Durham Cathedral Bookshop as pictured on the Cathedral website

Durham Cathedral Bookshop as pictured on the Cathedral website

Petition Now Closed: please see Durham: watching, waiting…

On 20th August 2008 we launched an online petition addressed to the Dean and the Chapter at Durham Cathedral expressing concern at the deterioration of the Cathedral Bookshop and the low morale of the staff who serve there since the shop was taken over by the Brewers, and requesting that they take urgent and decisive action to take control of this situation.

The announcement of the petition may be found here:
Rescuing Britain’s Christian Heritage: Durham Cathedral Bookshop

The petition itself may be viewed and signed online here:

A response from the Dean, received 6th Sept 2008, may be found here:
The Dean of Durham Replies

Within 48 hours of the petition’s launch it had already collected over 100 signatures from members of the clergy, a representative of General Synod, students from Durham University and elsewhere, academic booksellers, at least one concerned author, former SPCK/SSG employees and many others from amongst the shop’s customer base as well as elsewhere. The number of signatories is steadily growing and at each multiple of 50 signatures it will be re-presented to the Dean until the petition closes.

The list of signatories may be viewed here:

The petition — which remains open until such time as the Brewers are no longer in control of the Cathedral bookshop — allows space to leave personal comments. Many signatories have chosen to take advantage of this to express outrage at the Brewers’ decimation of the shop and at their mistreatment of their staff, as well as to express their support for the Dean and Chapter, encouraging them to take whatever action may be necessary to save this once great bookshop.

iPetition PenIf you share the concerns expressed, please read, sign and leave your comments on the petition today.

report in the Bookseller, 26.08.2008

Church urged to reclaim SSG shop: report in the Bookseller, 26.08.2008


Update, 26/08/2008
Graeme Neill, who has been reporting regularly on the SPCK/SSG affair for The Bookseller, has now posted a report on this petition, screenshot right: Church urged to reclaim SSG shop.

Update, 22/09/2008
Durham Cathedral Bookshop: One Month On

What Next?

On 12th December 2008 we announced another petitionRescuing Chichester’s Christian Bookshop. Again, if you share the concerns expressed, please read, sign and leave your comments on that petition as well. Thank you.

63 responses to “Durham

  1. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Petition Update « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  2. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop Petition: The Dean of Durham Replies « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  3. Despite asingleblog`s efforts, Durham is doomed if some are still supporting SSG, ordering books from Gardners and Bertrams and behaving unfairly.

  4. The question in Durham is a moral dilemma. Staff who have worked in bookselling for many years and are proud of that work, plus feel a loyalty to their Cathedral and want it to have a remnant of a shop in the future, continue within the limitations to order stock. However, the sales thus created keep the Brewers afloat also, may make it harder for the Cathedral to get the Brewers out, and by keeping swimming shows no concern for those already drowned/sacked and those gripping on to life rafts. Bloggers, what do you think is the right course of action for the staff in Durham?

  5. If i were working at durham, i’d carry on doing my job and hope that good prevails in the end. if SSG collapses on a national basis then i expect it’ll be very easy for the cathedral to reclaim the shop for its own.

  6. Pingback: Quest for Enlightenment « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  7. Sorry, Matt, but that is easy enough for an outsider to say, but isn`t at all helpful to those on the inside. How long do you think the staff have just carried on doing their jobs. Better if you were to ask everyone reading this blog to pray really hard for the 2 members of staff who are too foolish and deluded to take the right direction. And then pray for their right minded colleagues who have to work day by day alongside them.

  8. Point taken- I just couldn’t think of any other course of action to suggest, but its certainly not a course that i favour. Which is really sad 😦 And that’s only what i’d do that i’ve put there. I just can’t think of any other approach. can you?

  9. There’s something strange about Durham. Seems like some don’t like the petition and are doing all kinds of things to keep SSG going. I don’t blame them. If the Dean and Chapter are leaving them to do the dirty work, they should just do the dirty work. They should follow Phil Brewer’s instructions to the tee. I don’t play golf. These workers look like pet poodles to me, pet poodles of the Dean and Chapter and pet poodles of Saint Stephen the Great.

