Tuesday, 9 December 2014

A Voice Out of History - "Keep Calm and Carry On"


Ever wondered about the origin of this phrase?

Well today I found out and a lot more besides.

This morning I visited Alnwick a little market town up in the North East of England. It's only about fifty miles from home & my husband was going up there for a work trip so I thought I'd go with him. I had visions of browsing around the lovely little place with it's shops which are very different to the usual high street chains while I was waiting for my husband & then sitting in a nice little cafe for lunch. 

The best laid plans as they say, gang aft aglee! The shop my husband was visiting was out of the town so I had to sit in the car & wait for him. On the way back I suggested we stop for coffee somewhere in the town but as usual my husband drove straight on & out of the town. Nowhere to park! However just before we left I suggested we stop when I saw a sign for a bookshop called Barter Books. I thought coffee is usually available in big bookshops & this was a big bookshop!

It was a lovely Victorian railway station & one of the many closed due to the horrendous Beeching railway cuts of 1968. It had been converted into a great bookshop.  Apparently this station was a very grand one for such a little market town because Alnwick was the seat of the Dukes of Northumberland. Posh or what!

I couldn't take photos of the outside because of all the cars parked there but you can see it in the video below. Also I didn't have my camera, just used the camera on my phone which I have very little idea about.

Inside the shop was amazing! Blazing coal fires, masses & masses of bookcases, murals, coffee (30p) & delicious freshly made biscuits (55p), play area with toys, a model railway running around above the bookcases, murals & lots more. My kind of place. I hate those soulless minimalist shops all glass & steel. YUK!

I particularly loved the murals & quotations all over the shop, especially this one about books. Very forward thinking for 1957!



Well back to the Keep Calm & Carry on motto. Apparently an original poster designed during World War 2 & never issued was found here in Barter Books. Take a look at the fantastic shop & the story of the poster here.



Well I never would have found that wonderful shop if we had stopped for coffee in the town. Sadly I was almost dragged out of the shop as soon as I finished my coffee so no time to browse.

However just as we were leaving I got my eye on the most tremendous bargains. Packs of secondhand paperbacks, 6 for £1.20. The one I picked was thrillers;it included books by Val MacDermid, Michael Dibden (fantastic), Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton & Michael Connolly. Crumbs how cheap is that! I can give them to a charity shop too once I've read them.

I have to go back but this time by myself so I can take as long as I like to soak up that place. Just gorgeous!!!!!!

So if you love books & ever find you're in Northumberland, why not take a look! You won't be disappointed.



Favourite Places

Durham Cathedral There are some places you visit and they stay with you, they're so special.  This is mine! I've blogged abo...