Our latest news
A decade of YABS
November saw 42 would be booksellers gather in York for the annual rare book trade educational training programme YABS. It was our last seminar for the foreseeable future, as we're stepping aside to concentrate on family commitments and our new high street premises in Whitley Bay.
Anthony and I founded YABS
in 2013 (with a colleague Jonathan Kearns), and ran the first seminar in 2014. We were touched to receive a heart felt thank you for our work on the programme from the ABA
President, Deborah Coltham.
"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the creation of YABS has been the single most influential and ground-breaking book trade initiative to have started in the last 50 years! Drawing inspiration from CABS, it took incredible drive, determination, not to mention hard work and graft to turn what was a seed of an idea into reality. Watching how YABS has grown and expanded from 2014, when together with Jonathan Kearns you all conceived the idea, to what is now an internationally recognised seminar, is a testament to your active leadership, passion and dedication.
The success of YABS was made abundantly clear to me at the recent ILAB President's meeting. The ABA, and indeed the whole of the UK trade, is in the enviable position of having a wealth of new dealers entering the book trade, many now PBFA members, and several who are knocking on the door of joining the ABA... many [international trade associations] are seriously considering setting up similar programmes. YABS is the envy of many, and an inspiration to all, and we have you both to thank for being in this healthy and vibrant position"
We're honoured to have helped so many people get a start in the rare book trade.
Christmas opening hours
We're here for rare, collectable and curious books right up until Christmas Eve. Here are our festive opening hours 2023
Sat 23rd 10 - 5pm
Sun 24th (Christmas Eve) 10 - 2pm
Mon 25th (Christmas Day) Closed
Tues 26th (Boxing Day) Closed
Wed 27th Closed
Thurs 28th 10 - 5pm
Fri 29th 10 - 5pm
Sat 30th 10 - 5pm
Sun 31st (New Year's Eve) Closed
Mon 1st (New Year's Day) Closed
Normal opening hours resume on Tues 2nd Jan: Mon to Sat 10-5
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy & prosperous New Year.
From all at Keel Row Books- Anthony, Alice, Caroline, Averil, Stacey and Ame.
Late night Christmas shopping on Park View
Come and join us on Thurs 30th Nov & Fri 1st Dec for late night Christmas shopping on Park View. It's a lovely festive evening with lots of independent shops, bars and cafes open late. There's sustainable shopping, craft makers, delicious food & drinks and handpicked gifts along the street- not to mention books & more from us and our friends at the indie new bookshop The Bound.
We'll be open til 8pm each evening. See you there.
Bookshop to become destination after move to popular Whitley Bay shopping street
We chatted to Chronicle journalist Daniel Hall about our move to Park View, Whitley Bay.
Read the full article here
Keel Row Books on Park View is NOW OPEN
What a month.
We've spent five weeks working day and night to finish our shop fit and get our books transferred from North Shields to the beautiful new Park View bookshop.
Thank you to everyone who's helped- family, friends, staff, customers, neighbours and friends of friends. You know who you are! Not mention all the tradespeople & professionals who have worked on the project since October 2022.
We are NOW OPEN at out new Whitley Bay premises. Anthony & Alice
So, it's taking a little longer than anticipated to complete our new premises and move 40,000 books into the new bookshop...who knew??!!
We're working as fast as we can- pop back here for updates. It'll not be too much longer. Alice & Anthony
We're closed for relocation from Sun 2nd to Sun 23rd July
Keel Row Books is relocating.
We've set sail from North Shields to Whitley Bay. Our North Shields shop is now closed- we'll reopen in Whitley Bay on the 24th July.Business move timetable:Sat 1st July:
Last trading day in North Shields Sun 2nd to Sun 23rd July:
Business relocation, both premises closed (Book orders will be dispatched, and contact by email/phone will continue as usual during the business relocation)Mon 24th July:
Open for business at 93-97 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RJ.
PS Read all about it in Cultured North East
Keel Row Books is moving!
Friends, family and our regular customers will know that we have been working on a BIG project since the start of 2021.
We had walked past the old Boots the Chemist on Park View (Whitley Bay) for many years and saw how much potential the property had. We had no idea quite how amazing it was until we had a chance to inspect it with a view to rent. We contacted the previous owner, asking if they might consider selling instead.
