Sheffield Remembered: Part 1

Phil Groom writes:

Unfortunately I’m not in a position to take a trip to Sheffield to check up on what’s happening there myself, but if anyone from Sheffield is reading, we’d love to hear from you; and if you’ve taken any photos of the shop recently, even better.

I’ve been reminded that this month marks a full year since the Brewers unceremoniously dismissed the Sheffield shop staff by email. It’s not just a shop that we’re remembering: these are people whose lives and livelihoods have been shattered by their shabby treatment at the hands of the Brewers, workers whose pay remains outstanding despite J Mark Brewer walking away with £507,000 from the sale of the Exeter shop in September last year.

Are you proud of your record, Mr Brewer?

Here’s some of the history as we have it in the blogs and other reports:

SSG Press Release about Sheffield (pdf, 56kb)
SSG Press Release
(pdf, 56kb)
  • “Church of England launches campaign against Orthodox charity”
    Dave Walker, 4 Feb 2008 
    ‘So claims Mark Brewer, owner of the SSG (former SPCK) chain of bookshops in the title of an email containing the following press release…’
  • Further SPCK/SSG shop closures – staff sacked by email
    Dave Walker, 5 Feb 2008
    ‘… Today the staff at the SSG (former SPCK) shops in SheffieldLincoln and Norwich were sacked by e-mail and the shops are closed. Signs outside say that the shops are closed for a refit or somesuch.’
  • News From Christian Circles…(and squares!)
    Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 14 Feb 2008
    ‘… within the last two weeks numerous SPCK’s including Norwich, Sheffield and Canterbury have been closing…the staff in Norwich and Sheffield were sacked by e-mail after disagreeing to signing a new contract sent by the trust.’
  • SPCK Sheffield
    Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 16 Feb 2008
    ‘I have wandered into Sheffield and had a look at the SPCK, and lo and behold…it’s closed … however a sign on the door/window indicates that it will be opening again on the 18th feb, which is good because it shows hope for christian bookshops!’
  • Quick update on SPCK
    Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 18 Feb 2008
    ‘The SPCK in Sheffield remained closed this morning despite the sign on the door stating that it would re-open today…’
  • Christian chain mulls franchising
    The Bookseller, 22 Feb 2008
    ‘The beleaguered Christian chain has had a tumultuous time since Brewer and his brother Phil took control from SPCK in October 2006. Earlier this month, the Cambridge, Sheffield, Norwich and Lincoln branches closed for “rebranding and restocking”, while the Bristol, Exeter and Salisbury stores have been trading on reduced hours since the beginning of February. Cambridge has since begun trading again, and Brewer said that Lincoln and Sheffield would reopen this week.’
  • SPCK Updates and 2 Random Thoughts…
    Mark Tiddy’s Blog, 29 Feb 2008
    ‘Despite claiming that the Sheffield SPCK would re-open 2 weeks ago and nothing happening it seems SSG (new trust running spck) are making yet another promise…they claim this time that SPCK will re-open from tomorrow (1st March) with new opening hours…I wonder how it’ll work with no staff…’
  • Sheffield Shop
    SPCK Watch, 9 Aug 2008
    ‘Just a short note to let you know that the Brewers have been locked out of the Sheffield shop and that Phil Brewer is very angry with the landlords for changing the locks. Apparently rent has not been paid for quite some time.’

I’m sure there are other reports on Sheffield out there that I’ve missed: please use the comments to provide details of any you know of.

Meanwhile, to the Sheffield Survivors: We Salute You.

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6 responses to “Sheffield Remembered: Part 1

  1. Valiant for Truth

    Someone may correct me, but I understood that the Cathedral/Church Burgesses changed the lock on the door of the Sheffield shop (the lease having long since run out) so taht the Brewers cannot get in. Is there a message here to other landlords/owners?

  2. What makes me sad is the paucity of comments from those who are affected by what the Brewers have done. I hope that they have reported privately to the people who run this blog. The arrogance of Mark Brewer in his letter to the Sheffield Dean and Chapter is astounding especially since I believe that there is an Orthodox group which meets in the Cathedral crypt.

  3. “Don’t be afraid of those who threaten you,” said Jesus. “For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” (Matthew 10: 26-31, NLT).

    That time, however, is not yet…

  4. Valiant – the shop is not owned by the Dean and Chapter but the locks were changed by the owner. And yes asingleblog, there is an Orthodox congregation who worships in the Cathedral once a month. They were even at the retirement celebration for Bishop Jack. So much for Sheffield Diocese having no regard for the Orthodox denomination.

    SPCK Watch also reported that the Brewers were trying to sue the member of cathedral staff who’s name was on the letter advising that they could not support the shop anymore

  5. Thank you Phil Groom for that quote. I really needed it.

  6. With all the talk of “sue”ing, I had a cartoon in my head of the 2-headed Brewer Beast holding an upside-down Valentine. One head is saying:
    TO SUE
    The other head is saying:
    OR NOT TO SUE.
    (Whatever the question)

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