The Old Pier Book Shop, Morecambe
The Old Pier Book Shop on Morecambe's Marine Road (the main drag) makes Glasgow’s Voltaire and Rousseau look positively organised. After browsing through the boxes and shelves outside I was tempted in, a little daunted by the amount of books inside. Open the door and the smell hits you, that unmistakable booky odour. Alan Bennett was blaring out on the radio, which couldn't have been more appropriate.
Inside, it is huge in a Tardis-like fashion. A series of doorways (all framed by books, even along the top) lead into each other, creating a strange Hall of Mirrors effect. Because there were so many books on show I had pretty much convinced myself that the book about motorway services stations that I'd been looking for would be there somewhere. So I looked for the travel section but nothing seemed to be in any particular order. There are some shelves that might possibly be a war section, and some vaguely historical titles but in the main, any subject arrangement appears coincidental, at best.
There are no signs or labels either, which in a bookshop this size seems foolhardy if not downright wilful. No matter though, because the owner, Tony Vettesse claims he knows where everything is. His parents ran the premises as a cafe called The Ramblers for years. When they retired Tony decided to give the second-hand books that he'd been slipping into the cafe their own space. 60,000 titles later and here we are.
Burrowing into the interior, I quickly lost my travelling companion along with all sense of time and space. The volume of books and the labyrinthine layout of the shelves make it disorientating very quickly. It was a relief to reach the sci-fi section at the back and be able to ignore a few bays. Randomly, over by what I believe may be windows is a stuffed goose.
It was one of the few shops in Morecambe open after 5 on a Saturday and I wondered if we'd be locked in. The proprietor was so hemmed in by stock that I'm not even sure he noticed us arriving. It's quite possible that down the back there's a little Japanese soldier still fighting the war. I did wonder if they ever close, as the range of stock outside looks like it would be a bit tricky to secure. I'd just stay open I think. Books make great pillows.
The Old Pier Book Shop photos
More of Anne's Old Pier Book Shop photos
How to get there
The Old Pier Book Shop is at 287 Marine Road, Morecambe, Lancashire LA4 5BY. There are no longer any piers in Morecambe. The bookshop is where the Central Pier was.
- Morecambe Today: Doing it by the book - interview with the owner, Tony Vettesse.