Anthony and I couldn't have imagined that short letter would lead to the opportunity to purchase one of the loveliest old commercial properties in Whitley Bay. The building has oodles of interesting period features, and during the building renovation we uncovered some fascinating old curios from its long history as a pharmacy.
This summer, the building will become a new home for Keel Row Books. We open on Monday 24th July, fingers crossed!
Our new Park View location is in the heart of Whitley Bay, home to lots of great independent shops, cafes and bars. Not to mention the award winning bookshop The Bound, which is just across the street. Keel Row Whitley Bay will keep all the best bits of Keel Row Books North Shields: rooms to explore, lovely period features, library ladders to climb plus heaps of books, maps, prints and ephemera. And our new premises will be carbon neutral, part of our business journey towards net zero.
Our customers have been excited about the new Park View bookshop, but many have asked whether we will keep our North Shields shop open too.
When we embarked on this project two and half years ago, it was with the intention of running two bookshops, one in North Shields and one in Whitley Bay. The economic climate has changed greatly over that time. Interest rate hikes, rising energy costs & staff wages (not to mention rates bills) mean that running two bookshops is not viable. The last trading day in our North Shields bookshop will be Saturday 1st July. Thereafter, our North Shields building will be staff only behind-the-scenes storage and office. This hasn’t been an easy decision to make and we’re genuinely sad to be closing our doors in North Shields. We thank all our local North Shields customers for their support and custom over the years, and we hope you’ll come and see us in our new home on Park View.
Business move timetable:
Saturday 1st July: Last trading day in North Shields
2nd to 23rd July: Business relocation, both premises closed (Book orders will be dispatched, and contact by email/phone will continue as usual during the business relocation)
Monday 24th July: Open for business at 93-97 Park View, Whitley Bay, NE26 3RJ.
We’ll put more updates on here over the coming weeks. Thank you to Jacqui Martin Design and Joanna from Envision Design for their design input on the new premises.
It's Independent Bookshop Week, and what better to mark the event than take the first step to running your own bookshop?
YABS is a 3.5 day course aimed at people who'd like to start (or develop) their own rare (or second-hand) book business/career/bookshop. Taught by leading members of the UK and international book trade, the course is aimed at both complete beginners and more experienced book dealers continuing their professional development.
Find out about YABS and book a place here
And find out more about our involvement here
There's a flurry of Bank Holidays this May. We'll be closed on each of the three Bank Holidays so we can have a few days off with family and friends.
Monday 1st May, closed
Monday 8th May (King's Coronation), closed
Monday 29th May, closed
Easter weekend opening hours
We're taking a well deserved break over the Easter weekend. The bookshop will be closed on Easter Sunday, and both the Bank Holidays, Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Thursday 6th April 10 - 5
Good Friday 7th April closed
Easter Saturday 8th 10 - 5
Easter Sunday 9th April closed
Easter Monday 10th April closed
Tuesday 11th April 10 - 5
Have lovely break everyone, hope the weather holds up!
Upcoming book events
It's bookfair season, and that means booksellers on tour. There are bookfair events nationwide, bringing first editions, rare & fine books, out-of-print titles plus maps, prints, and ephemera to towns and cities all over the UK.
We're going to exhibiting at a number of events over the coming weeks.
Harrogate PBFA Bookfair
Friday 17th March 12 noon - 6pm
Saturday 18th March 10am - 4pm
Pavilions of Harrogate
Edinburgh ABA Bookfair
Friday 24th March 12 noon - 7pm
Saturday 25th March 10am - 4pm
Radisson Blu, High Street, Edinburgh (off the Royal Mile)
Oxford PBFA Bookfair
Saturday 22nd April 12 noon - 6pm
Sunday 23rd April 10am - 4pm
Oxford Brookes University
For a full list of the bookfairs we'll be attending, visit our book events
The Chronicle's World Book Day guide to North East's finest independent bookshops
Thank you... and what's next for 2023
We'd like to say a big thank you for supporting Keel Row Books in 2022.
Whether you've bought, sold, browsed or clicked, we appreciate your valued support. We just couldn't do it without you!
What does 2023 hold? As well as keeping collectors and readers supplied with books, we continue to focus on positive changes for our business. We have audited our carbon footprint, with a little help from Eugene Bryce
, the Booksellers' Association
, and the Business Factory
. We are ready to go with our NetZero ambitions.
