Alnwick is a lovely little town in north-east England and boasts one of the largest, if not THE largest, collection of second-hand books. When the town’s railway station closed it was purchased and became Barter Books.
The interior of the station is pretty much how the station was on its closure. Lots of little rooms have been converted into coffee shops; the overall roof spanning the platforms has been retained; and, on cold days, there are roaring cola fires in original fireplaces.
There’s no pressure to buy anything – either food, drink or books – and local residents often spend a morning perusing and reading. Much has been done to tell the story of the railway, which was part of the North Eastern Railway until 1923, when it was absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway. In 1947, all railways in the UK were nationalised and in the mid-1960s, the line into Alnwick was withdrawn.
There are three installations in the shop; a role call of all staff who worked at the station; the second is a mural showing a collection of authors whose books regularly grace the bookshelves; and there is an interpretation of an illuminated installation by Mark Hanford exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York and adapted to reflect Tennyson’s poem, “Sunset & Evening Star”.
Barter Books is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area… make sure you’ve got plenty of time and cash!
All images © Tony Harratt/The Fuji Freak – 2016
NOTES: All the images in this series are “straight from the camera” except for a crop and a slight adjustment of the black & white points.