A FAMOUS secondhand book shop based in an old Northumberland railway station has picked up a glowing global accolade.
Barter Books at Alnwick has been named as one of the top twenty most beautiful book stores in the world by American website Flavorpill.
Bosses at the store were last night humbled to have been included and hopeful that their presence would see more visitors flooding in.
The culture website, which is based on New York’s Broadway, put together its top twenty most beautiful stores, with Barter Books appearing at number 16 on its list.
Photos of the shop appear with the caption: “We’re suckers for rounded ceilings and decorative lighting.”
Barter Books is joined on the list by stunning stores from the likes of Belgium, Japan and Slovakia, with those included described as “bookstores so beautiful they’re worth getting out of the house (or the country) to visit whether you need a new hardcover or not.”
The shop’s co-owner Mary Manley, herself an American, found out about the accolade after being tweeted about it by someone she follows on Twitter.
She said: “We were really thrilled.
“We feel like we are not quite sure what we are doing in such exotic company.
“All those book shops are so stunning it makes me want to take a month off and go and see them, they are all far flung.
“I had a look at those photos and we feel a little bit like the poor cousin. We are nevertheless very proud of the shop and thrilled that we are in it.
“All the staff are feeling really chuffed because everybody is working really hard, it is really lovely.
“It is not going to keep people away, it might raise expectations beyond anything we could possibly give because – one of the 20 most beautiful book shops in the world – if I read it, I personally would expect to walk in and hear angels sing.
“We do all right otherwise we would not be in the list. It should bring more people to the book shop and I hope it will.”
A woman giving her name only as Linda commented on the Flavorpill website, of the Alnwick connection. She said: “I could quite happily sit for hours in any of these incredible shops but why in the picture of Barter Books was the mural, of some of the best authors ever, not included?”
David Morris also commented: “To be honest, the best thing about Barter Books is not the rounded ceiling or the decorative lighting.
“It’s the fact that it’s an old train station. There are high level model trains, there’s plentiful cheap coffee in the old waiting rooms, and it’s the very shop where they rediscovered the ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ poster! And, yeah, the mural too.”
Mary and husband Stuart Manley opened Barter Books, one of the largest secondhand book shops in the UK, in 1991.
It is based in Alnwick’s former railway station, which was built in the 1880s and closed in 1968.
A model railway runs round the store just below the ceiling and a giant author mural features 43 famous writers and characters ranging from Jane Austen to Tom Stoppard.
A famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster is also in display, having been found by Stuart in a book he bought at auction in 2000.
We were really thrilled. We feel like we are not quite sure what we are doing in such exotic company