Oxfam Bookshop, Petergate York

This is the blog for the Oxfam Book Shop on Low Petergate in York



What We Know Now About Bookbinding

 Last night we were fortunate to host a demonstration and talk on the craft of bookbinding. The talk was given by Brian Cole from The Castle Bindery, Stonegate, York. Often in the shop we come across  books that in a varying state of repair without necessarily thinking about the techniques involved in making them.

Brian’s talk was both fascinating and enlightening. he gave us an overview of the development of the book through history from the use of papyrus in ancient Egypt to the book as we now know it.

He also showed us various methods that he uses to restore books. And managing to clear up the distinction between a folio, quarto and octavo.

If you’re interested in binding or want to get something restored his workshop within the antiques centre on Stonegate is well worth a visit.


A History of Bookbinding

 If you’ve been down Petergate way today you’re probably wondering about all the old books in our window. They are in the window firstly because we have them and think they are lovely and something worth showing off. Secondly we have an event running on Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. As part of Oxfam Bookfest (which starts today) local Bookbinder Brian Cole from The Castle Bindery on Stonegate, will be giving a talk and demonstration on the history of bookbinding. We are all extremely excited by the event.

Of course all the books are for sale they are priced from £5 up to £100 so even if you can’t make it to the talk you can always pop in and buy yourself a lovely and old book.

Oxfam Bookfest 2011 – Upcoming events @Petergate

Oxfam’s Upcoming Bookfest

It’s that time of year again! The Britain-wide Oxfam Bookfest is approaching. I know, better than Christmas, right? Well, for a lot of people throughout the world, it probably is. This year it will be from 2-17 July, and as the signs of last year’s event proclaimed: “All our books have a happy ending!” All the books donated and sold through Oxfam shops help to make the world a better place. With children in Africa receiving education and clean water, adults learning valuable commerce skills, and other poverty-fighting operations going on at home and away Oxfam does much to ensure happy endings everywhere.

Although the Oxfam Bookshops scattered about the UK make it clear that books provide an excellent way of helping others- easy to donate and very much wanted by the public- the regular Oxfam shops of clothes, accessories, and hats often carry books as well. These shops need the increased awareness brought on through the Bookfest event to remind people of the important role donated books play in the fundraising for world aid. Places like the beloved Hay Festival provide more opportunities to donate and help out the Oxfam cause.

The Bookfest offers different events throughout the country, each organized by each shop. Even famous people can drop by! I would definitely want to meet Bill Nighy! According to the website: “Now in its third year, the two–week festival will run from 2–17 July 2011 and will feature more than 400 local promotions and book-related events which will take place in Oxfam shops and other venues across the country.

The events will feature a host of authors, poets and celebrities, and activities for the whole family.”

So, whether you donate the books or give money by buying the books, you can always drop by and see what’s happening at your local Oxfam. And perhaps pick up the new OxTravels (wink wink).

Remember: 2-17 July!




Let Us Know About Bookfest 2011!

Every year (well, for the last couple years but its going strong) Oxfam has organized a fortnight of book promotion for all its shops. There are events and activities planned nationwide – all in the name of promoting the charity and the importance of books. According to the national GB website: “Oxfam shops will host a myriad of book events, competitions, auctions and local family fun, celebrating all that the charity does with books.” I think that’s pretty clear from the title, but just in case people need it spelling out.

Anyhow, in the past shops have had kids coloring activities of bookmarks, film screenings (last year Oxfam Petergate’s screening of The History Boys went down quite well in York), poetry readings (hopefully with all the snapping and beats one could ever dream of), and specialized book pub quizzes. What we are wondering now, as we ponder the question alongside those meaningful queries about life and lunch, what those of you in York would like to have this year. If you have any grand plans or whimsical notions of possible events for Oxfam Bookshop to host here on Petergate, or at the city screen as films necessitate (all thanks to those who help us out there), please let us know!

This is a city-wide call for all suggestions, ideas, notions, and possibilities for this year’s Bookfest! (*And if you aren’t in York, but still have ideas, you are still welcome to share!)

Oh, and this year the festivities will brighten up your July! Get ready, we have to fit so much awesome into just the 2nd to the 17th!

Show Off Your Label

This year, the Fairtrade Fortnight has the slogan of “Show off your label!” Everyone should be proud to support the fair trade of goods, and show off their comfortable clothes, unique jewelry, and ethically sourced foods. Spread the word!

Fairtrade has the laudable goals described as a “vision is of a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full potential.” Sounds like something everyone should get behind.

Although some claim that the fairtrade goods often cost more than other options, and some cannot afford to buy everything with the fairtrade label, even small purchases support the cause. The extra cost goes to support the poor and disadvantaged people who initially farmed or created the product. With our help, these people can support themselves and earn the fair profits of their labor and ideas. Fairtrade helps to develop the markets and communities of those workers and producers through their empowerment to trade internationally.

Fairtrade goods can be found across the UK, and many shope here in York supprt the efforts of the organization whole-heartedly. At Oxfam Petergate, we have a variety of foods and delicious chocolates in for the Fairtrade Fortnight, but also throughout the year. Other shops around us, like One Ethical Boutique and Shared Earth, and many cafes throughout the city have lots to choose from. I can personally praise the fabulous jewelry, bags, picture frames and clothes on offer, stylish and ethical! The recycled materials used to make things like picture frames and coasters are unique and interesting, while the banana leaf book covers and hanging frames really add a natural and calming look to any room. Of course, these are just a couple of my own personal finds.

Obviously, there are many Fairtrade options out there to choose from, and any little contribution or purchase helps the cuase. So go on and show off what Fair Trade stuff you’ve got!

Here on the Oxfam Petergate Blog, we will be doing a series of posts about the amazing recipes that use Fairtrade ingredients! So keep checking back for some great ideas.

Upcoming Events

Looking For Githa Book Cover

At Oxfam Petergate we are always interested in putting on events that reflect the shop. This March we have two cracking events which we are all looking forward to.

Anne Stewar…t is the founder of, which showcases many of the best poets writing today. She is also the Administrator for the Second Light Network. She won the Bridport Prize in 2008, and her poetry has been translated into German, Italian and Romanian. Her latest collection is The Janus Hour (2010).

Oz Hardwick is a writer, photographer, English lecturer and occasional musician. He has published several books of poetry, art history and literary studies, and countless articles on all manner of Quixotic interests. His latest collection is The Illuminated Dreamer (2010).

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