Laurence Oxley's in Alresford

Laurence Oxley’s in Alresford

Diverted further south than we had first intended. Sorry Salisbury, Shaftesbury and environs. We shall return. Began the day at Laurence Oxley’s in Alresford. Usual routine there, great fluttering in the dovecots as to whether a cheque might be acceptable, discount calculated to the very last penny by the highly singular old till. But good to see the place still there – and perhaps the most pleasant town of the whole tour. Drive in, park at will, proper local shops, smiling faces. It’s not all that hard, town-planners. 

On to Alton. Stephen Dick at Holybourne Rare Books closed for the day. Did what a good bookseller should – marched across the road to the charity shop and bought three sparkling modern firsts from under his nose. [OK – slight exaggeration for effect – but three books for £3.50]. The First Lady aquires a fabulous coral-coloured skirt, which she solemnly promises to fit into one day. “Which day will that be?” robotically asks Jane, the sat-navigator, as precise and pernickety as always – but perhaps now becoming a little over-familiar. Just get us to the Petersfield Bookshop, Jane, thank you very much. 

The Petersfield Bookshop

The Petersfield Bookshop

Meet young Mark Westwood, now brought into the business and promising a far more active presence at book-fairs.

Mark Westwood

Mark Westwood

The Westwood Family Business

The Westwood Family Business

Fantastic to see another generation starting out in the trade. Rambling, sprawling shop, book-filled and great fun. Another carrier-bag for the boot. Decide against the scenic route and a famous hill – car now groaning as well as sagging, cheque-book all played-out.

Our final night on the road with a dear old friend in Tangmere. But why don’t we have a single ABA member in West Sussex? What’s wrong with you Arundel, Bognor, Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth and Worthing? Don’t you care? Aren’t you ashamed? You jolly well should be.

But in any case, we are starting to flag and about ready for home.

About Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books

Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and has been six times an elected member of the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. He was largely responsible for drafting the Association’s Code of Good Practice first introduced in 1997 (and its recent update), served as Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2001 and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society and continues to serve on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and has lectured at the universities of Cambridge, London, Reading and Sheffield, as well as at the Bibliographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Warburg Institute, the National Library of Scotland and at Gresham College and Stationers' Hall. Published work includes the compilation of fourteen ‘lives’ for the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography”, a number of articles for “The Oxford Companion to the Book” and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of “The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain”. Essays on the British map trade are also appearing in “The History of Cartography” published by the University of Chicago Press. His long-awaited “British Map Engravers”, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published to critical acclaim in 2011. He also contributed the numerous biographical notes to Peter Barber’s hugely successful “London : A History in Maps”, co-published by the British Library and the London Topographical Society in 2012.
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2 Responses to Flagging

  1. garethjames says:

    You can’t stop now. Can’t we have ‘The president and first lady at home’ as a regular blog?


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