Durham Cathedral Shop VAT Number History

Matt Wardman writes:

We have been looking for information to throw light on the history of the underlying changes going on in the Society of Saint Stephen the Great, and the cluster of charities and companies that J Mark and Phil Brewer have set up around it.

One of the things we are audit trailing as closely as we can are the VAT numbers in use in different places at different times as recorded on the public record – which in this case consists of till receipts. Till receipts with VAT numbers are legal documents of record within the UK Tax and Accounting systems (which is why you can use them to prove expenses claims of course).

For the particular case of Durham Cathedral Shop, three till receipts from 2008 in our larger collection show the following VAT Numbers, indicating a change:

  • 2/5/2008: VAT No. 899850932
  • 13/6/2008: VAT No. 899850932
  • 24/11/2008: VAT No. 933176522

There are copies of these receipts available to any investigators who want them, via the Contact Page.

Remember that it is legitimate and possible to keep the same VAT Number when a business changes, but on the other hand changes may also indicate underlying changes in the organisation concerned.

Changes relating to the Durham Shop have been:

  • October 31 2006: SPCK Durham Cathedral Shop transferred to the Society of Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSGCT) with the rest of the former-SPCK Bookshops. Trustees (as documented in the Report and Financial Statements 4 November 2004 to 31 March 2006 date stamped 17 January 2007 by the Charity Commission): J M Brewer, Mrs S K Brewer, His Eminence N Condrea, Joseph Pop. There is a further trustee who resigned in 2005, whom I will not name here.
  • [Update 5.15pm 2008/12/2: 8 August 2007, SSGCT was united by direction of the Charity Commission with the new charity SAINT STEPHEN THE GREAT (Charity No. 1119839) as a subsidiary.]
  • March 11 2008: Durham Cathedral Shop Management Limited set up to manage the Durham Cathedral Bookshop. Company Number: FC028290. Directors are J Mark Brewer and Philip W Brewer, Secretary is Sandra K Brewer. Management of shop transferred to this new company.
  • June 2008: Attempt to put SSGCT into Bankruptcy in Houston.

I know of no changes in the corporate entities directly involved in the Durham Shop in June 2008, and the change of VAT Number indicated after that date may indicate nothing more than a certain tardiness in updating the information in the till from March 2008 or it may indicate a later change. I do not have enough information to comment further on that point.

If you have a VAT receipt from the period August 2006 to August 2008 from the Durham Cathedral Shop, and are willing to supply a copy, please would you get in touch via the Contact Page and help us build a full history.

Wrapping Up

Once again, I need to state here that the SPCK mission society who used to be associated with the bookshop chain which includes the Durham Cathedral Bookshop is no longer involved in any way, and that Durham Cathedral are the landlord and not responsible for the management of the Durham Cathedral Bookshop. Nothing in this article reflects on either Durham Cathedral or SPCK.

Please do not use the comment thread on this post to speculate. This is about simply collecting an audit trail.

17 responses to “Durham Cathedral Shop VAT Number History

  1. Just to say – a certain tardiness on changing the vat no. on the till reciepts would be a serious problem!! as you cannot and may not use a VAT number you are not duly registered to use, the vat man doesn’t like that and can be quite firm about it indeed – http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/ContactOrDealWithHMRC/DG_10010579

  2. According to the Bankruptcy papers filed in the United States the Brewers owe the vatman. If the vatman is so thorough how come this was not picked up? Randy Williams sent those documents out to most people. He would not have missed out on the vatman.

  3. I seem to remember a week or two in the recent history of Durham when no tills were being used. How does that fit into the equation?

  4. And I’m remembering Third Space Books and wondering how it fits into the equation. There are bank accounts for Durham and Chichester. There is a company called ENC Shop Management Co and then there are shops which go under the name of Third Space Books. Is all the money being syphoned off into a Third Space Books account or into ENC?

  5. Ohh round and round we go where it all stops well lets hope the brewers know!! I am getting dizzy and feeling a bit like Dougal and Florence on the magic roundabout, its’ all beginning to feel a bit like a twirl on a carousel ride!

  6. The answer to all those questions are I don’t know, but the more information is available the more you can begin to build a picture.

    Like Number 2, I just want information.

  7. When the new bank accounts came through for Chester the card machines were changed, it said ENC at the of each receipt, the same happened to all the ENC shops, except it didn’t happen to most of the tills. Chester’s was ‘Chester Christian Bookshop’. I think Bradford used Third Space Books on the door and till receipts, even though it still says SPCK on the front of the shop.
    Since the new bank accounts/business name came through I wasn’t aware of any changes to the VAT numbers on the receipts, even though it was talked about them being changed, so obviously they needed doing.

  8. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Shop: More VAT Questions « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  9. From the Directory of Booksellers Association Members:

    Listed as “SPCK Bookshop”, VAT No. 232807182

    Listed as “SPCK Bookshop”, VAT No. 232807182

    Listed as “Durham Cathedral Shop Management Co”, VAT No. 232807182

    The same number is given for Christian Resources, Leicester.

    Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chichester and most of the others are no longer listed except for:

    Truro, now listed as “Truro Christian Bookshop” with VAT No. 803659133.

    Winchester, listed as “Winchester Christian Bookshop”, but no VAT No. is given. Still unclear whether or not Winchester is independent as Matt Wills’ photo taken 31st August this year shows it still decked out in SPCK signage: another one for trading standards to look at, perhaps?

    Finally for now, no VAT No. given for Churches Together Bookshop, Cardiff, either, but they are certainly independent; must admit I laugh out loud every time I read that line in Tom Arthur’s account: “We locked them out…” — I doubt if it happened quite like this but I can just picture Tom on one side of the door waving the key around with a huge grin on his face and the Brewer Bros standing outside looking lost. Hilarious.

    But this isn’t getting my Christmas cards written…

  10. I should be buying Christmas Cards let alone getting them written and no I won’t be sending one to the Brewers.

    That Winchester Bookshop makes me smile. There was a flurry of comments on the Cartoonchurch blog about it. The bishop tried to make it clear that the shop had nothing to do with the Brewers, not knowing that it was a franchise.

    The shop has re-opened for two days a week. Wonder what the vat number was when it was supposed to be independent and what it is now? I also wonder whether the man who walked away from the franchise took his stock with him.

  11. Those booksellers at Durham Cathedral are cannon fodder.

  12. Canon fodder, maybe? Or have the big guns really come out?

    Maybe someone should invite a few canons to spend a day working in the shop: retail therapy from the other side of the till?

  13. From a Durham shop management (with a small `m`) point of view, the Brewers are probably several Bedes short of an abacus.

  14. Mousey you are so funny. Imagine the Brewers with an abacus when they realise the outcome of the Tribunal.

  15. asingleblog: stop teasing. What’s the outcome of the Tribunal? I thought today was just a phone conference about scheduling, with the main hearings next year?

  16. David, I’m not teasing – I’m frustrated. I wish I could post documents. An ex-bookseller from Chester has been award in excess of £7,000 by the Tribunal. How I wish that USDAW would make this public.

  17. Damn, awarded not award for those who want to correct my spelling.

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