A Review of 2021 in Bookshops

From Glasgow to Brighton and Fowey to Stockton-on-Tees, join us on a tour of the brilliant bookshops we celebrated in our bookshop of the month feature in 2021.

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Drake The Bookshop

Our first bookshop of 2021 was Drake the Bookshop. This quaint and quirky independent, the newest on Teesside, was founded five years ago with a sense of community at its heart. We spoke to Mel, the shop’s manager, to find out more about this cosy and well-loved family-run bookstore. Read our interview here.

The Feminist Bookshop

We headed down to the south coast in February to visit the Feminist Bookshop – an independent bookshop and plant-based café located in central Brighton. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Feminist Bookshop opened in November 2019. It works to support and promote self-identifying female and non-binary writers, creatives and entrepreneurs, as well as stocking a range of books written by and about women. We spoke to Ruth, the store’s founder and manager, to learn more about this inspiring shop and its mission. Read our Q&A here.

Lindum Books

Nestled on the historic Bailgate in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter, Lindum Books offers a carefully curated selection of new and old books in a charming browsing environment. In March, we sat down with the shop’s manager Sasha to find out more about this well-run and well-focused Lincoln independent. Read our interview here.

Rossiter Books

For April’s Bookshop of the Month, we were delighted to choose Rossiter Books, a family run business with locations in Monmouth, Ross-on-Wye and Leominster. We spoke to Andy, one of the owners, about the bookshops’ history and the role the branches play in their local communities. Learn more here.

Good Press

Our May Bookshop of the Month was Good Press, a Glasgow-based bookshop and art space specialising in independently produced publications and projects. We spoke to the soon-to-be workers cooperative about Good Press’s vision and its place in the Glasgow arts community. Read more here.

Sam Read Bookseller

In June, we headed to the Lake District to visit an award-winning independent bookshop in the heart of Grasmere. From Wordsworth, Coleridge and the Romantics, to John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, EM Forster and Arthur Ransome, Sam Read Bookseller lays claim to some impressive literary connections. Established by Sam Read in 1887, the bookshop is currently managed by Elaine. We spoke her about the shop’s celebrated history and exciting future plans.  Read our Q&A here.

Museum of the Home

We paid a visit to the newly redeveloped Museum of the Home in East London in July. This reimagined museum aims to be a place where everyone can explore what home means, consider the ways we have lived in the past and explore creative ideas about new ways of living in and looking at the world today. To learn more, we spoke to Sonia, the museum shop’s manager, about the store’s place within Museum of the Home and its plans for the future. Read our interview here.

Shrew Books

In August, we packed our bucket and spade and set off to Fowey to check out Shrew Books, a Cornish independent specialising in new releases, children’s books and nature writing. We spoke to Kate, the shop’s founder and manager, about what it’s like to run a bookshop in Fowey and the shop’s special connection to the local community. Find out more here.

Manchester Art Gallery

We headed to Manchester in September to visit the Manchester Art Gallery – the original useful museum – initiated in 1823 by artists, as an educational institution to ensure the city and all its people grew with creativity, imagination, health and productivity. Today, it is a gallery for and of the people of Manchester. We chatted to Maggi-May about what it’s like to work in such a vibrant location and what exciting plans they have in store for the gallery shop in the future. Learn more here.

The Stripey Badger

In October, we went to the Yorkshire Dales to visit The Stripey Badger, an independent bookshop, café and kitchen in the beautiful village of Grassington. Surrounded by the wonderful National Park countryside, the Stripey Badger is the perfect place to experience Yorkshire hospitality at its best – and, of course, buy a few books. We chatted with Linda and her son James about All Creatures Great and Small and how times have changed since they set up shop three years ago. Read more here.

The Forest Bookstore

At the heart of the Scottish Borders, the Forest Bookstore is an independent bookshop that was founded in 2006. It stocks a wide yet discerning range of literary fiction and non-fiction titles, with a core collection of literature, art and environment books. To find out more, we spoke with Allan, the shop’s founder and manager, about the Forest Bookstore’s place in Selkirkshire and the Borders, and its plans for the future. Read our interview here.

The Hepworth Wakefield

Our final Bookshop of the Month for 2021 was the Hepworth Wakefield, an art gallery, museum and creative space as unique as Barbara Hepworth – the woman who inspired it.
Its significant collection and compelling programme explore the connections between the local and the global, and blend the contemporary with the historical. We sat down with Rosie, the shop’s Retail Development Manager, to find out more. Read our Q&A here.