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Bookshop Guide: Waterstones, Oxford

Final part of mini series reviewing local bookshopsWhere Blackwell’s inspires, Waterstones in Oxford frustrates. Occupying a prime corner position between the Cornmarket and Broad Street, this slightly down at heels outlet – urgently in need of a refit –  is often crowded, shabby and dispiriting. The visitor is surprised that in such a temple of…

Bookshop Guide: Waterstones, Aylesbury

Waterstones in Aylesbury

Part of a mini series reviewing local bookshopsPoor Aylesbury. My town by adoption has not been treated well by generations of planners. The Sixties were the beginning of the problems, when winding streets were bulldozed to make way for the retail monstrosity of Friars Square. Once used for the filming of A Clockwork Orange, the shopping centre…

Bookshop Guide: Blackwell’s, Oxford

By Soham Banerjee (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

First in a new series exploring local bookshopsFew names are as famous in the world of academic book selling as Blackwell’s. In 1879, Benjamin Blackwell opened his tiny bookshop in Broad Street in Oxford. Surrounded by illustrious colleges, Mr Blackwell’s business prospered, gradually taking over the warren of old buildings which still constitute the heart…

Restoring the Joy of Handwriting

Handwriting is in decline. Ask any teacher who has been in the classroom a dozen years or more and they’ll tell you how many more students encounter difficulties with handwriting. Sometimes, it staggers me how pupils arrive in Year 7, untaught in the art of handwriting. And most English teachers will report that the quality…