Quirky Cromford book shop celebrates 40 years

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A much–loved quirky book shop has been celebrating its 40 birthday by taking customers back to the 1970s.

Scarthin Books, in the Promenade, Scarthin, Cromford, is marking the milestone by holding a week of celebrations, culminating in a 1970–themed party on Saturday.

The shop was first opened in 1974 by David Mitchell, and over the years lovers of literature have been drawn to the premises to marvel at its labyrinth of rooms packed with books covering every curiosity from classics to non–fiction.

David, who lives next to the shop, retired a few years ago, and although he still the owner, passed on the reins of management to David Booker.

David Booker, of Cromford, said Scarthin Books was actually bucking the trend when it came to its success.

He said: “It’s a difficult environment for most book shops because for the first time there’s less than 1,000 independent book shops in the country.

“We are actually starting to expand however.”

He said the book shop has been awarded funding from the James Patterson Independent Book Shop Grant, which they are going to use to turn an office into yet a music room full of music books and scores.

David Booker explained the cafe and store had already undergone a revamp, with plans to do more.

He said that he thought some of the popularity of the shop was down to having a vegetarian cafe on site, which made it more of an attraction. David added that the quirkiness of the store also appealed to people.

“There are particular books that if you open them they start playing music for you,” he said.

There is also the ‘utterly unfair tall father discount’ – whereby if a father is tall enough to reach a bar with his head, he will be awarded a discount in store.

The shop has also been used several times over the years as a film set – the most notable of which being for ‘And When Did You Last See Your Father’, starring Colin Firth.

In the week leading up to Saturday’s party there have been 40 per cent discounts on selected antiquarian and special interest books, a free prize draw in which people can win £200 work of vouchers to spend in store and the opportunity to name the new music room.

There are also second and third prizes and £75 and £50 of Scarthin vouchers.

Throughout the day on Saturday any customers arriving in 1970s fancy dress will receive up to £5 in Scarthin vouchers and in the evening from 6pm customers are invited to the shop for a party with a buffet and 1970s music.