A CHESTER landmark is shutting up shop.
Stothert Old Books, on the corner of Nicholas Street and Lower Watergate Street, will close at the end of October after about 35 years of trading in the city.
Owners Alan and Marjorie Checkley plan to continue selling antiquarian books from a converted barn next to their home in Higher Burwardsley.
Marjorie said: “The internet side of the business has been growing at the same time as the number of visitors to the shop is declining.
“We will still have a book room which will be open to the public by appointment or on spec if people are passing. We don’t want people to miss the opportunity to pop in and find something unexpected.”
The Checkleys have run Stothert Old Books for 11 years helped by Annie White and Sheila Coulbeck, who will both retire when the shop closes.
Annie, of Boughton, remembers some famous faces passing through the door including chef Anton Mossiman, Patrick Moore and politicians Kenneth Clarke and former education secretary Kenneth Baker.
“I had an interest in literature when I started working at the shop 21 years ago and my interest and knowledge of old books has grown. I particularly like illustrated children’s books.
“It’s been the best job in the world – it’s really more like a hobby.”
Sheila, who lives in the city, has also worked at the shop for more than 20 years.
“I was working at Boustead’s Antiques in Watergate Street and was asked if I would like to come in for a day a week and I’ve stayed. I’ll be very sad when the shop closes.”
Stothert Old Books is the oldest book shop in the city having been opened by Tom and Eve Stothert in the 1970s.
The Checkleys have a database of more than 15,000 titles and the selection from their new premises will be far greater than is on offer at the shop.
From January 2009 Stothert Old Books will operate from Rock House Farm, Rock Lane, Higher Burwardsley, Chester CH3 9PL, telephone 01829 770628.