and by enough to make a net gain. Could this be that more people are receiving Christmas gifts in cash and then spending at the first opportunity in the New Year? Gift purchases seem to be higher value items than previous years, but this could just be that the quality of our stock is improving. We have also noted that paintings and artwork are selling well, in particular Lyme Regis harbour scenes by Terence Anton (above left) and Paris scenes (above right) by the American woman artist, Caroline Burnett*, and so this is area we will expand over the coming year.
A remarkable play script was acquired just in the New Year. A “Prompt” copy from 1909. It was immediately acquired by the Houghton Library at Harvard.
We have now written this up in our “Book Chats on Discoveries” page for January 2020.
*Caroline Burnett is reputed to be an American who lived and painted in Paris. She was from the USA and went to Paris in the early part of her career, which was late 19th and early 20th century. She was a member of the Societe des Beaux-Arts and exhibited with the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1898. She was inspired by the scenes surrounding her. Caroline Burnett's paintings use oil as her preferred medium.
She signs herself BURNETT, normally on the bottom righthand corner (see above).
Sunday 29th December 2019
As the year draws to its close, one can look back and take stock of both the highs and the lows. Losing our book colleague Jean Vaupres to retirement after twenty-two years has been a big blow, but we wish him well and no doubt will keep in constant touch over the coming months and years.
Life in the Bulgarian countryside must be calming and peaceful compared to the August crowds in Lyme and the never-ending drama of Brexit.
So, enter and welcome: Jessica Easter, our new assistant.
Our Mail Order Book Club continues to flourish. Now in its second year, the secret seems to be to surprise people with the unexpected.
It’s a fine line...the temptation constantly hovering in the background…to send books one has enjoyed personally. Encouraging Feedback seems to be the key, then one gradually builds up a picture of what ticks all the boxes. We seem to get as much fun choosing and sending them, as members do in receiving them.
One member is in the Australian outback and runs a tiny bookstall, so anything and everything we send seems to delight.
It’s all rather reminiscent of the Buena Vista Social Club, but for books.
Friday 6th December 2019
2019 has seen some remarkable acquisitions.
The 1636 Gerarde’s "Herball" was a high point, as featured in our Diary mailing for November 14th below. Then in September, we were offered some very early books by and about Sir Francis Bacon. We show one of them above left from 1711. The volume was interesting for having what appeared to be a very early or contemporary Bacon pastedown (bookplate?) dedicated to the great author. We show this above centre. Then in late 2018 a 300 page black leatherbound Manuscript Book of Mathematics was uncovered, but only investigated in 2019. Signed in many places “Thomas Blackmore” with an earliest signature date of 1657. It appears to be an exercise book, compiled over several generations of pupils.
Our researches continue. All updates here when we have them.
Note to the reader: There can be many excuses for writing a Book Shop Diary, and sometimes there may even be sufficient and successful reasons...
e.g., a Publication.
However, we offer no excuses, but will give what reasons we have for committing to your screen our day to day highs and lows of a High Street Bookseller.
It's not easy.
Amazon is a predatory competitor, committed to destroying high street bookshop competition, but hopefully, Jeff Bezos (who?) will soon be going into space.
We hope you will all join us in wishing him well.
Thursday 14th of November 2019
Sunday the 27th of October 2019
Friday 8th November saw the fourth meeting of the U3A Rare Book Group (left image above). And what fun was to be had. A collection of rare Jacobean & Elizabethan Volumes were examined, including John Gerarde's "Herball" 1636 showing 2766 botanical woodcuts (above center). This copy in superb condition, ex libris Charles Sarolea (q.v.). The high point of the evening? A toast to Steve Blackey (above right)..our member in absenta, somewhere in the Australan outback! Havacracka Stevie!
And Thank You: Paul Starck, Jessica Easter, Valerie McAuley, Della Nash, Richard Malin, Joe Tesoriere, and John Marriage for all your contributions.
P.S. Gerarde's 1636 Herball sold two days later on November 10th. Am rather sad really as it was such a lovely thing.
[For a modern take on this wonderful book see: "Leaves from Gerard's Herball". Marcus Woodward. 1972. Thorsons].
One of the more unexpected aspects of running our Book Club has been the assortment of delightful characters we have met (we say met...but in reality we have not met any. It's just that through the medium of emails and feedback, we are delighted to be on Christian name terms with all of them).