We also continue to direct and teach at YABS
, the not-for-profit course we founded in back 2014 to help would-be booksellers get a foothold in the rare book trade. 38 students attended the YABS in 2023, which is now organised by the ABA.
We also have another important business project underway, more on this in the spring!
Wishing you all a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year. Here's to more downtime too. Pictures from one of our annual jaunts to the north coast of Northern Ireland. They show Sheep Island from the beach below Larrybane Quarry, at Carrick-a-Rede.
Christmas opening hours
We're here for rare, collectable and curious book gifts right up until Christmas Eve.
Festive opening hours 2022.
Sat 24th (Christmas Eve) 10-1.30pm
Sun 25th (Christmas Day) Closed
Mon 26th (Boxing Day) Closed
Tues 27th (Christmas Day bank holiday) Closed
Wed 28th Closed
Thurs 29th 10-5pm
Fri 30th 10-5pm
Sat 31st (New Year's Eve) Closed
Sun 1st Closed
Mon 2nd (New Year's Eve bank holiday) Closed
Tues 3rd Normal opening hours resume: Mon to Sat 10-5
A new shopfront for the bookshop
Our bookshop has a lovely new traditional style shopfront. Many thanks to local joinery firm Hastie Burtons for the perfect finish, and also to North Tyneside Council for financial support through the Retail & Town Centres Shopfront Grant scheme.
The debate on whether to leave the shutter box red, or paint it green to match continues...
Deliveries in October & November
If you buy online this autumn, order delivery is likely to take longer than usual. Both Royal Mail & Parcelforce are on strike on multiple days over the busy months of October and November.
During the strike, we'll continue to dispatch daily, and will bring our parcels to the Post Office ourselves on strike days. If you live in the north east, consider coming to visit us in person to avoid postage delays. Give plenty of time for order delivery (from any company, not just us!) and if you need an order dispatched urgently, give us a call on 0191 2960664 and we'll do our best to get it to you quickly.
Slow delivery is likely to affect many UK businesses. With Royal Mail alone accounting for over 50% of the UK delivery market, alternative courier companies may well struggle to keep up with demand, as businesses seek other ways to deliver their orders over the strike period.
The CWU are striking over a 2% imposed pay deal, at a time when RPI inflation is currently running at 11.8 per cent. Royal Mail has announced Group profits of £758 million.
Deep dive into local history
It has been our pleasure to deliver 15 large boxes of manuscript (handwritten) material to the Northumberland County Archives at Woodhorn Museum this week.
The material came from the firm of Dickson, Archer and Thorp, solicitors of Alnwick, Northumberland. There were some 230 manuscript volumes, dated from 1768 through to 1904. The archive is an incredibly detailed record of the inner workings of probably the most important legal practice in Northumberland during the 19th century, and consists of Letterbooks, Daybooks, Ledgers, Stamp Ledgers, Account Summaries, Cash Books, Bill Books, Solicitor's Summaries, Case Books, Diaries and numerous other legal volumes, Deed books, Notes From the Quarter Sessions Records and County Rate Valuations.
It covers everything from the daily minutiae of a country lawyer's office, through to the decades long business dealings of some of the most important people in the County. It is highly unusual for such a comprehensive archive to survive and will be of great interest to local, legal, social, and economic historians.
There were also 28 volumes of County Rate Valuations, dated 1830 - 1869. These provide a fascinating glimpse into the condition and ownership of property in the county of Northumberland in the mid 19th century. The five Wards covered are Bamburgh & Glendale, Coquetdale, Morpeth, Castle (covering Newcastle upon Tyne and Tynemouth) and Tynedale, with each ward split into Divisions, and further subdivided into Parishes.
When we acquired this large archive a number of years ago, we made a decision there and then not to advertise it on the open market. It was important to us that it remained where it belonged, in Northumberland. When the Head of Archives in Northumberland expressed her interest in acquiring the material, we agreed to hold it in reserve whilst funding was secured.
There is a wealth of fascinating material within the archive, from an early form of pre-nuptial agreement making provision for the prospective bride in the event of her widowhood, to a mother who spent her children's share of her late husband's estate when she should have been safeguarding it for them, to a disturbance in Silver Street in Durham which led to four men falsely imprisoning another, telling him “he was their prisoner and if he strived they would blow his brains out”. Deeper study will reveal the lives of many people who lived and worked in Northumberland in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, from farmers, landowners, business owners, law-abiding rate payers to ne'er-do-wells and criminals.
