Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam book shop, on Low Petergate in York

Instore Spotlight: New Fairtrade Products

At Oxfam Books Petergate we actually don’t only sell books. Well, we sell mostly books, but as you know from a previous post we also have chocolates, coffee and biscuits to boost your energy after book shopping.

But did you know that we also have games, craft kits, blankets and even flower presses?

The cutest flower press you’ve ever seen

All of our brand new products are Fairtrade. But what do we actually  mean by Fairtrade?

When you buy products with the FAIRTRADE Mark, you support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities.

The Mark means that the ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmer organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards.

The standards include:

  • Protection of workers’ rights and the environment
  • Payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price
  • An additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects

All profits from the new products sold in Oxfam shops support Oxfam programmes around the world.

Ideas for outdoor activities, ecoffee cups, colouring letters to create colourful messages, craft breweries guide, games, craft kits and toys.

So, by buying these products you support small-scale farmer organisations or plantations in poverty-stricken countries and their workers, you minimise your environmental impact and you raise money to fight poverty.

Puppets to tell your worries to, frienship bracelets, games, woven blankets, recycled textile rug, handmade phone pouches and purses…

One of our favourite products are the ecoffe cups:

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Aren’t they gorgeous?


Did you know that each year over 100 billion single-use coffee cups end up as landfill? Ecoffee have tasked themselves with reducing this number by creating their unique re-usable coffee cups!

Made with organic bamboo fibre and non-GMO corn starch Ecoffe cups are BPA and Phtalate free. Bamboo fibre being naturally sterile, Ecoffe cups won’t flavour-taint your drinks. They are also really light – just 135g – and have fully-sealable drip-proof lid.
They are even dishwasher safe!

At Oxfam, we sell Ecoffee’s three best-selling designs!




Helen Fielding is awarded an honorary degree from the University of York

On July 13th the creator of the unforgettable Bridget Jones was awarded an honorary degree at The University of York.

2In a survey conducted by The Guardian, Bridget Jones’s Diary was named as one of the ten novels that best defined the 20th century, and its author has often been credited with establishing the literary genre now known as “chicklit”, one of the most successful genre in today’s fiction industry.

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Born in Morley, West Yorkshire, in 1958, the author and screenwriter attended Wakefield Girls’ High School before studying English at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Working as a BBC Regional Researcher in 1979, she wrote and produced documentaries in Africa for Comic Relief fundraising broadcasts, and in 1989 was involved in a documentary about the South Sudan War, forming the basis for her first novel Cause Celeb (1994).

She was later approached by The Independent to write a column as herself about single life in London. Fielding created instead the exaggerated and comic character that was to make her famous. The column was only a way to finance another novel about a fictional country in Africa, but when the people started praising the column, her identity was revealed and her publishers asked her to set aside her novel in progress to publish a novel on Bridget Jones instead.

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The novel was based on an outline of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and even features a Mr Darcy, as all readers have noticed.

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Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (based on the outline of Jane Austen’s Persuasionwere published in 40 countries and sold more than 15 million copies. Their film adaptations, with Fielding on the scriptwriting team, achieved worldwide success and a third Bridget Jones novel, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was published in 2013.

A third film, Bridget Jones’s Baby – based on Helen’s 2006 columns in The Independent and bridging the gap between the second and the third Bridget Jones novels – is scheduled for release in September 2016. A book will also accompany the film!


Upon receiving her degree, the new Doctor honoris causa said: “This means a lot to me because I, and Bridget Jones I suppose, grew up in Yorkshire. My values were formed here in Yorkshire. And also some areas of myself – which are happily concealed beneath these lovely robes – which are made up of Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, various large based desserts and cakes from Betty’s café.”


For Helen Fielding, Yorkshire’s values are, amongst other things, about “bringing things down to earth with a laugh, and a sense that nothing, and no one, is perfect.”

She added in a quite moving second half of her speech: “we’re all human and flawed and we’re all able to laugh at ourselves. One of the tricks to being successful in life is knowing how to fail and get up again. As long as we all keep our sense of humour about ourselves, then we’ll all be alright.” Those words seem to sum up Bridget Jones’ message to us.


Watch the video of Helen Fielding’s receiving her honorary degree.

So why don’t you come and get your own copy of one of Helen Fielding’s novels at our shop?