The Club, now in its third year, has thrown up some unusual problems (not to speak of unusual characters).
The Club economics were predicated on a 2 kg parcel, with a £3.00 second class next day UK mailing. This allowed us an average of £27 of good books (shelf price) per mailing, leaving a small profit margin for us from the annual subscription. So far so good. But what to do for our member in the deepest Australian outback (let’s call him Steve)? Here the economics become inverted. £27 per mailing, ten week surface delivery, leaving £3.00 for the books!
The solution has proved unexpected, yet mutually gratifying all round.
In the deep recesses of most antiquarian book stores are volumes that have lain dormant for decades...clearly valuable to that someone who never arrives!
So…after thirty years with no takers, we found:
Victorian occasional books…
A 200 page disbound French farm machinery catalogue, mid nineteenth century, with our purchase date code of 1980….
A Working Man’s School Account Book from the 1890's..with handwritten Committee Minutes faithfully recorded over five years.
Past issues of Book & Magazine collector, not to mention long discarded single topic bookdealers catalogues.
All of these produced ecstatic responses..!
(One can see a business opportunity here!)
And then there is the correspondence...we quote from some verbatim below...
"Woohoo! It's THEN... AGAIN! Seriously, man, this is the best thing I've ever signed up for!" (Steve. Somewhere in the Australian outback).
“We have just returned from a 3000 mile journey to find your parcel waiting. We liked the chocolate!” (Nick & Lois).
"I recently finished 84 Charing Cross Road and loved it. It was calming and gentle. Thank you for the crisps, they were delicious!". (Freya. Aged 13).
“Off to the Galapagos next week snorkelling. What can you send...?”. (Steven).
“Your parcel was received with the same delight as the inmates of the various Stalag Luft camps would have greeted their Red Cross parcels!”. (Jeff).
“WOW! JUST WOW! How many different Odd Volumes do you have…?” (Steve).
It has all been great fun, good for the soul and, despite only just about breaking even, the returns in terms of pleasure and goodwill have been immense.
The best cure yet found for existential angst!
3rd October 2019
Westerns are steady sellers throughout the year.
So, imagine our suprise when a 90 volume Zane Grey collection was brought in recently (see above)!
Normally we might have just one or two in paperback, typically in the £2.00 to £4.00 price bracket.
So, at a 6 ft 8 inch shelf run, this is really something special.
Someone must have spent years putting this collection together.
So, it seemed only right to offer this Collection Intact on ABE.com.
1st September 2019
Rescued in the nick of time! A tea chest of Solicitor's documents.
Mid Victorian to c1900.
Land Deeds, Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Rent Books, Mortgage Deeds, and letters by the hundred.
After two weeks only half way through.
Much the dross of everyday life, but then, suddenly, the Rent Book of His Lordships Castle (sic), a clutch of penny red entires (above right), the day to day Account Book of a Victorian Butchers....and so it goes on.
(And Thank You Mike Finch, for all your hard work!).
Here below is the high point of our last week, only the third such request in twenty-two years trading.
5th August 2019
Every now and again the opening inquiry by a customer catches one completely off balance.
And so it came to be this last July 29th.
"Have you any books from the Fifteenth Century?".
This is the very dawn of printing..Incunables and..Incunabula.
What heavenly fun!
What a delightful counterpoint to retailing Jeffrey Archer & Enid Blyton second-hand paperbacks.
The day passed for all, in a haze of excited talk. It will be long remembered!
July 15th 2019
A curious thing happened on Wednesday July 10th. We were returning from a late evening trip to Seaton, when, for just a few moments, the most stunning colour covered the sky in the West. By chance, we had a camera with us. Here above are the untouched images. Above center, just prior, with the Bookshop in the background. To right and left a few moments later. According to folklore, with good Met Office scientific backing, the next day would delight shepherds.
This was indeed the case and we enjoyed a glorious Thursday.
Photo credits: Sean Speer.
28th June 2019
A most remarkable WW2 photo album arrived last month.
Compiled by someone in RAF 6th Squadron and serving in the North African Campaign.
