Bakewell bucks the trend in independent bookshops

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Can there be a more perfect place for a day out than Bakewell? Not only is it in the centre of the most fabulous countryside with numerous walks and access to superb fly-fishing, but it is home to two, YES TWO! independent bookshops.

I cannot pass an antiquarian bookshop without popping in to see if they have anything by Nicholson (or Godwin or Holcroft). Invariably, the proprietor has not heard of William Nicholson (1753-1815) and thinks I mean the artist (1872 – 1949), and invariably there is nothing on the shelf for me.

But this weekend, I was thrilled to see that a new antiquarian bookshop had opened up in Bakewell and, although the owner had not heard of our hero, I was delighted to find a copy of Nicholson’s Chemical Dictionary, 3rd Edition in their scientific collection.

Hawkridge Books had a wonderful selection of books, and the shop is nicely laid out with plenty of space to move around – it is very stylish too. I have since learned that they specialise in ornithology and natural history, so it is well worth a visit.

The Bakewell Bookshop has long been a favourite pitstop after a day on the River Wye. As well as a lovely selection of books - an intelligent choice of fiction and a strong selection on local walks – it has the most welcoming coffee shop. You sit on tables within the bookshop and can borrow their Scrabble set if the weather looks too miserable to go outside. We treated ourselves to the Tea for Two – each person gets a scone, a piece of cake and a tray bake. The scones were fresh-baked that day (always the test of a good cakery), the carrot cake was ‘moistyliscious’ and the Bakewell tart was so good we had to take it home.

Both are well worth a visit.

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The Life of William Nicholson, 1753–1815

A Memoir of Enlightenment, Commerce, Politics, Arts and Science

Edited by Sue Durrell and with an afterword by Professor Frank James

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of William Nicholson 1753-1815