Nicola here. My very first Saturday job, when I was sixteen years old, was in The Grove Bookshop in Ilkley, a town in Yorkshire where I grew up. (In the old photo, the shop is on the corner on the right.) In my youth the shop was owned by an impossibly glamorous lady called Audrey who was a friend of my mother. I was so excited to be allowed to work there and to spend entire days surrounded by books, selling them, talking about them. The memory is so happy and vivid for me that I can even remember what I wore as my shop “uniform”, a kilt and my best cream and blue jumper. I’m sure I looked very professional!
Over the following years I never lost my love of books and bookshops. I even worked as a volunteer in an antiquarian bookseller’s for a couple of years before the shop closed down, much to my disappointment. It was from there that some of the most prized obscure titles on my bookshelves came including “A Book of Naval Architecture,” “Minstrels from 1250” and “The History of Beards.”