Here is a guest post from Malcolm Lorimer. It has also been submitted to the Methodist Recorder:
Many people will remember the Mow Cop book sales run by Rev’d Stephen Hatcher on behalf of Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist Chapel and Museum. When I heard that Stephen was retiring I HAD AN IDEA. Instead of moving over 250 banana boxes full of books into a chapel for the annual sale why not move the people into a bookshop! Along with Elaine and Richard Pearce who are the editors of the Ranters’ Digest (a publication of The Friends of Englesea Brook) we set up and run the bookshop.
I have always had a desire to run a second-hand bookshop and just when Second Hand Bookshops are closing around the country the Methodist Church opens one! Since March 2012 we have opened the Methodist Chapel at Hassall Road Alsager (part of the Cheshire South Circuit) for Second Hand Book sales. The Chapel is situated on the edge of Alsager only 2 miles from Junction 16 of the M6. The chapel was redundant but it is proving a useful “Fresh Expression”. There are over 40,000 books in subject order and there is everything from Early History to modern paperbacks.
We have taken out most of the pews and installed bookshelves in the church and schoolroom. We also have two sheds for extra books.
All the profits from book sales help support Englesea Brook Museum. This is a place where you can explore the story of working-class religion in the 19th century particularly as it was experienced by a group called the Primitive Methodists.
There are large sections on Christianity and Theology with particularly strong sections on Methodist and Anglican Theology. We have over 300 Bible commentaries as well as sections on Worship/Bible Studies/Preaching/Music and Drama and also sections on Healing/Evangelism/ Leadership Spirituality/Pastoral/ Ethics/ Church History/Christian Biography.
Methodism. We have a large Methodist collection which contains over 500 church histories/Methodist history throughout the world/John Wesley-Biographies/journals etc. Also local histories of chapels etc. Not to be forgotten good sections on History, Art, Poetry, Gardening, Classics, Local History, Travel, Geography, Childrens’ books and an extensive area devoted to Crime (over 1000 books) and General Fiction. The customers have commented that they like the fact that books are in subject order and even for fiction –alphabetical!! Refreshments are available and there is a place to relax and read.
We are fortunate that people give us the books and we have been blessed with the donations of clergy when they retire. Recently we took delivery of a huge collection of history books written in the last twenty years. I never knew there was so much written on the Tudors!
I help sort the books and you never know what you may find. Recently we had 50 books on building model ships!!! Lately I was going through an old tatty box with what looked like old magazines and nothing special in particular when there at the bottom were two children’s books in pristine condition – 19th century French lithographs which fetched £200 each at auction. We accept all kinds of books from modern novels to old and dusty theology. Some of the most rare books are put on the Internet. We are hoping to do an auction this September. Books will be listed on our website.
We are blessed with a team of volunteers who work tirelessly arranging and selling the books, moving boxes and making tea and occasionally serving cakes to customers. They come from all denominations and all have a love of books and working in the shop.
We have found that it is not only a bookshop but a real “Fresh Expression” of the church with the conversations we have with customers. One of our most popular sellers is Bibles. We have probably 30 different versions at any one time-(All new or nearly new). People come and ask questions. We can share our faith when we are asked to and customers like the friendly atmosphere.
We have services at special times in the chapel (the organ is still working) and this year we hope to have monthly discussions on books and local authors.
We open Friday and Saturday each week 10am-2pm, all Bank Holiday Mondays and by appointment. In the summer we have books on tables outside It is a poor week if less than 50 people visit the bookshop. We don’t throw books away to landfill but some go to Africa and others are pulped to go to making new books. Books can be accepted, but we don’t usually collect unless it is a special library.
KEEP IN TOUCH.
You really need to visit the bookshop if you can. If you are looking for a particular book or subjects which interest you we can let you know when a particular book comes in. Let us know your wants and what you are interested in and we will send E-mail alerts when books come in on your subject. Why not keep in touch by our Blog on Facebook. Books and special sales will be advertised there. The bookshop is certainly worth a visit this summer.
Facebook page: alsagerbookemporimforengleseabrook
Rev Malcolm Lorimer. firstname.lastname@example.org.