All Originals. Here we have an extensive WW2 Africa Campaign photo album stretching from 1940 to 1945. The collection comprises 260 items as follows. 1. Corner mounted in an album: 190 original B & W photos, each typically 3.5 x 4.5 inches, and 2.5 x 2.5 inches. 2. Twelve photos with detailed information on their rear. 3. 27 B & W loose small photos. 4. 28 B & W loose large photos. 5. 3 Newspaper cuttings. The physical album itself, 20 x 30 cms, is Egyptian, leather and decorated with Pyramids etc and distressed. The Newspaper cuttings relate to: (a) The statue of General Gordon in Khartoum and now in Chobham., (b) The Aircraft Carrier Indomitable., and (c) The Desert Rats and the "Marble Arch" tribute to Mussolini in Agheila. The twelve photos with information give us some clues as follows: Three relate to "Six Squadron Xmas Dinner" in 1942, 1943, and 1944, and one for 6th Squadron 30th Birthday Dinner Egypt 1944. There is then a photo medallion for 6 A.C Squadron Royal Air Force "Oculi Exercitus". There is then a 6 x 4 inch B & W Group photo (see image above left) "C.Flight at Ramleh Palestine 1940. Westland Lysanders A.C SQD". Forty men are then named on the rear (image above left taken in Ramleh). Officers seated in the front row of three rows. Behind the Group Photo (left, top center), one can just make out their Westland Lysander (a modern image of this plane is shown above right for comparison). This is by far the most informative image. The remaining five photos are as follows: "Montgomery and Eisenhower had a bet".,"A Village in the Nile South of Wadi Halja Nov 41"., "Grave of Ft/Sgt Harris Killed in action Mareth Push. March 43"., "Rome '44 Jack Horner, Bert Brazier"., "Italy April '45"., "5th Squadron Xmas Dinner 1943. On the rear eleven signatures including the cryptic line "Happy Xmas to Cpl Lunelberg" (could this be a German P.O.W?).
The 190 album photos have not been disturbed to read any possibly information on their rear.
It is clear the collection was compiled by a serviceman in RAF 6th Squadron, name unknown but possibly deducible.
In one remarkable photo a crashed aeroplane is caught moments after inpact with the aircraft carrier flight deck, the crew scrambling to escape (below left).
Our plane expert Sean Speer suggests the plane is almost definately a Fairy Swordfish (a carrier-born Torpedo Bomber, shown below right for comparison).
The collection merits further research. Weight 1.4 kg. Stock Ref: # 005470.
18th June 2019
National Geographic, formerly The National Geographic Magazine, (above left), is the official magazine of the National Geographic Society.
It has been published continuously since its first issue in 1888, nine months after the Society itself was founded.
As these wonderful magazines are often discarded, we decided some years ago to form a collection and offer them for sale at £1.00 each (back to 1960), and £2.00 each (prior to 1960). We now have well over three thousand. They are all housed in our shop basement room open to the public (see above centre) and in date order, with settees and chairs where customers can relax and browse.
Currently, our earliest issue dates from July 1949 (above left). The war years and prior are particularly difficult to locate.
Some issues are very sought after, due to their remarkable cover images and articles (click through here: above right).
They are slippery to shelve (when in their loose yellow covers we stack them horizontally).
Also, binding in hard covers (in six month runs) is expensive, and so this is one reason they are often discarded.
However, we find there is a steady interest, mainly from people searching for a particular birth date & month, to give as gifts.
Should you have any prior to 1960 and are looking for a good home for them, then please bring them in and we will make an offer.
New! Julia's University Page...
26th May 2019
A super discovery!
William Salter (1804 – 1875) Artist. An Archive.
1. Comprising an Album, gold blocked with the name “Salter” (above center).
2. A list of all the figures in the Salter painting “The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House”.
3. A four page manuscript letter addressed to W. Salter Esq. and signed “J.P.R.”. Discussing “The Trial of Socrates” (above right).
4. A typescript of this letter. N.B. Relates to the Salter painting “The Judgement of Socrates”.
5. A ten page publication by Mr. Salter: “Il Giudizio di Socrate” in Italian, dated 1830. Firenze Tipografia All’Insegna Di Dante (above left).
6. A printed slip “Directions for the Coachman”.
7. A 16 pp booklet offering Proofs and Prints by F G Moon of “The Waterloo Banquet” at 15 guineas each.
The 21 x 25 cms album comprising 46 filled pages and a number of blanks, contains the following:
1. 48 individual contemporary newspaper cuttings relating to W Salter and various paintings of his, including the important work “The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House”. The earliest cutting from The Times is dated May 14th 1837. The last from The Daily Telegraph is dated March 27th 1860.
