Abbey Bookshop Golden Jubilee
Wednesday, 22nd March 2006
The building which now houses the Bookshop was constructed in the 1830s by Edward Blore, Abbey Surveyor, as an office for the Chapter Clerk.
It had a passage linking it to his home at 21 Dean's Yard. When the Chapter Office moved into number 21 in 1954 it was decided to convert the old office area into a bookshop. Previously books and cards had been sold within the Abbey, which provoked some criticism. The Bookshop was opened on 26th March 1956 so celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year.
Over the years the bookshop has grown and expanded to meet the demands of tourism. Originally it was mainly a local bookshop to boost profits during the non-tourist months - of which there were seven back in the 50s and 60s. The only extras it sold were things like postcards, wrapping paper and greeting cards. The guide books were in English, with only one "foreign" guide book - a pamphlet with a few pictures and a sentence under each one in the most common foreign languages.
In the late 70s, tourism really started to increase, and the "bookshop" grew into a shop selling souvenirs, variations of guidebooks and other non-bookshop related items. There are plans to change the name on the outside of the shop to read "shop" rather than "bookshop" to reflect this evolution.