Daily Archives: May 6, 2009

Northern Echo on Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Brothers are ordered to leave cathedral shop

Northern Echo - Brothers are ordered to leave cathedral shop

Northern Echo - Brothers are ordered to leave cathedral shop

Phil Groom writes:

Thanks to Mark Tallentire of the Northern Echo for following up on his previous report on this story:

TWO brothers at the centre of an unholy row over the running of a cathedral bookshop have been told to leave within a year.

Critics said Phil and Mark Brewer ravaged the Durham Cathedral bookshop, once described as the best theological bookshop in the world, leaving it a shadow of its former self.

Hundreds signed a petition calling on the Cathedral Chapter to rescue the shop from the US pair, invoking the Biblical story of Jesus going into the temple to throw out the money-lenders to support their case.

Now, in a statement released to The Northern Echo, the chapter has announced it has served notice on the Brewers’ Saint Stephen the Great Trust, requiring it to vacate the premises by April 30, 2010…

Kudos to Matt Wardman for drawing the story to Mark’s attention.

Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Cause to Celebrate, Cause for Concern

Phil Groom writes:

As most readers of this blog will be aware by now, on Friday, May 1st, 2009, the Chapter of Durham Cathedral issued the following statement:

Statement by the Chapter of Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral has today served notice under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 on the current operators and occupiers of Durham Cathedral Shop requiring them to vacate the premises on 30th April 2010. A new Cathedral Shop under the Cathedral’s management will open on 1st May 2010 opposite the Undercroft Restaurant where, with the restaurant, it will provide a focus for visitor facilities.

To enable the necessary work for the relocation of the shop, the exhibition in the Treasures will close at the end of 2009. A new exhibition will reopen in the Claustral buildings at a date to be announced.

1st May 2009
(Posted on Friday 1st May 2009)

The statement has been widely welcomed and hailed as a major step forward in the ongoing battle against the Brewer brothers and their depredations of the former SPCK bookshops.

Unfortunately I was offline when the news broke, hence the silence on this blog. I’d therefore like to place on record my personal thanks to David Keen and Matt Wardman for running with the story, as well as to those who twittered the news:

David Keen:

Matt Wardman: 

Twitter Search:

The fact that the boot has at last been firmly applied to the Brewers’ backside is definitely cause for celebration, but — as per the response issued by Matt — many concerns remain.

In particular, a massive question mark now hangs over the current Durham Cathedral shop staff. Whilst it appears that the Chapter may have no legal obligation to offer the shop staff continued employment, one would hope that they, as a Christian organisation, recognise a duty of care and pastoral responsibility for all who work in the Cathedral precincts, irrespective of whether or not they are employed directly by the Chapter.

Whatever happens, we can be sure that the new Chapter Clerk, Mr Philip Davis, won’t miss a trick: as the Dean himself has said,

A good Chapter Clerk is the key to the Cathedral’s efficiency, professionalism and financial stability.  It is conceivable that something might happen in the Cathedral without the Chapter Clerk’s knowledge, but I rather doubt it.

I take this opportunity to wish Mr Davis well in his new role and to encourage him to ensure that proper pastoral care for the Cathedral Shop staff is placed high up on the Cathedral’s list of priorities during the next twelve months — and beyond.

Finally, I would also like to thank all those who signed the Durham petition calling for this action. The petition will now be formally closed and over the next few days all signatories will be notified of this development.