2. Nineteen sepia tone original photographs of works by W Salter.
3. An original admission ticket with red wax seal “Public Dinner to William Salter, Esq. M.A.F. Dolphin Inn, Honiton. 3rd December 1838 at Four O’Clock. Signed R.B.
4. A page from The Court Journal P 416 announcing the publishing of “Important Engravings of The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House, from a picture by William Salter”. This is contemporaneous with the first appearance of the painting as it states: “Mr Moon…has received from His Grace the Duke of Wellington the Exclusive Privilege of Being Present at the Banquet on Tuesday last, with a View to its Completion”.
We understand this archive was collected and mounted by a member of the Salter family.
14th May 2019
Last autumn we were offered the literary remains of a distant relative of R D Blackmore, author of the famous West Country novel Lorna Doone.
It eventually transpired we had an important and unique collection of R D Blackmore material.
The collection comprises nineteen R D Blackmore related volumes and a packet of c 32 documents, all from the literary remains of an A S G Blackmore, each with the bookplate "Ex Libris Alfred Stanley Gardner Blackmore". "Ad Finem Fidelis". The book collection comprises: (1) Three Lorna Doone volumes (1 - 3) then: (2) Books about R.D. Blackmore (4 - 7). then finally: (3) the collected copies of his remaining novels (8 - 19). Of particular interest is a prize copy of "Lorna Doone", awarded in the summer of 1900 to A T G Blackmore from Blundell's School , for Mathematics (n.b: R D Blackmore was educated at Blundell's). This edition bound in full tree calf gilt (see far left image below), gilt very bright. 517 pp, five raised bands, edge gilt dentelles, all edges marbled. Spine sl. sunning. A Very Good association copy. Together with a bundle of c 32 letters, detailed Blackmore family lineages (see central image below), and early newspaper clippings relating to R D Blackmore and the family of A S G Blackmore. Anyone interested in R D Blackmore can acquire this collection as one lot, but it is heavy at 10 kg with packing. Please enquire postage costs.
There is a fascinating research project here for someone.
For a complete R D Blackmore Bibliography see: Book & Magazine Collector. No. 202. Jan 2001. pp 86 - 99.
For a more detailed description, please click here...
30th April 2019
Sale! Sale! Sale!
A generous 30% sale on all books by Lighthouse Books, 65 Broad St. Lyme Regis DT7 3QF, due to the imminent retirement of our book colleague Jean Vaupres.
Jean opened his Book Room here in the Autumn of 1997 and has traded here ever since.
Books to suite all tastes (with an unusual Russian stock), and including many...
23rd April 2019
...which reminds us that the next U3A meeting of the Rare Book Group is scheduled for 7.30 pm Friday Evening the 7th of February 2020.
Membership of the U3A is a modest £12.00/pa.
If you have something of interest, please bring it along.
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
14th April 2019
A week of suprises!
From the dawn of aviation, a rare mahogony pre-WW1 German "Garuda" propeller has surfaced (see above). Embossed in the central hub we can read (see below): "D 250"., 50 HPS"., "GNOME"., & "RECHTS".
It measures 2.5 meters long, has "V" blades and is very heavy. We are currently investigating any history with our researcher colleague:
We understand that it was purchased at auction in the 1960's. Apart from that, we know very little.
There must be a story here, possibly relating to the pilot?
If anyone can shed any light, please contact.
More on this as it develops.
Ah-ha! April 16th update.
Richards Andrews of Aviattic (click link here) has contacted and writes as follows:
"I measured from the centre of the “hub” - where the clock face is - to a tip and the tape said 125cm - double that and you have 250cm - which is what the stamped “D 250” is referring to (see close-up below left).
50 HPS is 50 horse power. Gnome is the engine the prop is designed for. “Rechts" means “right” in German - the direction of turn. Timber looks like mahogany but was often walnut, who’s grain is very similar and combinations of the two (alternating laminates) was common in this period. German wartime propeller production eventually included ash and even pine as imported timber became difficult to source.
The “V” splaying of the blades (for centrifugal effect) is what date the design to 1912-14, a period where manufacturers where not bound by war and still able to purchase another country’s products so it is possible this prop/engine combo could have powered any number of prototypical early flyers, I found one possible 50hp Gnome powered contender in Canada! Details of which prop was used with which engine are scarce and difficult to judge.
