Finding out about the book business

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Inner Wheel Club of Morpeth

THE 93rd birthday celebration was held at Morpeth Rugby Club at the beginning of May.

The President Mrs Vivien Scott welcomed the District Chairman Mrs Norma Fay, the President of Morpeth Rotary Club Mr Laurie Walker, the speakers Mr and Mrs Stuart Manley, members from other clubs and their friends.

A most special guest was Mrs Emily Manley, the President’s mother, who would be celebrating her 99th birthday.

After the lighting of friendship candles, District Chairman Norma spoke of Morpeth’s work for overseas charities, Water Aid and local charities.

President Vivien’s charity is Wansbeck Oasis.

The President of Rotary then spoke of Inner Wheel’s participation in their activities and thanked members for their support.

After the cutting of the birthday cake, Mary and Stuart Manley talked about Barter Books.

Situated in the old Alnwick Railway Station, Barter Books was begun in 1990 where there had been a model toys business since 1984.

To diversify and expand was a necessity so with Stuart’s business knowledge and Mary’s background in fine art and knowledge of a second hand bookshop in Greenwich Village, New York, they took the plunge.

Now Barter Books is internationally known. It has won the Vintage Shop of the Year award.

The lay-out is very pleasing.

A model railway runs around the perimeter of the shop above head height and a fascinating mural painted by a local artist excites much interest.

The thrill of finding a first edition Jane Austen and visits and talks by Michael Morpurgo, Joanna Trollope and other famous people in the book world have added to the interest and vitality of the project.

Stuart Manley then told us about finding a Second World War poster at the bottom of a box of books, Keep Calm and Carry On. After putting it on display many people asked if they could have a copy so 500 were printed. So popular was it that 100,000 were soon sold.

Although attributing the success of Barter Books to an excellent shop director, good staff, excellent location and an encouraging public, there is no doubt the Manleys’ love of their work and inspirational ideas spearhead everything.

They were warmly and appreciatively thanked by Mrs Margaret Miller, Vice President of the club.

Afternoon tea followed, plus much convivial chatter.

Mrs Evelyn Hudson thanked everyone on behalf of the guests.

President Vivien, after her closing remarks, presented flowers to District Chairman Norma, Mrs Mary Manley and her mother, who was our honoured guest.