Stand As One

Stand As One

Oxfam’s new campaign asks the public to Stand As One with people forced to flee their homeswe-see-people-not-refugees-boat

Since 2011, more than 65 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to terrifying conflict and violence, and millions more by natural disaster and poverty. This is the most serious displacement crisis since the Second World War

These people, no different than you and me, have seen their lives destroyed by circumstances beyond their control. Many children are surviving on their own and some children have known nothing but conflict and poverty from the day they were born.

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All these people have lost their homes, their jobs and their loved ones.

Often turned away from countries where they are asking safe refuge, they have been pushed into poverty by a situation they can do nothing about. Living in squalid conditions and facing hostility and abuse.

Too many governments are doing little to help or protect these people. At Oxfam, we want to make sure they have the safety, hope and life-saving help they need. Like you, like me, they have rights, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.


The current refugee crisis has prompted the biggest humanitarian response in Oxfam’s history. Everyday we are helping with the immediate needs of people forced to flee, whether in Africa, the Middle East or in Europe.

This is a global crisis

Therefore, this summer, we’re asking the public to Stand As One with people forced to flee their homes.

Stand As One wants to push all countries to share responsibility for keeping refugees safe, supported, and together with their families.

In September, world leaders will meet for two days of summits on refugees- the first gatherings of their kind. On the second day President Obama will host world leaders, who will be expected to make specific commitments to new funding and to welcoming more people into their countries. It is our chance to support refugees worldwide – and demand world leaders act now to protect them.

Read more on Oxfam’s website

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That is why Oxfam is appealing to you to join us this summer so we stand as one with people who are forced to flee and together demand that governments play their fair part in tackling the refugee crisis.

In the UK we’re pushing the government to play its part through an online petition

Please Sign the Stand As One petition and share the campaign on Twitter and Facebook with #StandAsOne.

Oxfam’s Stand As One video



GIFT AID- Tag Your Bag

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Donating things to Oxfam is a great way to fight poverty, be it from your unwanted books to unwanted sheet music. But I bet what many of you didn’t know is that by doing one simple thing to your donations you could raise 25% more money for Oxfam thanks to Gift Aid.

Gift Aid works in accordance with the British government, allowing registered charities to acquire the tax back on an item donated by a British tax payer. In simple terms, this increases your donation, and the amount of money that goes towards fighting poverty across the globe.

Here at Oxfam we have a nifty little “Tag Your Bag” scheme, which allows you to Gift Aid your donated items whilst also automatically gaining Nectar Points! The extra money will allow us to help feed, protect, and provide safe water and sanitation to so many more people across the globe. The scheme itself is really simple, and it only takes a few minutes to sign up!

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Either pick up a Gift Aid form in our Petergate shop, or head over to our “Tag Your Bag” page here to sign up online. As a thank you for signing up you’ll automatically receive 100 Nectar Points, and then a further 2 Nectar Points for every £1 you raise when your items are sold. Even if your items aren’t sold, we can still gain some money from reusing or recycling them. What’s more, you can also used your Nectar Points to further give back, by using them to purchase some of our Oxfam Unwrapped gifts for you or your loved one.

The “Tag Your Bag” scheme is one that benefits everyone, and most importantly, raises that little bit of extra money for much needed projects across the world, in our global fight against poverty.

So why not head over to our “Tag Your Bag” page now, and sign up?


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Browsing books can be a serious undertaking. Many often get lost gazing over our wide selection of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Naturally, once one resurfaces from their book hunting state, they are often hungry. But luckily our Petergate store has got you covered in this respect too.


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Founded in 2004, Zaytoun is a Palestinian fairtrade business that aims to bring organic produce to the UK. Working with small-scale farmers and the local communities they support, they pride themselves on helping those in poverty through trade rather than aid. Zaytoun is part of The Arab British Centre charity, which since its creation in 1997 has become an award winning, non-religious or political UK charity.

Featuring beautiful olive oils, dates and maftoul, the Zaytoun products in our Petergate store are sure to add a whole lot of flavour to your meals, whilst also being sustainable. For more information on this incredible brand, click here.