We hope the archive will be an important resource for the people of Northumberland. Please contact the Northumberland Archives
at Woodhorn if you're interested in viewing the recently acquired material.
Found in a book
We've found all sorts of stuff in books, from family photos to shopping lists to a single crisp £50 note hidden inside a dustjacket.
A few months back we had a rather special find- a 200 year old handwritten receipt tucked inside a book from an auction lot we had purchased some time ago. Dated 21st September 1822, it had been written by acclaimed Newcastle wood engraver, artist and illustrator Thomas Bewick, to a Mr Robert Donkin.
A little bit of digging in Tattersfield's Bewick bibliography turned up a mention of the very same receipt in the archives at Cherryburn, Bewick's birthplace, now managed by the National Trust. We established the receipt had featured in a Cherryburn Times article over 30 years ago. It was then tucked inside a Bewick reference book, where it remained until we bought the book in an auction lot.
Anthony was delighted to be able to return the manuscript receipt to Cherryburn when he attended the recent Bewick Society AGM. Manuscript items handwritten by Bewick are quite valuable, not to say scarce. It's now back in the archive where it belongs.
We're partially closed Mon 12th to Fri 16th Sept
It's been measured, cut, sprayed and glazed. Our new shop front is being installed this week. We'll be partially closed for installation Mon 12th - Fri 16th Sept. We'll be accepting and dispatching online & phone orders as usual. If you've travelled a distance to visit, we can allow access to upstairs only, if you're local please hang on 'til next week. Ring us on 0191 2960664 to arrange access. It's gonna be messy...
Best bookshops in Newcastle upon Tyne
It turns out many of the best bookshops in Newcastle Upon Tyne aren't in Newcastle at all. Here's a good round up by John Tomaney for the London School of Economics. And yes, we are in it! Best Bookshops in Newcastle upon Tyne
August Bank Holiday
Monday 29th August is the last Bank Holiday of 2022. Here's hoping the sun shines! We'll be closed on the Bank Holiday Monday for a well deserved day off. The bookshop will reopen on Tuesday 30th at 10am. Our usual opening hours are Mon to Sat, 10-5.
Save the date: York Book Fair
Are you ready for another helping of the magnificent York Book Fair?
Better save the date- this year's event is on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th September. All the usual suspects will be there, with 200+ dealers, floors of books, with everything from great and glorious first editions, beautiful antiquarian books to unique manuscript material. There are also maps, prints, ephemera, postcards, photographs, and plenty of book chat...
Friday 9th Sept 10am - 7pm. Saturday 10th Sept 10am - 5pm, at the Knavesmire Suite, York Racecourse, YO23 1EX. A shuttle bus will be running to and from York train station. For complimentary tickets and more, visit yorkbookfair.com
*Postponed til September* We're getting a new shopfront.
We're getting a lovely new traditional hardwood shopfront installed. Our current uPVC one was installed by a previous bookshop owner in the 1990's, and it's always looked out of place on an 1840's building. The new one will be more appropriate for our location on the edge of the Camp Terrace Conservation Zone, opposite historic Christchurch.
The shopfront installation is scheduled for Mon 8th, Tues 9th and Wed 10th August. The main room of the bookshop will be closed, the rest of the bookshop will be open. Access by the side door on the lane.
North Shields Metro station is closed 16th-29th July
No Metro trains will run through our nearest station, North Shields, between 16th and 29th July. The line is closed from St. James to Tynemouth for a bridge replacement. If you're visiting by Metro, travel from Newcastle and north towards the coast, then jump off at Tynemouth Station. It's a pleasant 15 minute walk to the bookshop through Northumberland Park and then on along Tynemouth Road. Apparently there isn't a bus replacement service during the fortnight closure, but local services are accepting Metro tickets.
Attend #YABS22 for free with a scholarship. Applications close Friday 15th July 2022!
YABS teaches would-be booksellers the nuts and bolts of the rare and second-hand booktrade. It’s a popular educational programme that teaches aspiring booksellers the basics of the rare book trade. Bookselling procedures and techniques are discussed through a series of lectures, discussions, and practical hands-on workshops. The focus is on successful post-pandemic cataloguing, pricing and bookselling.
Find out more about our involvement in launching YABS
here. And there’s information on the scholarships, and how to apply for them here