• John Latham

89 Year Old Independent Book Shop Needs Your Help!

Lee-On-Solent situated between Gosport and Fareham in Hampshire, is a quaint little seaside town and has proudly had a bookshop for 89 years. First opened by Mr Leonard Miles, in 1933, as a florist's shop with a small lending library on the high street. Within the year became the book shop, which expanded into branches in Stubbington nearby and the Gosport High Street store, that our Nikki knows well, that she bought her first thesaurus there. Sadly, of Mr Miles' book shops only the one in Lee-On-Solent remains from those three he opened.
The Book Shop has had many owners over the decades, but is now in the capable hands of Sarah Veal, who our Nikki went to school with, and Sarah took it on in 2018. Having kept the staff on who were working there and Sarah's partner, Scott, they set about expanding the bookshop as a centre of the community with regular events, expanding the children's section and supporting local charities.

Covid-19 hit all businesses hard but those independents were hit hardest and although they adapted to re-open after the lockdown, stronger than ever, having won the 2020 Regional Winners for the South East Region Independent Book Shop Of The Year by The British Book Awards and finalists for the UK's Independent Book Shop Of The Year in 2020 and in 2021, once again shortlisted for awards for their children's book selection, it's been tough.
During the first lockdown they also created positivity boxes that could be sent to anyone in isolation or shielding, along with a book and card. There was also a chocolate treat, feeding the mind and body.

For this wonderful book shop to remain open, they have to purchase the building. The landlord has agreed to sell to them, but as with many businesses coming out of the pandemic, the capital they need are short by some much needed funds. They launched a fundraising page and have already in a very short time raised half of the amount to make up the shortfall to purchase the building.

It will be a big milestone for this book shop next year and we are sure Sarah and her team, have some great plans to celebrate, so if you love reading and would like to help (and are able to!), please donate by clicking the below image link:-

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