Freeholds For Sale at York and Bradford: Where Next?

York - Freehold For Sale

Former SPCK Bookshop, York - Freehold For Sale

Phil Groom writes:

Thanks to the intrepid asingleblog for these photos of the York shop, now up for sale; and thanks to David Ormondroyd for the original tip off when he spotted the sign going up on Friday October 30th.

Interestingly, the company handling the sale is none other than DTZ, which readers with good memories will remember from the notices posted on the shop doors when the Charity Commission started seizing control: Changing the Locks: Official Notices as seen in Chester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Worcester. At the time of posting, this property does not appear to be listed at

Would purchase include fittings, fixtures and stock, I wonder? Judging from the photo below there’s actually quite a bit of stock left.

The other freehold properties are Bradford (For Sale sign spotted by Bradforddian), Canterbury, Exeter, and Truro. Exeter, of course, is history, but all five properties are still, if SPCK have the gumption to enforce it, subject to a seven year covenant — full details here (pdf, 745kb), excerpt below — restricting use of the the premises to trading as Christian bookshops. I wonder if the Interim Manager, having inherited the covenant, will insist upon any subsequent purchaser abiding by it?

Restrictive Usage Covenant

Restrictive Usage Covenant

York - Freehold For Sale

Former SPCK Bookshop, York - Freehold for Sale

Photos taken on Sunday evening, November 1st, 2009.

35 responses to “Freeholds For Sale at York and Bradford: Where Next?

  1. Valiant for Truth

    Just some additional information. In November 2006 SPCK owned twelve properties – Bradford, Bristol, Canterbury, Chester, Exeter, Hereford, Newcastle, Salisbury, Truro, Winchester, Worcester and York. The Bristol premises were retained by SPCK and sold by them in 2007. Five of the above shops were handed over immediately to SSG (I cannot recall which five so someone out there will have to provide that information) and the remainder were to be handed over after seven years. Hereford and Truro are occupied by managers who have a deal with SSG and are therefore still trading. Exeter was sold, as we know. canterbury appears to still be trading but no-one seems to really know. The others are closed.

  2. And as far as I can remember the Brewers kicked up a fuss about the sale of Bristol. They wanted a share of the money? Like you I am concerned about where the money goes once those shops are sold. Will the Interim Manager just hand everything back to the Brewers?

    Phil Groom, when some of us spoke to a contact in Exeter, he wondered if the SPCK would have the bottle to enforce the covenant. Those were his words, “do they have the bottle?” Nothing I have read convinces me that they do.

  3. I seem to recall being told that Canterbury Bookshop was being run by an Orthodox student (part time) named Boris that Philip Brewer employed?

    • Boris the Brewer. It has a certain ring to it, does it not? Come on, Mousey – I’m sure you could make another poem out of that 😀

      • The Barons Brewer licked their coffee-ed chops.
        “Will no-one rid us of these costly shops?”
        Then up spoke Boris (student, he – not mayor)
        and said, “I`ll do the job – if you pay fair!”

        Pay fair? Play fair? One sip of Brewers` brew
        you`ll end up partly living – zombies too.
        While Barons of Disorder fly off free –
        unextraditable from Canterb`ry.

        Was Boris turned to zombie with the shop.
        Just who owns what or sells what? Call a cop!
        Will no-one rid us of the Fly Boys Fly –
        the John and Edward of the tuneless lie?

        Not 10 CCs could clean this air and sky.
        It`s Dreadlock Holiday. K(r)arloff and cry!

  4. Valiant for Truth

    So, are we to say that we were incorrect to state that Durham is the last shop standing, directly under Brewer control if this is also the case at Canterbury? What hope does the person in Truro have of selling up if anyone sees the deal with the Brewers they’d have to take over? What position are the shops in Truro and Hereford in with regard to who is their landlord? What if their premises are considered, by the Interim Managers, to be assets? While we all appreciate that there is much going on and legal restraints to speaking out, I’m sure there are some things we could be told. There are individuals out there who never inform, comment or take part in the continued fight. What are they scared of?

  5. This blog has shown that there is absolutely nothing to be scared of. Why people read it but will not comment or provide information continues to amaze me.

  6. Mousey like it. I say to those who read this blog and never comment, dont you think its about time ? Its through this blog that evil has been exposed, and i do not say that lightly.

