All posts by Janette Ray


We will be showcasing 20 of our books at the upcoming Firsts Online book fair organised and hosted by the Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association. The way it works is that you visit the website which goes live at 2.00pm GMT on 10 September as take a look at the fair offerings submitted by the participating booksellers. If there is something you would like you  can buy it from the individual booksellers.  I hope you find something you like. The site closes down on September 14th at 5.00pm GMT

The website address is


Our bookshop has been painted up and the shelves ordered to allow you to browse and buy books now. We are however only going to be open by appointment for the next few weeks. Please give me a call if you would like to look around. Opening by appointment will allow you to look about at your leisure without concerns on social distancing in our tiny shop.

We look forward to seeing you there. Telephone 0780 394 1307  if you would like to visit.  We can also deliver books bought on line within the city limits for free or you can buy on line and select to collect at the bookshop.


Although our bookshop is closed for visitors we are busy finding books for people like you. We are able to send you books you might need to entertain, divert or for work. Talking to our customers, many of you are doing those jobs around the house, painting, decorating, gardening and so on.  Others of you are working from home on projects. We have lots of “how to do it” titles when it comes to conserving or restoring your house, designing gardens or making stuff. If you think we can help, just ask and we can select something for you from our stock.  Our website is designed for you to browse particular categories of books. Take a look.  Happy to help. The item illustrated is just one of the books we have just added to our site.


Like most other bookshops, we regretfully have closed our doors for what, I hope, will only be a very short time. This is so the UK  can get back on track with getting the corona virus under control. Meanwhile we can be contacted by email at this time which is shown at the top of the page.  You can also telephone us on our mobile number 0780 394 1307. Keep healthy and take a look at our books for sale here. If there is anything you would like to reserve then please go ahead and contact us. We will be sending out all reserved books or those bought directly from our website as soon as we can.


Not of lot of parties going on are there? York is uncommonly quiet with few tourists or residents around and many working from home. The bookshop is still open with a skeleton staff . We are working. If you are in York and would like to visit at this time, we recommend you ring ahead to check we are here. We  will welcome you.

Meanwhile, we have uploaded our spring catalogue onto this site and you might find things on that not on the general part of the website. Click on  Catalogues to find it.

Whilst the post is still being collected you can buy books from us and we can send them to you so hope you will. If you live within the boundaries of York then we are happy to deliver to your door any books you would like by bike, car or on foot, dependent where you are based.


CALIFORNIA BOOK FAIR 2020 7th-9th FEBRUARY in Pasadena

Selecting books to take to a book fair is always difficult. No selection ever is the collection which ever reflects the wider range of books left on the shelves in our York Book Shop. This year the California book fair has adopted a theme which  is focusing on the achievements of women. This is because, in the USA, 2020 marks  the centenary of women, nationally throughout the USA,  being given  the right to vote. In August 1920 the right to vote was extended to all regardless of their sex.

With this in mind, I have looked through my stock to find the works of high achievers in the field of “The Arts” but here women  often seem to be masked as makers, architects, artists, designers and photographers by their male counterparts,  although in general today, they are in a more rosy position than ever before. To include outstanding items by women in the sector of design, for the California book fair  has, I have to admit, been challenging.  In my list of books for the fair are a few by unsung heroes. Go to the catalogue section of this website and take a look, The list opens with a short selection of affordable books on relatively unknown women architectural and design figures.  This is an indictment of the role women have really played in design. However,  perhaps  it is better to be remembered ultimately because of skill rather than gender. For my own part this is certainly how I feel about the book trade, I would rather be known as a bookseller than a woman bookseller.



The lights are up along the front of our shop and we are beginning to assemble our Christmas gift books. The shop will generally be open Wednesday to Fridays throughout the run up to Christmas. We sell cards and wrapping paper so, not only can you purchase a book, we can wrap it up for you all ready for the holiday season. We appreciate that not everyone wants to give a second hand book for Christmas but we have a selection of very attractive new titles on art, design, architecture or photography which might make a lovely present. Drop by and have a look and give us a call if you are travelling from outside York.


We are putting together a list of books relating to building techniques this autumn entitled “Methods and Materials” and this list comprises books on the philosophy of building conservation and key books on stone masonry, woodwork, decoration, fixtures and fittings.

At a time when new building of houses as slowed in the UK, repair, renovation and conservation has become  central to all the building trades. Old techniques are recorded in most of the books on this list and have huge relevance in this world of reuse and recycling.

Let us know if this is one of your interests and we will add you to the mailing list for the catalogue.    Many of the books came from the well known firm of William Anelay’s which was wound up a few years ago. The firm had a massive reference library some of which has found its way onto our shelves in York.


The 13th and 14th September 2019 marks the annual book fair in York and we will be there with a wide selection of books, largely not available from our online offerings on the website. These will include the 9 volume set by Avary Tipping on English Homes, a selection of modern architecture, art and design titles including copies of books associated with Eduardo Paolozzi and his contemporaries. We will also have a good selection of trade catalogues relating to architecture, design and building which inform the process of construction.

Hoping to see you there. Complimentary tickets can be downloaded from The fair opens at midday on Friday 13th and is open until 7.00pm for those who are at work in the daytime. It is also open on Saturday 14th 10.00am-5.00pm.


In 1846 Edward Twycross,  began a major project to record the country houses of Cornwall. He produced descriptions of over 80 with superb illustrations of 51 of them, publishing them in a wonderful book  which combines the family and architectural history of each house. The book was only produced in an exceptionally limited edition. Indeed there were only fifty two subscribers to the original edition.

Twycross had ambitious plans to extend the series for all of England and Wales, but following the publication of the  Cornwall volume he only managed to produce editions for Lancashire and Cheshire [ two parts for each County] before the whole project was cut short by his early death.  All titles in the series are rare and fabulously expensive.

This year, Kenneth Cooper, who has an enviable collection of country house view books and early guide books, in collaboration with Adrian Lack of the Senecio Press and Ludlow Book Binders,  has produced a facsimile of the Cornwall volume supported by an introductory essay on the history of the book and project.

We are promoting this beautiful edition and it can be purchased from us through the book shop, or by ordered from us by email or telephone. Attention to detail has guided the production of this lovely book which is limited to 175 copies.  Please contact us should you like to add this to your collection.