If you go SE from Abingdon, you get to Didcot – go SW and you reach Wantage – a town I very rarely visit. It has an historic association with Alfred the Great and his statue graces the market place. After having dropped my daughter off at King Alfred’s School – the starting point for her DoE Practice Expedition this weekend, I headed into town to look around…
I’ve wanted to visit Regent Books for ages – which is a huge cave of a second-hand bookshop which also sells furniture upstairs. One of those musty rabbits warrens absolutely crammed full of books (right), it was presided over by a moustachioed old chap and his two younger sidekicks – not traditional booksellers – they are traders in books. But they do know their stock, and what they can sell it for! Having purchased £15 worth of mostly old penguins, I enquired about bringing some of my excess in to sell to them … ‘I’d have to sting you for them,’ said the old chap, ‘Got to make a living.’ Sad but true – I don’t know if I’ll be going back though.
Then, wandering around a bit more – I came across this place in a side-road…
The door said ‘open’ – but it didn’t look like either a bookshop or a library from peering in – so I didn’t go in! When I got home, I googled it and came up with this piece about the place – turns out there is a Betjeman connection (although not surprising as he was local). If I go to Wantage again, I’m going to be brave and go inside.
Have you been to any interesting second-hand bookshops lately?
9 thoughts on “Wandering in Wantage …”
I haven’t been to a second hand bookshop in ages. There are two in my small town and one is rather strange, messy and w/ an owner who seems to think everyone is there to steal. I think she just doesn’t want to sell anything.
Through a friend at work I got given a plan for touring second-hand bookshops of London in a day – it’s like the Circle Line Pub Crawl but with book-buying chucked in! Once my wallet – and my liver are ready – I intend to give it a go and see how far I get before I fall down ( on Circle Line crawl I rarely get beyond pub 12 these days!)
Sadly I don’t know of any second hand bookshops within easy reach – which is probably just as well for my bookshelves. By the way, weren’t you trying to reduce the number of books on your shelves recently !
You got me! They’re all small Penguin paperbacks – I’ll squeeze them in! 🙂
Regent Books sounds lovely Annabel – I suppose I’m lucky to have the local charity shops and Oxfam but I must make the effort to go to Felixstowe when the weather is better to visit the lovely Treasure Chest Books! The Wantage Novel library sounds fabulous!
I’ve never been to Wantage, but it looks like a lovely town to walk around. I’m in second-hand books all the time! I try not to buy too much, but I love a quick browse every week!
The sort of ring-road around the main centre of Wantage is baffling though – should have gone through the market place to the car park.
I do love a rabbit warren of books. Brighton has many a quirky secondhand or trader-esc bookshop, but I never seem to go in them. I should soon.
Let us know when you go in the novel library!
The Novel Library is a fantastic ‘Step Back in Time’ shop. The gentleman who continues to trade there is in his 80’s. It is well worth a visit as there are some real gems in the shop and the prices are very competitive. I love going and always find something that I can’t live without!