Welcome to Worcester?

Phil Groom writes:

Worcester Christian Bookshop?

Worcester Christian Bookshop?

Or not, as the case may be.

Have just come back from a couple of days in Worcester, enjoying the gracious hospitality of its rather magnificent Cathedral. Naturally I couldn’t pass through without stopping by at the former SPCK bookshop, now attempting to reinvent itself as “Worcester Christian Bookshop”. You have to dig ye Olde Englishe typeface, I guess.

The shop was closed the first couple of times I passed by but it opened eventually and I wandered in.

Two gentlemen seemed to be having a rather intense conversation at the back of the shop: “We’re going to…” was all I caught before they turned and glared at me like an unwelcome guest.

I hastened away, but not before I noticed a computer monitor on the counter displaying the ‘Third Space Books’ website… resisted the temptation to surf to this site and leave it displaying our front page.

Looking around before I left, the shelves were surprisingly full, thanks to a lot of books being displayed face-out rather than spine-on; and upstairs, lots of ancient looking tomes and an old man in an armchair. I wondered if he was staying B&B.

Knowing St Stephen the Great’s record of unpaid suppliers, I wondered who all the stock belonged to. Decided not to make a purchase for fear of being caught handling stolen goods, and didn’t want to support the Brewers’ misbegotten empire anyway.

Former SPCK Bookshop, Worcester, March 13, 2009

Former SPCK Bookshop, Worcester, March 13, 2009

From the outside, all sign of the previous ownership had been removed: just a faint outline in the paintwork from the old signwriting, “The Pilgrim Shop.”

The window displays were sparse — deliberately so for Lent, perhaps? — a little stack of Easter themed books along with a key fob bearing an SPCK price label, betraying the previous ownership with its adhesive kiss. I looked around for 30 silver coins but I guess they’d been used for something else…

SPCK Price label in use in Worcester window display, March 13, 2009

SPCK price label in use in Worcester window display, March 13, 2009

I made my way back to the Cathedral. Chatting with the staff there — all very friendly and welcoming — it took only the bare mention of the fact that I was a theological bookseller to spark expressions of outrage and indignation at the treatment meted out to the former SPCK staff, the tragedy of Steve Jeynes’ suicide and the travesty that the bookshop he once managed so well has become.

J Mark Brewer’s threats against Dave Walker may have erased many of the tributes to Steve from the online record but those who knew Steve clearly remember him with admiration and respect; and Steve Jeynes, RIP is still one of this site’s most visited pages.

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9 responses to “Welcome to Worcester?

  1. The alpha male in that shop is a bit perplexing. He said people in Worcestire do not ask for Lent items. The lady who sometimes works there is far more helpful.

  2. I suggest boycotting it — and all other Brewer controlled businesses globally — until the Brewers give up and find somewhere else (like another planet, preferably uninhabited) to ply their perverted mission strategy.

    I suggested this back in July last year and I think until people start to take this call seriously then we’re probably stuck with these travesties of Christianity. Trading with Brewer controlled businesses just prolongs the agony.

  3. Heather Petrie

    As a former member of staff I worked alongside Steve, I too would like to see a boycott. Steve was a great boss who cared for all of us and was devastated at the treatment we received and stood his ground with the Brewers. Unfortunately after his sacking he was banned from even entering the shop. I am glad the cathedral still remember him and us. I learnt a lot from him and although I no longer live in Worcestershire, he’s still thought of with fondness.

  4. Valiant for Truth

    Agreed. The only way to finish commercial enterprises is to remove the commerce.

  5. Pingback: Letter from a Decorator « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  6. I moved to Worcester recently and have popped into the shop and observed all the above things about the shop. Did you see the old SPCK sign upstairs? It would have hung from the wall outside… There was no price tag on it, so I wasn’t sure how much it was selling for?! 😉

    The other day the shop front thingy bob was pulled down. You know what I mean, the sun shade / rain thing that comes out from the shop and everyone gathers under it during a downpour. Damn I wish I could remember what it’s called. Anyway, that still displays SPCK bookshop, obviously, cause it would be a real pain to change. On days when that’s pulled out / down you’d think you were still shopping at SPCK.

  7. I was pleasantly surprised on a visit into Worcester for those who know the city to walk through the Hopmarket and see a shop called Sunbeams with a fish sign outside.

    They seem to have a great selection of cards and a few Christian resources too… it seems to be great news for Worcester.

    I’m afraid I know nothing more than that… but worth checking out I think.

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