Flooded New Bookshop faces six-month refurbishment

Flooded New Bookshop faces six-month refurbishment

The New Bookshop in Cockermouth, Cumbria, is closing on Saturday (16th January) for a major refurbishment set to last an estimated six months - but the shop is hoping it might be able to continue to trade as a "pop-up shop" in the interim.

The bookshop, which suffered heavy flooding early December in the wake of Storm Desmond, is considering relocating temporarily while necessary work is carried out on its premises on Cockermouth's Main Street.

Although the shop "patched things up and got on with it" to reopen less than a week after flooding to make the most of the run up to Christmas, the situation was always a temporary fix since everything still has to be dried and refitted. 

Owner Catherine Hetherington told The Bookseller: "I’m really upset about closing but I know it’s got to be the next stage of coming back again. It’s been a very surreal week here, because we’re trying to send stuff back and think about packing stuff up… 

"We are looking to relocate but there’s nothing definite yet. We’d love to have a little shop in town, but there’s nothing really to be had because a lot of buildings have been flooded on the street. It's in the pipeline; at the moment, though, we don’t have a definite home to go to.

"We’ve been told [the refurbishment will take] six months and lots of work needs to be done. Everything needs to come out, possibly even the floor, and then all the fixed fittings, of course, we need new shelving; and part of the building is our coffee shop, so all that’s got to come out as well. We are quite a big shop so there’s a lot of work to be done. We are covered by insurance, it just takes a lot of paperwork and a lot of time to prove for everything that we need to claim. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes working with loss adjusters, too."

The shop was awarded a £5,000 grant from thriller writer James Patterson last week, which owner Hetherington has said she intends to spend on the children's section and restarting children's book groups.

She commented: "We were thrilled about that. I was really happy, because we had considered applying for it, and then we had the news they’d awarded ourselves and Hebden Bridge bookshop £5,000 each. It’s meant I’ve not had to sit down and concentrate on it. It’s just been really kind of them to award both of our shops the money straight away. It will go a long way towards making our new children’s section really special."

Meryl Hall at the Booksellers Association, who helped to facilitate the grants, commented at the time: "We really admire the resilience of both bookshops, who are planning to refurbish and reopen despite the devastation they’ve suffered."