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Fun, delicious and with a variety of unique and unusual flavours, our GNAW chocolate bars are definitely what you need after a hour book shopping! Founded in 2011 in Norfolk, GNAW’s founders wanted to inject a bit of fun back into high quality chocolate. But that wasn’t all they wanted to do, and that is why they source their chocolate from fair-trade growers in West Africa and Brazil, checking that all production is fair and meets their high standards. They then use locally sourced ingredients from around the UK to mix and great the delicious flavours we see today, To top it all off, their chocolate also helps the plight of the Red Squirrels in England. Fairtrade chocolate, local Norfolk pride, environmental conservation and fun intriguing flavours, this chocolate seemingly has it all. For more information on GNAW and their work, or to see more of their products, please click here.


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Arguably a global-wide recognised brand, Divine’s chocolate goes one step further than fairtrade, and provides its farmers with company ownership, meaning that not only do they share Divine’s profit but have their own voice within the cocoa industry. Divine is a company with a big heart, who aim to truly make a difference to local farmer in Ghana’s lives, working with other charities and social business to extend their help. With more classic flavours, and a somewhat sophisticated look, Divine’s chocolate is for those wearier book hunters looking for a bit more decadence.

Grumpy Mule

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Grumpy Mule coffee care about great coffee, but they also care about the people who make it. With fairtrade coffee that is sustainably sourced, Grumpy Mule not only make sure that their coffee tastes great, but also that their farmers share in their success. Delicious coffee with a heart, perfect for those early morning book-hunting starts!





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Anyone born before the 21st century will most likely remember the country of Yugoslavia. Occupying a large proportion of Eastern Europe, it was once made up of Croatians, Serbians and Slovenians, and featured the countries we now know as Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Slovenia. A country ruled by Communists and wracked by ethnic and political conflicts throughout its existence, we often picture it as troubled and bleak. Yet Yugoslavia featured swathes of beautiful landscapes, and was rich in cultural history.

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This collection of prints by Nora Lavrin features clearly marked areas of Yugoslavia, and the crisp monochrome images are both beautiful and striking. This book is one for anyone interested in Eastern European history, or a lover of art and prints. To find out more, or to purchase this item, follow the link here.

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Oxfam- Great Yorkshire Fringe

You may have heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but perhaps you didn’t know that Yorkshire has its very own “Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival”, filled with comics, acts and entertainment from the 15 July-August 1st. Of course our lovely city of York is hosting the event again this year!


This year there is an even better line up of world famous comedians acting and putting on shows all around York. Of particular note are:

  • Sh*t Faced Shakespeare: 30-31 July 2016– Love Shakespeare? Love comedy? Love a beer or two and for things to go wrong? Well then this show is one for you. With one actor or actress from their troop drinking heavily before hand, and then the whole cast attempting to perform a Shakespeare play within an hour or so, things are sure to go wrong. Previous shows have included power tools, trumpets and one too many rude words. This is definitely one not to be missed!
  • Paul Foot: Tis A Pity She’s a Piglet- 30 July 2016– Famous for his mullet and metallic jackets, Paul Foot has featured on numerous comedic TV shows such as Mock the Week, and is again a man not to be missed!
  • Einen Evieningen Mit Das Henning Wehn: 28-30 July 2016– Known for his German stereotypes and one who’s not afraid to joke about his homeland, Henning Wehn is a regular on shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Expect perfect comedic timing and bursts of uncontrollable laughter.
  • Harriet Dyer: “We’d Prefer Someone A Bit More Mainstream”: 18 July 2016 Controversial, termed “a breadth of fresh air” and guaranteed to make you laugh out loud, what’s not intriguing about a women with many voices inside her head?


  • Love in the Time of Gilmore Girls: 26-27 July 2016– Given four stars by the British Theatre Guide, James Westow Miller’s play followings his wonderings of love and his out of luck experiences. Is it possible that watching Gilmore Girls is affecting his relationships? Watch to find out!
  • Showstopper: The Improvised Musical: 23 July 2016– already a West End success, this musical changes with impromptu songs and suggestions from the audience. Love musicals? Love comedy? This one is for you!
  • The Funny Brothers: The Pre-Reality Tour: 30 July 2016– A show where there are no rules, and a lot of winky faces, this one is sure to be a hilarious and funny experience.


