Saturday, 25 September 2021

Independent book shop celebrates half century in business

Independent book shop celebrates half century in business

A BOOK shop in Henley has marked its 50th anniversary.

Scores of people attended a celebration with champagne and canapés at the Bell Bookshop in Bell Street on Thursday last week.

They included BBC director-general Lord Hall, who lives in Henley.

Michael Pooley, the owner, talked about the history of the business and paid tribute to the staff from over the years.

He said: “Everyone knows bookselling has been extremely difficult for the last 10 years and two-thirds of independent booksellers have disappeared but my view is things have turned.

“Henley is a real book place. There are five outlets for books and for a town of this size that is quite good. They are complementary, not in competition.

“The Henley Literary Festival has a wonderful range of authors and we are extremely pleased to be associated with it. We have got fantastic customers and I see no reason we can’t be here in 10 years’ time to celebrate 60 years.”

Mr Pooley, who lives near Marlborough, proposed a toast to books and was applauded by the guests.

The shop was set up by Dan Brunner in the 1966 and he ran it for 10 years before he passed away and his widow Helen took over.

Mr Pooley bought the store from the Brunner family, who used to own Greys Court, in about 1980.

Store manager Hilary Redhead, who has worked there for 17 vyears and became manager in 2014, said the celebration went well.

“Everyone seemed to have a lovely time,” she said. “The people who came along commented that it was a great night.”

Meanwhile, the literary festival has launched its Friends membership scheme for the coming year. Friends pay an annual membership fee of £35 and receive priority booking and exclusive offers during the event.

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