Phil Groom writes:
Thanks to Mark Tiddy for these pictures of the abandoned Sheffield shop, taken from his report Sheffield SPCK/SSG: 1 Year On, posted this morning, Sunday February 15th 2009. Describing his visit on Friday 13th, Mark writes:
Walking up to the shop you see the shop sign (with a variety of letters missing) still containing the SPCK name, the door is closed with no sign of life and no sign of anyone having been anywhere near the shop in a while.
The window displays remain as they probably were when the staff were sacked by the Brewers and the only addition since my last visit is a scrawl of graffiti on a window and a sign promoting the CLC bookshop 5 minutes up the road.
Mark reminds us that this is about far more than neglected shops, however: Philip and Mark Brewer’s betrayal of SPCK’s trust — and with it, the trust of the entire Christian book trade — runs far deeper than this. It’s about people:
The staff tribunals cancelled last year don’t appear to have been rescheduled (that I can find) and the store, full of stock yet closed and unwelcoming stands as a reminder to the damage the Brewers have caused not just to the unpaid staff who were unfairly dismissed but also to all those across the country who no longer have access to Christian resources.
The tribunal cancellations Mark refers to were reported by Dave Walker, restored courtesy of Cease and Desist:
- Date for SPCK bookshop tribunal set, 19th March 2008
- Former SPCK bookshop tribunal adjourned, 9th June 2008
My understanding is that the other staff who were fired are members of Usdaw, and we can expect to hear more about those hearings in May, as reported in this month’s Christian Marketplace.
In the meantime, however, some questions: is the Pilgrim’s journey finally over in Sheffield? Who owns the stock in the shop? Has it been paid for? Who holds the keys?
At some point I guess we can expect the Brewers to attempt to gain access (remember Lincoln) and attempt to claim the stock for redistribution to other shops. If you live nearby, do keep a lookout, keep your camera handy, and please leave a comment or let us know privately if you spot any suspicious behaviour…