Happy Birthday – The White Horse Bookshop celebrates 75 years!Seventy five years, five owners and two locations – The White Horse Bookshop has an impressive lifespan. “There are not many independent bookshops that are this old,” commented Angus Maclennan, Manager.
Unbelievably, the bookshop first opened in the middle of the war, in 1943, in The Parade. It moved to its present location, a sixteenth century townhouse in Marlborough in 1949. Angus told marlborough.news, “It’s difficult to imagine what a bookshop was like in 1943. In the current climate it’s amazing that we have survived so long.”
As part of the seventy five year celebrations the bookshop is displaying a book published every year since 1943 reflecting a range of genres and tastes.
Debby Guest, who works in the shop, said, “The books are displayed around the shop, and we’ve had fun selecting the titles, wallowing in nostalgia and occasionally being astonished at how long ago – or how recently – something was published. We hope our customers will enjoy browsing, reminiscing and buying from the range of books we’ve chosen.“
“Some years were more difficult than others,” explained Angus. “2003 was a particularly good year with ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’ and ‘The Kiterunner’ being published. It was quite tricky finding a book for 1943 as not much was published during the war. Eventually Enid Blyton’s ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ was chosen.”
The seventy five books will be on display throughout the summer holidays. Staff in the shop invite customers to go in and reminisce with them about what they read, when they read it and even what they were doing when a certain book was first published.
It’s also an opportunity to buy a new copy of a favourite book, or to buy a birthday present recipient the book that was published the year they were born.
Debby explained, “Time plays tricks on us all, and revisiting these titles has been like getting older and looking at oneself in the mirror – it’s either a tremendous shock, or a pleasing surprise, or occasionally both.”
“Reading is about timing as much as anything, and sometimes we grow out of a title or an author, or we re-read something that hasn’t worked for us first time round and learn to love it.”
“It might be the same for you, do come in, have a browse and buy some books, to help us stay in business for another 75 years. And if you want to bring cake to help us celebrate, we’d be very happy.”