  7. Well said Justice.

  8. Could this Boris in Canterbury be the Boris who was taken on as a volunteer in the Cambridge shop when the staff there were dismissed? I felt sorry for him – he was hoping he might get paid and he was clearly fed up at hearing complaints from unhappy customers. After the shop finally closed he contacted a number of churches and shops trying to find an outlet for some books – it seems he was given some of the stock as a form of payment.
    Or maybe the same name is just coincidental?

  9. I take it that the Canterbury shop is closed?

  10. Valiant for Truth

    Jacqui, that is what I have been trying to establish for weeks, but there seems to be no-one in Canterbury able to go and to check. I hope that Boris is a true Orthodox Christian so has received support and advice from his Church, as, after all, the Orthodox Church in Great Britain is well aware of St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust.

  11. The phone just rings in that shop. Unless former Canterbury staff speak up we will be none the wiser.

  12. In answer to the question about Canterbury that shop was closed the day before mine along with all the other shops. I have found out that the Bradford shop is on sale for offers around £179,950.00, which is £30,000 more than the Brewres tried to offload it at the auctions.

  13. One day I’ll master this typing lark so the letters appear in the right order

  14. Thanks Bradfordian. Please do not go away. For what its worth my typing is atrocious.

  15. Its good to hear from you Bradfordian, I am sorry that you lost your job when the shop was closed. Keep on blogging Im the worlds worst , at typing.

  16. Thanks for your comments Bradfordian, very informative ( as usual) and much appreciated.

  17. Bradfordian, if it wasn’t for people like you, A Single Blog, Valiant for Truth and everyone else on this blog no one would know what was going on with the SSG mess just as if people had not risked their jobs and health in the past the silence would never have been broken.

    So to everyone -please keep blogging! To those still afraid to speak, please join us, pseudonyms allowed.

  18. As Phelim says, pseudonyms allowed: very welcome, in fact. Please see the Read Me page (updated today with a Privacy Policy statement, which you’ll also find in the sidebar) for clarification of what is and is not acceptable in comments.

  19. Valiant for Truth

    Well said, Phelim. So, Durham is the last one standing, and Phil Brewer will be able to direct his perverse bullying at just one group of people, who, sadly have little support beyond friends and you wonderful bloggers.

  20. Thanks Phelim.

  21. Valiant for Truth

    SPCK Annual Report 2007 (on sidebar) “Sale of former SPCK shop, Bristol for £1,275,000 realising a gain on sale of £515,594”. Even allowing for north-south divide and current economic situation, this seems to be a big difference to the Bradford asking price above, bearing in mind that the Bradford premises are very large.

  22. Valiant for Truth

    What exactly is the role of an Interim Manager? People keep telling me that they’ve passed one of the empty shops and there’s post piling up behind the door, stock on the shelves etc. When we are away from home, we are all urged to cancel milk and papers, have our mail kept for us, leave lights on etc. If some chancer came along to one of the shops and fancied a night on one of those infamous black sofas, then walked off with a few bits and pieces, what line would the police and the insurance company take?

  23. I’m reminded about when the SPCK had a huge warehouse near Durham. Some kids broke into it and had to be taken to hospital for alcohol poisoning. I’m also reminded that Pauline Edwards reported that the Birmingham shop had been vandalised. So yes, I do hope that Peter Gotham has taken care of insurance.

  24. Thanks for that, Asbo. I was wondering if the hoodies had taken to religious study (rather like they take to mugging people for knowledge in Anthony Burgess` `1985`. But your explanation that prospective thieves of ex-SPCK premises would be after the “power of the spirit” makes a lot more sense!

  25. After the vandalisation of the bookshop chain and day light robbery by the Brewers Grim then the shops should be used to theft and muggings.

  26. VFT I am also wondering ,what exactly is the role of the Interim Manager. Phil W Brewer is still Manager of Durham. Its an absolute disgrace . Everyone of us should be trying our utmost to get this man out .

  27. Do you know if the staff – part time and full time – are all being kept up to date at Durham, Justice? Is the Cathedral`s pastoral supervision of the shop addressing your concerns fully at this time? I hope Durham Lumiere is extending to the people working in the darkness of the Great Kitchen.

  28. Asking price for York premises appears to be £250k: £250k price tag on SGCCT Christian bookshop in Goodramgate (York Press, 09/11/2009). Ought to cover a few debts…

  29. It is a good location. Pity that the Newcastle agency cannot get its money.

  30. Pingback: Former SPCK York to become a Restaurant | SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s