Just like a cat, you never really own a bookshop, and the people who have cared for this bookshop have been Charles Senior, John Broom, Tam MacPhail and the current handler Sheena. It opened in 1970 as a second hand bookshop run by Charles Senior. When John L Broom, the local librarian, took it over he began to sell blue penguin paperbacks. By the time time Tam took the reins in the late seventies maps were on sale. Tam, a blow-in from California via Argyll, worked for John Broom and the pattern was repeated when Sheena worked for Tam for sixteen years before becoming boss cat.
Charles Senior, George Mackay Brown, Susie Gilbertson, John Broom & artist Sylvia Wishart in Rackwick, Hoy. Photograph: Bunty Wishart
John Broom in Stromness Library. Photograph: Gunnie Moberg
Tam MacPhail. Photograph: Rebecca Marr
But a drive in bookshop? Tam tells the story here at around 3mins 45secs…
Here’s the link to the fuller version of Stromness Hometown made back in 2011.
Contributors at stop 5: Graham Place were
Eric Flett & Ian McInnes (c.1990)
Ella Duncan & Bryce Scott
Edgar Ramsay (1976)
Before it was a bookshop the premises were part of Stockan’s bakery. Before that the tiny building was a tea shop, a painters and a grocers.
Graham Place image courtesy of Stromness Museum. Stromness Books & Prints is central and the building on the right was demolished to widen the road for horses and carts.