Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

A Later-link in Bohemia Road

By Edward Preston

Bohemia Road was developed in an apparently haphazard fashion, in short terraces on the north-east side. Its numbering was only finally settled in 1902/3. The property which then became no. 127, has had an interesting variety of uses. From that date until 1913, it was occupied by the Liberal Club.

Then, after a short break, an antique dealer, Mr. Martin took the premises until 1920, when Stone Bros. – RAT TRAP manufacturers became the occupants. Whether the rats were trapped too quickly, or Stones wanted to improve their image is not clear, but the following year, they became antique dealers.

Following that, Mr. Quinlan ran the shop as a stationer’s but only briefly; for in 1923, F.A. Orin – toy and fancy dealer moved in, also stocking fishing tackle (an odd combination).

A major change came in 1929. Miss M.E. Willcox opened the shop as a missionary depot, and in 1933 she added a stationery department. It may have been at that stage that the double-entrance doors were installed, for the following year, one side was numbered 127a, with Marguerite – a milliner. Her occupancy was short-lived, followed by Mrs. M. Newick who ran a ladies’ outfitters. It may have been that she was in fact the same Marguerite.

From then on the premises were occupied sporadically, e.g. in 1952 Mrs Jenkins – wardrobe dealer in one half and Hastings Radio and Television Co. in the other, but only for a short while; then in 1959 J. Simmonds – furniture dealer. It was not until 1961 that No. 127 became what it has continued to be ever since . . . BOOKMAN’S HALT.

It seems that the same Mr. Simmonds operated the bookshop until 1965 when Mr. F. Moore (a retired civil servant) took proprietorship, and continued until 1978, when Michael Bloxham ran it for a brief period.

1980 was when Clive Linklater became the youthful new proprietor. It is significant that 30 years on Clive still manages his business – one of the few to survive for any length of time in Bohemia Road under the same ownership. Indeed Bookman’s Halt is now the only seriously operating second-hand and antiquarian bookseller in town. It is a thriving business which manages to maintain that mystique which encourages browsers to search for the rarity at 50p which is really worth £90.

It can be done, and I still have the book as proof. Long may the Later Link continue.

Bookman's Halt (Nov 2010)

Bookman’s Halt (Nov 2010)

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