MORE THAN A BOOKSHOP: Kelsall And Sons, Littleborough UK


Norman Warwick is reminded of an old haunt

by  Jasmin Al-Najar on Steve Cooke´s all across the arts page

in The Rochdale Observer.

Jasmin Al Najar wrote of how the owner of a particularly much-loved bookshop, situated in Littleborough and being part of Rochdale MBC, has been reflecting on having served his community for more than forty years.

George Kelsall, 81, originally from Heywood, moved to Littleborough, six miles up the road, 55 years ago where he subsequently opened George Kelsall Booksellers on Church Street in 1979.

The popular shop sells second hand and antiquarian books, including their oldest item, a Bible dating back to the sixteen hundreds.

The now-retired bookseller said ´it has been a very enjoyable life for me and I have met some wonderful people. I have friends I would never have come to know had I not opened the shop. I still enjoy going in to the shop to help out´ !

His son, Ben, (shown left with his father) took over the shop several years ago and so George and his wife Lynne, a former schoolteacher,  at least get some time to themselves.

George, a father of three, discovered a passion for Local History when he was working as an architect in Manchester during the sixties and seventies. He developed in the work of local aithrs such as Edwin Waugh and Tim Bobbin, and began buying and selling and collecting books in his spare time. It was after twenty years of working as an architect that George, a former Heywood Old Grammar School student decided to follow his passion for books and opened his own business to do so.

Today he enjoys books of arts and illustrations by authors such as David Hockney and he also enjoys the literature of George Orwell, and his enchanting store has long been well-known among local residents, many of whom approach him to sell their books. The shelves already include subjects such as poetry, literature, natural history, transport and sport itself, with children´s books, too, being often bought at auctions.

Ben now offers a valuation service on books and has himself published numerous books with other well known local authors such as John Cole, Tim Hignett and Allen Holt.

The Kelsall family often meet book-lovers of all ages who travel from as far as Yorkshire and even counties further North, to visit the store (right). In fact, quite often people who simply passing through Rochdale on the weay to the English Coast or who are returning through Rochdale on the way from Manchester Airport after arriving back from a holiday abroad, will stop by to browse through the shop´s treasure trove of books.

Ben concurred with his father when saying ´I, too, have enjoyed running the bookshop over the past few decades. Littleborough is a great place to live and do business and we hope we have  made some small contribution to the cultural life of the community. We have made lots of friends through the shop and hope to continue doing so for many, many years.´

The Kelsall family have participated in many book fairs at place like York and Harrogate over the years. In fact they have alrerady marked this years Haydock Park Racecourse Book Fair (shown left) for in their calendar for later this year.´It seems that more than 25 booksellers, all members of The Provincial Booksellers´Fairs Association, will be exhibiting a range of their best stock of antiquarian and  second-hand books.

George Kelsall & Sons Bookshop is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, from Tuesday through Saturday.

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