  10. It would be interesting to know whether the Dean and Chapter of Durham have informed the shop staff of their intentions for the future of the shop, whether they are pro or anti SSG. That way staff might have a clue as to the best way to proceed. At present there would seem to be an element of divide and rule taking place.

  11. Dean and Chapter tell pet poodles what their intentions are? You’re kidding me.

  12. Questioner, maybe a call to the managers at the Durham Cathedral Shop will answer your questions.

  13. Two things are clear:

    1. The situation at Durham is far from straightforward for any of those involved, whether on the shop floor or in the higher echelons.

    2. The Brewers cannot be trusted.

    As for everyone else, I suspect that the Dean and Chapter may not know who amongst the shop staff they can trust, and that the shop staff don’t know who they can trust either… so it ends up with nobody being entirely open with anyone else and the fear and distrust feeds upon itself and grows: it is, as Questioner points out, classic ‘divide and rule’ tactics — keep everyone on the edge, keep everyone afraid.

    Pet poodles? Poodles tend to be cosseted and spoilt: I don’t see much of that going on in the Brewers’ little empire…

  14. Durham bookshop keeps SSG going. Would you like a copy of the contract?

  15. Why not? Something else to add to the dossier… then feed through the shredder…

  16. They are just pawns. Its all terribly sad what is happening in Durham.

  17. Valiant for Truth

    The shredder is the right place for the contract if the current petition assists the Dean & Chapter replace the Brewers with new management and a new contract. Speaking of the petition, over 200 people have now said this is what they believe to be right, so are they also to be let down and ignored?

  18. Such is the demise of a once great bookshop chain… 😦

  19. VfT: I last forwarded the petition to the Dean at the 200 signatures mark. My commitment remains to resubmit it whenever we reach a multiple of 50 — please continue to spread the word about it to help keep it alive.

    If they haven’t arrived yet, there will soon be a new influx of students in Durham: if you or anyone else there have contacts within the university (particularly within the theology department), please make the most of them: let’s get the petition mentioned in student newsletters and linked to from blogs, maybe even highlighted in freshers’ handbooks…

    Anyone reading who has a personal blog: please consider posting about this if you haven’t already done so; even better, put a permanent link to this page or direct to the petition in your sidebar or other blog navigation.

    It’s essentially up to us — up to everyone reading — to make this as high profile online as we can; and for those who live in and near Durham, to pursue it via traditional print media too: local press, church & community magazines etc…

    Thank you.

  20. Spreading this page link as wide as possible is a good idea. Have already added the link to my own blog’s sidebar.

  21. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: One Month On « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  22. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Mark Brewer Responds « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

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  26. For the avoidance of doubt:

    I need to state once again that the Cathedral Chaper does not manage the shop in its Great Kichen. This is run as a franchise subject to strict business law, as it was in the days of SPCK. Not all petitioners appear to be clear that a franchise is a formal, legal arrangement to which the parties to it are bound.

    I ask petitioner no. 273 (Daid Baxter) to note that this “business within the Cathedral” is NOT managed, is NOT controlled and is NOT run by the Cathedral itself. His comment that “letters sent to the Cathedral authorities go unanswered” is incorrect and I ask him to withdraw it. Whatever he means by this, I can assure him and everyone else that all correspondence addressed to the Cathdral is responded to efficiently and professionally (and, I need not add, all its debts are paid when due).

    Michael Sadgrove

  27. Pingback: For the Avoidance of Doubt: Important Message from the Dean of Durham « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  28. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Shop: The Story That Won’t Go Away! « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  29. Pingback: absit invidia verbo

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  32. just to let every know there is an advert for Thirdspace books in the middlesbrough Catholic Directory with the adress of Durham Cathedral

  33. Whaaat?

  34. Dave can’t find a link. The Dean and Chapter would need it.

  35. Im looking, but connot find, The Dean and Chapter,will be horrified.,must be a mistake.

  36. I’m using Mousey’s cat’s whiskers and saying all this tastes fishy.

  37. Very fishy, will have to get Sherlock Holmes on to this one.

  38. I’ve emailed Dave for more info…

  39. Pingback: Pages Rearranged « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  40. Pingback: Chichester, Durham, Third Space Books: Updating UKCBD Entries « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  41. When, o when, will number 350 sign the petition????

