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Retail Remix

Changes in Christian Bookshops in and around Derbyshire

Christian retail in and around Derbyshire has been undergoing a number of changes over recent weeks and months.

In Burton on Trent, a new shop has just opened, bucking the trend on the high street generally.

In Derby, Wesley Owen has now closed, but there are plans afoot for a new venture for a new bookshop with the Cathedral.

And in Clay Cross, Food for Thought has marked its 25th anniversary.

Just Started trading in Burton

Burton on Trent based church, Kingdom Advance Network has just opened up a new shop to serve the town and surrounding area.

Their Resource Christian bookshop opened to the public just before Christmas, with the aim of supporting churches of all denominations. They stock greeting cards by 'Dayspring', Bibles, books, music CDs, teaching CDs & DVDs, gifts from the Holy land including anointing oils, perfumes, jewellery, prayer shawls, shofars, menorahs etc.

They are located at The Dream Centre, Hawkins Lane, opposite 'Speedy Hire' & between 'Crown Decorators Centre' & 'Heron Windows', and they also have a restaurant and soft play area.

Bookshop manager Chris Goodwin said, “We like to think that we are a little more exciting than the average Christian bookshop and so stock books & items that are more relevant to Christians living in the modern world with all its pressures.”

Kingdom Advance Network

200 Years in Derby

Until March 3rd this year there had been at least one Christian Bookshop in Derby since about 1810. It is thought that this shop was located in the Wardwick, but it subsequently relocated, eventually to 34 Irongate where it remained for about 100 years, trading as ‘The Bible and Bookshop’.

The shop was located in a handsome building which was built as a town house for the Manager of Smith's Bank (taken over on bankruptcy by the Westminster Bank, now NatWest). That house however, was built on the site of Joseph Wright's house and there is a memorial to this famous artist outside the building to this day, which is now occupied by the estate agents Boxhall, Brown and Jones.

The Bible and Bookshop, which also specialized in cookery and railway books, was managed for 20 years by Tom Howes, whose predecessor was in charge for about 35 years! In 1975, when the shop was run by an interdenominational committee, the shop management was taken over by David Hickman, who served for 22 years until retirement, when Ian McLaren took over.

For several years there was also an SPCK Bookshop in St Michael's House on the corner of Queen Street and Full Street. When this closed the premises were eventually taken over by Derby Cathedral who ran a bookshop there for a number of years until they moved it to the new Cathedral Centre opposite the Cathedral itself. Interestingly this building had previously been occupied by Clulows, a very successful independent secular bookseller, though it is now used for the Cathedral Centre Coffee House and Gift Shop.

In October 1986 the former Bible and Bookshop, taken over by Scripture Union in 1982, moved to much more spacious premises at 48 Queen Street, almost opposite the Cathedral. In 1993 the store was bought by STL (Send the Light) and re-branded as Wesley Owen. (This was a composite name, combining John Wesley and John Owen, representing two theological extremes, thereby indicating that the shop was there to be of service to the whole Christian community.)

In 2009, sadly STL went into administration and the shop was taken over by the Australian Christian retail chain Koorong. Unfortunately however, Koorong, who retained the Wesley Owen name, were unable to run the store profitably and it ceased trading on March 3rd 2012, ending over 200 years of Christian ministry on the high streets of Derby.

At the time of writing though, the Derby Cathedral authorities are intending to re-open their bookshop in the Cathedral Centre and to present this as an offering to the whole Christian and non Christian community of Derby and beyond.

Peter Goddard (Former Manager of Wesley Owen Derby)

25 Years in Clay Cross

Food For Thought has been a Christian presence for 25 years in the North of Derbyshire after opening it's door just before Christmas 1986. It is now enetering its 26th year as a Christian witness on the A61 Derby Road in Clay Cross.

The shop is an independent Christian bookshop owned by Holmgate Evangelical Church and managed by Mick Lowry-Fields.

The shop has two sections with the front being the bookshop selling a wide selection of Christian books from biographies to children’s books and reading notes to Christian living etc. A wide range of greeting cards and gifts also feature along with a changing display of local Christian artist Lesley Hollingworth’s work.

To the back of the building is a cosy coffee shop were you can relax with a drink, snack and homemade cake. You can have some quiet time or make new friends, the choice is yours.
The shop has developed the line ‘more than just a bookshop’ with pastoral care high on it's list of priorities. The beacon of light from the Christian message continues to shine brightly in the north of the county through God’s work in Food For Thought.

During the last year we have taken out many stalls to Christian and secular events. We have been warmly welcomed and supported by the events we have visited. If you would like to request a visit from us for your event please contact us as shown opposite.

It remains so important that Christians continue to support their Christian bookshops to keep the door of this specific ministry open. We would love you to pop in and see us. We are easily accessible on the High Street in Clay Cross by car or public transport from all surrounding areas. Come along and have a browse and relax in the coffee shop.

The Food for Thought Team


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Derbyshire Church Magazine

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From Derbyshire Church, Issue 124
The KAN premises in Burton
The KAN premises in Burton

The former Wesley Owen Derby store
The former Wesley Owen Derby store

Food for Thought in Clay Cross
Food for Thought in Clay Cross