Foyles staff gathered to mark the service of bookseller Giles Armstrong yesterday (8th September), who is celebrating 50 years of working at the retailer.
Armstrong, who is manager of the Foreign Languages Department at Foyles Charing Cross Road, joined the company in 1965, when it was run by Christina Foyle.
The 74-year-old was yesterday joined by his family, fellow colleagues and Christopher Foyle on the fifth floor gallery at Foyles Charing Cross Road to mark the achievement.
Foyles c.e.o, Paul Currie, said: “What you represent is extraordinary continuity and loyalty which we must celebrate. The Queen is celebrating nearly 60 years’ reign now and we have been lucky to have 50 years of you. Continuity is a great thing.”
He added: “You have worked at Foyles through some interesting times. You embrace change and technology and recognise that things that were around 50 years ago are no longer relevant which is an amazing credit to you. Many of them have been replaced, however you cannot be replaced. It is a credit to you that of a survey of 107 things customers like about Foyles – you were listed as one of them.”
Giles Armstrong (centre) and Christopher Foyle (right) with the Foreign Language team at Foyles
When speaking to The Bookseller, Armstrong said technology was a factor that had changed the most since his time at Foyles.
“Everybody who works for Foyles knows that you are working for a very important cultural institution,” he said. “We have embraced technology and we have done it well. I fully believe we can cope with and adapt to the changing mechanics in the world by knowing what we know best and doing what we do well. I have always believed there is a place for a specialist.”
Armstrong, who also writes plays, said that despite reaching 74-years of age, he had no imminent plans to retire: “I shall work until my colleagues tell me I am out of touch and past it,” he said.
He added that during his time at Foyles, he had met some “wonderful people” including the King of Tsonga, the Queen of Spain, the Prime Minister of Israel and Margaret Thatcher.