  42. Thanks, RevEv. Most of the staff of the shop will be grateful for your support.

  43. Thanks, RevEv.

  44. Most! Do you mean there are staff at Durham who actually want the situation to stay the same.

    Lead them to the padded cell, please!

  45. Pingback: 100,000 Pageviews… and Still Counting! « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  46. Sadly, Mousey is correct, and if there had been a better attitude from some, ie. fight not flight form reality, the Brewers could have been long gone from Durham.

  47. Rev Ev, they could have been out months ago ,some bury there head!s in the sand.

  48. Ciao Ratty. You must be my Big Brother or Sister, eh?

  49. MAUNDY Thurs is a busy day at Durham Cathedral but spare a thought for the bookshop staff at this time:
    Lighten their darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord;
    and by thy great mercy defend them
    from all perils, dangers
    and other effects
    of long-term hope deferred
    in their current, miserable situation.
    May they be treated fairly and justly
    by those ordained or appointed to your service,
    for the love of your only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

  50. Pingback: Response to Durham Cathedral expulsion of Shop Lessee from Durham Cathedral Shop | The Wardman Wire

  51. Pingback: Durham Cathedral Bookshop: Cause to Celebrate, Cause for Concern « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  52. Pingback: Response to Durham Cathedral expulsion of Shop Lessee from Durham Cathedral Shop « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  53. Pingback: Durham: watching, waiting… « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  54. Just read this in Durham Cathedral news: Here Come the Girls:

    At the beginning of evensong, the girls will stand at the step beneath the screen that forms the gateway to the part of the Cathedral where the choir sings the daily services. The Dean will introduce the service by speaking about what is involved in being a Cathedral chorister. The girls will be presented by name and the Dean will ask them to affirm that they are willing to undertake these responsibilities. The Dean will formally admit them to the choir by shaking hands with each of them and praying for God’s blessing upon them. The new choristers will then walk through the screen and take their places in the stalls ready to begin their first service of evensong.

    Can’t help wondering if the Brewer brothers were presented by name, asked to affirm their responsibilities, had their hands shaken and God’s blessing bestowed upon them??

    Hello, Mr Dean: Can we have service where you speak about what is involved in being a Cathedral bookseller, please?

    And do these responsibilities work both ways? Does the Cathedral have any responsibilities towards those who serve there??

  55. Valiant for Truth

    From what I know, the Cathedral have shown no real pastoral concern for present or former staff. If they had real feeling for not only staff and customer needs, but also the reputation of the shop in an Anglican Cathedral and World Heritage site, they would have told the Brewers to quit in 2007. The Brewers, in turn, have shown a total disregard for any agreement by not observing the conditions of the lease with regard to stock etc in the shop, but also by not paying rent. It is not enough for the Brewers to continue paying the staff and say that is their due, and for the Cathedral to say “not our staff”. Christian is as Christian does.

  56. Dare I say that the situation at Durham seems to have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. They are as bad as the Brewers.

  57. Pingback: To all this blog’s friends and supporters, with best wishes for Christmas and the coming year « UKCBD: The Christian Bookshops Blog

  58. Pingback: To all this blog’s friends and supporters, with best wishes for Christmas and the coming year (cross posted) « SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info

  59. Sadly, Mousey is correct, and if there had been a better attitude from some, ie. fight not flight form reality, the Brewers could have been long gone from Durham.

  60. Rev Ev, they could have been out months ago ,some bury there head!s in the sand.

  61. Pingback: SocietyNorth » Durham Cathedral bookshop furore

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