Durham Cathedral Bookshop: A Case Study in Dealing with Debt – Philip Brewer Style

Phil Groom writes: Updated 20/11/2008

If you’ve got a longer memory span than a woolly mammoth you’ll remember last month’s post on Dealing with Debt – Philip Brewer Style. It’s all about lateral thinking, and I have before me some very interesting email correspondence between Durham Cathedral Shop Management Company and Philip Brewer dated March 12, 2008, the day after the new company was established on March 11.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions: comments are enabled and welcome. My apologies to those who left comments on the original post, 19/11/2008 — I will contact you individually about reinstatement of those comments, or, if you can remember what you said, please feel free to reinstate them yourselves. Thank you.

Durham’s questions in plain text, Brewer’s responses in blue:

1. What happens to the cheques that will be sent in for ledger accounts made out to St Stephen the Great of which the statements have already been sent. What are they now to have on them as you won’t be able to fit Durham Cathedral Shop Management Co on the cheque. (would Durham Cathedral Shop be enough) I will instruct the bank to take them as per normal. Just deposit them to the new account number I gave you.

2. Do we have to wait until new accounts are opened before we place any more orders for stock or customer orders. Please work with your suppliers as a new entity. Ignore whatever was and whoever was in the past. We are now a new company, with no relationship to the old going forward. So, contact your suppliers, tell them the drill, that you are a new company and that you would like to begin trading. When and if asked about billing, tell them they should process that at vendor-accounts, as you are not aware of how they are paying old invoices, etc. they will need to chase Saint Stephen the Great Trust as they have been doing. We also need to know of who we can say will be our references. What are your recommendations? Also what do we say if the suppliers ask about the invoices that we already owe for ? since we are new, we can’t owe anyone anything yet.

3. Is it okay to contact Booksolve to get the tills and computers changed to Durham Cathedral Shop (do we need to have Management Co on this or will Durham Cathedral Shop do Yes, you may do this. I have already requested they give me a cost for the service to continue. So you are welcome to contact them to make this change. Remember, we are a new company. No need for you to get involved with or diverted with what bills etc are being paid by whom.

Petition Update

As I write the petition to rescue Durham Cathedral Bookshop from the Brewers now stands at 279 signatures. We need another 21 signatures to reach the 300 mark, at which point it will again be presented to the Dean and Chapter.

If you have not signed the petition, please consider doing so.

If you have signed it, thank you. Please consider following it up by:

Ask them: why is the Diocese of Durham allowing a rogue trader to run its Cathedral Bookshop??

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15 responses to “Durham Cathedral Bookshop: A Case Study in Dealing with Debt – Philip Brewer Style

  1. Pingback: Management of Durham Cathedral Bookshop in Spring 2008: Society of Saint Stephen the Great | The Wardman Wire

  2. Some questions:
    – If one company takes over a bookshop from another company, then it’s not liable for that previous companies debts. But if that company is effectively the same people (as ENC/Durham Cathedral Shop management are), then what?

    – Did the memo encouraging staff to ask for Gift Aid donations go to Durham Cathedral Shop? If so, then here is a clear statement that the shop is no longer run by a charity (SSG) but by a company (DCSMC), so who were they being asked to Gift Aid to?

    – did this ‘new company’ pay SSG anything for the stock it inherited, so that SSG could pay the bills, or did it leave it with nothing so that SSG could go bankrupt and not pay anybody, with most of the assets transferred to the new cluster of entities?

    – Or is SSG owed money by ENC/DCSMC/Chichester for the stock, fittings and property they inherited? Will Phil Brewer take himself to court to get settlement?

    – Do the properties still belong to SSG (as in the covenant with SPCK), with the operations being run by the new companies, or has it all been passed on lock, stock and Bible?

    I would guess this needs to go to USDAW at the very least.

  3. >Will Phil Brewer take himself to court to get settlement?

    Hahahaha !

  4. I understand that usdaw are fully aware of all the brewer tricks and turns!

  5. Question from staff at Durham. “1. What happens to the cheques that will be sent in for ledger accounts made out to St Stephen the Great of which the statements have already been sent. What are they now to have on them as you won’t be able to fit Durham Cathedral Shop Management Co on the cheque. (would Durham Cathedral Shop be enough)”

    Answer from Mr. Brewer: ” I will instruct the bank to take them as per normal. Just deposit them to the new account number I gave you.”

    Comment.

    Moneys are paid to St Stephen the Great which is a registered charity. Mr. Brewer tells his staff to pay them into a non-charity account.

    I think it is now clear why the Charity Commissioners have taken the significant step of opening a formal enquiry.

  6. Annie I hope that somebody alerts USDAW to this post. The more info we have, the more we can get for those who were fired through the tribunals.

    Many people are risking much, not least Phil Groom. My personal thanks to him.

  7. What a rubbish post. The more info we have, the more we can get through the tribunals for those who were fired by e-mail. I hate this new keyboard.

  8. Pingback: Four Months Today « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  9. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Petition Update: 305 Signatures « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  10. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Shop Finances and questionable Saint Stephen the Great payments | The Wardman Wire

  11. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Shop Finances and questionable Saint Stephen the Great payments « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  12. Pingback: Chichester, Durham, Third Space Books: Updating UKCBD Entries « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  13. Pingback: Pursuing the Brewers: Contact Info, Facts and Resources « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  14. Pingback: Comparing Notes: What a Bookshop Shouldn’t Look Like, and What It Should « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  15. Pingback: A Tangled Web for Creditors as Durham Cathedral announces plans to Re-Open Shop under its own Management « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

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