Fire at Another British Bookseller Totally Destroys Shop

- by Michael Stillman


Berwyn's shop was a total loss (Berwyn Books Instagram photo).

Another terrible fire has struck a British bookseller and the losses are devastating, a total loss. Just last month, we wrote another such story about Cosmo Books in Wem, where losses were practically total. Now the same has struck Buckley bookseller Berwyn Books. On the night of November 16, Berwyn Books' shop went up in flames. Around 400,000 books were destroyed, including one signed by Queen Victoria and a first edition of Radio Times from 1923. While most were of a more recent vintage and more for reading than collecting, they did carry a selection of older and more valuable material, including the above items, a collection of archaeological books valued at £5,000, and various other letters and books dating back hundreds of years.


Almost 50 firefighters responded to the call but there was not much they could do. The fire was extensive and once the roof collapsed, any hope of salvaging much was gone. The following day, the structure was condemned, too unsafe for anyone to enter.


Berwyn described the situation on Facebook, saying “We’d love to tell you it was only a small incident, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The fire spread across the whole premises. We don’t really know what to say, except everything’s gone.” The statement continued, “We are extremely fortunate that no one was in the building at the time, and all our team, though obviously distraught at these events, are physically safe and well.”


The owners have not yet made an announcement as to what the future will be for the shop, but there are hopeful signs they will be able to return. They have been accepting book donations and are now looking for a place to store them. A “Donation Day” was held at the Buckley Football Club and they said “it's safe to say it was an extremely successful one.” They added, “we are feeling much more positive about our future.” They are going ahead with their annual Christmas Fair, though obviously it will not be held at their shop. Instead, the fair will be hosted at the Northrop Hall Cricket Club. The date is Saturday, December 11.


Some friends of Berwyn Books have set up a GoFundMe page and as of a few days ago, they were only a hair short of the goal of £2,800.