  • The Arts Barge Project Presents…The Great Yorkshire Swing!: 18 July 2016– Back by popular demand, The White Rose Rotunda hosts a 1940s night to remember, make sure to bring along your 1940’s attire and help raise money for The Art Barge Project
  • Curtis Eller’s American Circus: 30-31 July 2016- Known as an “angry yodelling banjo player” who’s influences include Elvis Presley and Abraham Lincoln, Curtis Eller and his bands’ mix of 19th century American history and music is sure to intrigue!
  • Baby Loves Disco: 17 July 2016- An event for parents to enjoy with their toddlers and babies, this music event highlights the family orientation of the Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival


  • The Great Yorkshire Free Fringe Presents Scarlet SoHandsome and Fiends: 18 July 2016- Making her Great Fringe debut, with support from some of the Fringe’s greatest acts, Scarlett SoHandsome is a mix of comedy and showbiz, having worked with some of the biggest names in drag to date, she is surely one not to be missed!
  • The Amazing Bubble Show: 28-31 July 2016- Showcasing bubble tricks for the last 30 years, Louis Pearl puts on a spectacular show, expect audience participation and to be thoroughly amazed!
  • West End Magic Presents: Magic Workshops for Children: 22-24 July 2016- Fun for all the family, this event teaches children aged 7-13 all they need to know about starting magic. This show allows children to learn some nifty tips and tricks, and is sure to get creativity and confidence flowing.

Alongside these events, there are plenty of events for the whole family to enjoy, which you can check out here. The Great Yorkshire Fringe has also just announced its first dog show, truly allowing every member of your family, even the four-legged ones to enjoy! To find out more about the festival, and to buy tickets, head over to their website by following the link here.






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If you caught one of our more recent posts about our instore stamp collection then you will know that here at Petergate we don’t just stock books. As well as a great collectible stamps for sale we also have a wealth of sheet music to offer from classical, blues and jazz to the instrument specific- we have it all.


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We have a wide range of classical sheet music to choose from, with books on the music of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Handel. Along with featuring sheet music from these greats, we also have classical music based by instrument, with separate sections for wind, string, brass and piano.


As mentioned above, alongside our wide classical section, we also feature more contemporary sheet music, with music from “Rock Band 2” to a wide selection of Jazz and Blues music. Our sheet music range further covers a range of abilities, with books available for beginners, novices and the almost semi-professional.


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We are also lucky enough to have some slightly more specialist sheet music donated to us here at Petergate, with two recent donations being of particular interest. We were amazed to get a souvenir song album of some of the Beatles’ greatest hits, a great piece for anyone wishing to learn to play their songs or even just a lover of the sixties. With sheet music and images of the Beatles this is as much a item to look at as it is to utilise.

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Another piece recently donated that is as much to look at as to utilise is this Mendelssohn composition book. Ornate with thick pages and beautiful illustrations, this edition is certain to be a great present for any Mendelssohn lover!

As always, we would love to know if you purchase any of our sheet music, so please do let us know in the comments below! Alternatively send us a picture and tweet us @OxfamPetergate using the #LOVEBOOKS.


Oxfam Chalet School

Ok, so this week’s “online book of the week” isn’t actually just one book, but a series of highly collectable items. A series of 62 books in total, Elinor Brent-Dyer’s “The Chalet Schools” is extremely popular. The books were published between 1925 and 1970, and hardbacks complete with dust-jackets are highly sought after.

The Chalet School is set up in the Austrian Alps in 1925 by Madge Bettany, who uses the school to create a suitable income for her and her sickly sister. Eventually the two sister, Madge and Joey, go on to marry two doctors from the nearby sanatorium for tuberculosis, Dr. Jem Russell and Dr. Jack Maynard. The books also follow various girls throughout their time at the Chalet School, and features themes of redemption, reform and generally girls turning into “model Chalet Girls”.

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Here at our Oxfam Petergate store we were lucky enough to get a series of these books donated to us. All these books are now available from our ABE Book Shop online, and range from £75 to £290. Titles include:

Not only does our collection include 6 first editions, all with dust jackets in very good condition, but our early reprint copies feature the first two books in the series, first published in 1925 and 1926 respectively. These books are arguably a great find, and a much needed addition to any collectors collection, or those wishing to start one.

If you happen to have your own collection of “The Chalet Schools” and purchase one of our items, we would love to know in the comments below! Alternatively, tweet us as @OxfamPetergate using the #LOVEBOOKS.

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