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Photo gallery: From fiction to factual - final push at Blickling’s eclectic bookshop to reach £100,000 target by end of February

PUBLISHED: 07:30 04 February 2015

The Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured is Chris Porter and Sheila Shambrook in front of Blickling Hall

Photo by Mark Bullimore

The Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured is Chris Porter and Sheila Shambrook in front of Blickling Hall Photo by Mark Bullimore

Archant Norfolk 2015

Dog-eared paperbacks by authors we have never heard of line the walls of musty-smelling second-hand stores in our minds.

The Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured is bookshop volunteer Sheila Shambrook.

Photo by Mark BullimoreThe Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured is bookshop volunteer Sheila Shambrook. Photo by Mark Bullimore

But not the bookshop at Blicking Hall Estate, where there is a vast and curious collection and 40,000 books have been sold in the past year.

The books are all donations and range from the common to the obscure, with rare first editions, thousands of travel books, natural history, and children’s and adult fiction.

More than 30,000 books, 30 volun-teers and crowds of visitors help the second-hand bookshop raise thousands of pounds to support the hall and gardens.

Both hardback and paperback are catalogued under the watchful eye of volunteer shop manager Chris Porter, 66, who has announced a final push to reach a £100,000 target by the end of February.

The Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured from left are volunteers Sheila Shambrook, Deirdre Page, Chris Porter and Alannah Young. 

Photo by Mark BullimoreThe Bookshop on the National Trust Blicking Hall Estate which is one of the largest secondhand booksellers in the UK with sales from the shop going into helping to run the estate. Pictured from left are volunteers Sheila Shambrook, Deirdre Page, Chris Porter and Alannah Young. Photo by Mark Bullimore

“We are the biggest second-hand book shop in East Anglia,” he said. “And probably a lot further beyond that as well.”

A former dance hall during the Second World, the shop is open to the public all year round, and has sold about 40,000 books in the last year.

All proceeds from the shop go straight back into the Blickling Estate, which encourages regular visitors to support the shop.

Prices range from £1.50 for a paperback, and some rare finds could reach a couple of hundred pounds, such as a Second World War manual of military intelligence.

The shop has paid for all-weather paths across the estate, supports on-going work to restore the walled garden and pays for the 12,000-strong collection of rare books in the estate’s library.

Popular with children, the shop’s children’s collection houses Victorian classics and modern books, with authors including Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling.

Other stock ranges from common fiction and wildlife to the bizarre, with past donations including a bible written in shorthand and a 1930s ladies’ exercise book.

Mr Porter is joined by a team of volunteers, including 70-year-old Sheila Shambrook, of Miller’s Breck, Taverham, who starting working at the shop after her retirement.

“You have to do something to keep your brain going and I love books so this was ideal for me.”

Regular customer Darryl Sillis, 63, from Horsford, likes to search for English literature books. He said: “I come about every two months. My mother is disabled so it is an easy place to come.”

The shop is open from Thursday to Sunday until February 16 when it is open seven days a week.

Are you raising money for charity? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk


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