The splintered nature of its condition suggests an accident, with the central clock perhaps signifying a memorial to it’s pilot but mere conjecture without any more info".
The story continues to amaze as it unfolds.
Richard Andrews, our air historian contributer, writes in as follows (April 18th)....
"The image above right illustrates the fate of most WW1 propellers. German machines were destroyed in France and Germany by order of the Versailles Treaty (Article 198) and here in the UK stockpiled propellers were sold off for a penny a piece for firewood, hence: (a) scarcity, and (b) the numbers of central boss (hard to saw up) mantle clocks and coat racks etc that were made as reminders of lost relatives or friends.
Some such items were sold to raise funds for care and respite homes for veterans.
The propeller blade obviously would have taken pride of place in the home of the poor lad's parents".
In an update of June 17th, Richard Andrews offers the image below as showing a Garuda propeller of exactly the same type.
Thank You Richard.
A Note to the Reader
Our new Shop Diary page seems to have struck a chord with our readership (we are currently averaging
400 readers a day).
So, we have moved the page up, next to our Home Page (mouseover the vertical green left hand Page Column on your screen).
The idea is to run an informal Sanctuary Bookshop News trial through 2019, but update it weekly.
Think of it as a sort of running commentary on day to day events in a busy high street second-hand bookshop.
This sounds possibly quite boring, but, human nature being what it is, we have found that the opposite is often the case!
Sceptical readers could try Shaun Blythell's delightful Diary of a Bookseller, where the idea has been expanded over a full year in book form.
Your commentators (below) are Julia and Bob.
Incidentally, you can always come and help run our bookshop for a day or more, should you wish. See our entry for January 22nd below.
If that is of interest then please: Click Here.
Our first thought for the main body of a shop diary, was to pick the most interesting, or the most amusing, event of each week, starting January 1st 2019, and then drop them off at the bottom of the page, after say a dozen weekly entries.
The idea here? To keep everything fresh for readers, although exceptionally, some past events have remained vividly in the mind (e.g., our entry for Jan 8th below). What we have noticed over the years though, is that customer queries and interactions can be highly informative, leading to whole new areas of book knowledge for us, so, we plan to include those as well.
Wherever possible we will provide click through links, should there be anything of interest you might wish to follow up.
Above and below, our first series of weekly trial runs.
Incidentally, should anyone be able to help, by linking us to their Social Media say, we would be most grateful.
6th April 2019
All went well yesterday Friday April 5th. We had the first get together of the U3A Rare Book Group.
Topics focussed on looking at books from the library of Lord Raglan, in particular his personal copy of Tennyson’s “Poems”. This was particularly poignant as it was Lord Raglan who gave the order for The Charge of the Light Brigade, subsequently immortalised in Tennyson’s famous poem of that name. This unique association copy was bound by Edward Moxon (image above left) and then passed by descent to Lord Raglan's Daughter in Law, Georgiana Lygon, here shown above right. Discussions then ranged across a number of other topics and settled on agreeing the next meeting on Friday June 7th. Anyone interested please contact us on email@example.com. U3A Membership is a modest £12.00 per Annum.
Further reading: “The Destruction of Lord Raglan”. A Tragedy of the Crimean War, 1854-55. Christopher Hibbert. Penguin. 1984. P.S. Our first visiting book colleague (see below), here to learn the running of a High Street Bookshop, has now returned to New York after a most enjoyable week long stay.
28th March 2019
What a week! Packed with drama. Who should be browsing in the shop on Saturday 23rd, but none other than John le Carre (image far right). Then, on the same day, our first trainee bookshop enthusiast Juana Abreu flew in from New York (above centre). This is working out very well and we hope the beginning of many more Cooperative Ventures of this kind. On Wednesday patience was rewarded with an exceptional trouvaille, an all original 1652 full leather copy of Thomas Cranmer's "Certain Sermons or Homilies", but, in the 50p box of a local supermarket book exchange!
Not something one would necessarily choose for light reading, but brilliantly anti-catholic and an amazing survivor none the less.
Cranmer himself did not survive and was burnt at the stake for heresy, on March 25th 1556, just 463 years ago.
The Mary Anning filming opposite continues apace (left) and then ends today (March 28th). More on this as it develops.
18th March 2019
Filming continues opposite apace on the Mary Anning movie Ammonite. The next filming session being March 21st through to March 28th. Books continue to pour in, for which we are very grateful, but, as always, storage is the main problem. We are now half way through transcribing the c1800 Indian Recipe Manuscript (see March 4th entry). It's a laborious business, as many key words are either local Indian patois, or hidden behind an unusual handwriting. If you look closely at the images above..on the right the receipt for "Oyster Patties", on the left "A receipt for small Drop Cakes" ("Receipt" here is the early Victorian word for Recipe). We have discovered one particularly fascinating entry...how to to provide a substantial main meal for a working man for 2p..! About six of the 360 recipes we intend to try, as they look unlike anything seen before. More on this later.
11th March 2019
(Update: Current Filming in Lyme concluded: Thursday March 28th).
No shortage of things to report this week! In fact, the town is abuzz as filming has started on the palaeontologist Mary Anning feature film Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan (see above center). This is just 50 meters from our shop, opposite, on Bell Cliff, see images above. A team of carpenters has transformed the area into an early-Victorian village scene, gathering much interest from the locals. The Storyline goes as follows:
"1840s England, a famous fossil hunter and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever". Update: Filming Dates are now given as: March: 11th, 12th, 13th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th. When filming started on the 13th, a crowd of onlookers rapidly formed outside our shop on 65 Broad St (see below).
4th March 2019
Last November we were asked to clear a large country house library at very short notice. This always creates a difficulty, as it takes time to appraise a large collection containing possibly valuable books, and without being able to go through them carefully. Anyway, a sum was mutually agreed and some ten boxes of books graced our storeroom until this week, when the job of sorting and collating was finally finished. It's a curious thing, but we have often found that for some arcane reason, the most interesting items surface at the end. And so it was in this case. A very early manuscript Recipe Book..but with a difference (see below). Here we had some 194 pages containing 360 recipes, but from all the signs and clues, compiled between 1800 and 1850 in Colonial India, when the British East India Company was at the height of its powers. The item had clearly been treasured, as it had been rebound around 1900 and then passed down through at least three generations. What particularly caught our eye was the fact that the original writer was clearly colonial English...but the majority of the measurements of ingredients she used were in unfamiliar Local Indian Units (...such as "Chittucks" & "Tolaks"). There is the basis for an interesting publication of an historic document here, and that is our current plan. More on this project later, as the research and manuscript transcription struggles, word by word, with a particularly difficult early handwriting....
23rd February 2019.
Nothing much happened this week. The weather continues to be kind to visiting families on their half term breaks. Filming is starting soon opposite us in Broad St, on the Mary Anning biopic starring Kate Winslet, and books came in and went out at a steady rate.
However, while browsing Trump excreta, we did come across one of the most original cartoons we have ever seen in many a long year (below left). It took awhile for the penny to drop, which is often the cause of the greatest pleasure...(think of it as delayed gratification!). It's by the American cartoonist Pete Fallon. If we explain it it takes away the fun, but we think most of you can recognise Mr Trump playing some sort of game of skill with Mr Mueller. Mr Robert Mueller is the Special Councel investigating Russian involvement in Mr Trump's presidential election. Now take a careful look at the pieces.
Below right, we show a cartoon just sent in by a reader in New York...
Thank You and please keep them coming.
14th February 2019.
It's not everyday one gets offered a folio volume by Willem Blaeu (1571 - 1638). Left hand image below.
It was his: 'Le Theatre du Monde, ou Nouvel Atlas' (1645 - 1646).
These are seriously rare and valuable books.
Alas, this 1645 First French Edition, Volume 4, covering England and Wales, had all sixty maps removed in some previous incarnation, together with the beautiful Title Page (below center).
Only the text block remained together with the original binding.
But still...just to admire the typography and layout (below right)...it is enough, and a deal was struck.
7th February 2019.
“Rare Books & Rarer People”.
The Science & Technology Group of the U3A held a talk with this title on Friday 18th January at the Woodmead Hall, Lyme Regis. For those unfamiliar with the U3A (The University of the Third Age), then full details can be found by clicking this U3A link. Local information can be found at the U3A’s Heritage Site (click here).
Update: February. "A Rare Book Group" has now formed within the local U3A.
The first meeting for U3A members: Lyme Regis. Friday 5th April 2019. 7.30 pm. Rare Book Room. 65 Broad St. More details on request from:
Next Rare Book Group meeting: Friday 7th February 2020.N.B. Membership of the U3A is a bargain £12.00 per annum, payable to Heritage Coast U3A.
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