New owner takes charge of notorious Hawes bookshop

Meg Davis, the new owner of the Old Library Bookshop, in Hawes.

A new owner has taken over the second-hand bookshop in Hawes market house – and book-lovers will be delighted to know it’s now free to enter.

Wensleydale resident Meg Davis has bought the business – formerly called Bloomindales – from its former owner, Steve Bloom.

Mr Bloom created national headlines earlier this year for upsetting customers with his rudeness and his demands for a 50p entry to his shop.

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But Mrs Davis said she hoped the shop, which is now called the Old Library Bookshop, could move on from the notoriety.

“We’re hoping we can turn a fresh page,” she added.

“We are really keen to make it a success and welcome old and new customers.”

Mrs Davis, who moved to the area two years ago from Rainford in Essex with husband Brian, said people were still reluctant to come into the shop.

“People are always popping their head around the door and saying ‘do we have to pay 50p?’

“But we try to offer a warm welcome and there’s a great selection of second-hand books, maps and DVDs.”

Steve Bloom. Photo: Glen Minikin.

Among other things, Mr Bloom was dubbed the ‘bookseller from hell’ and the ‘Basil Fawlty of books’, after his reputation spread.

One customer was so angry about his treatment that he is said to have tipped his dinner over Mr Bloom.

On another occasion, the bookseller called police when a visitor refused to pay the entry fee.

Things reached a head when a doctor visiting from Shropshire wrote to the council to protest that Mr Bloom had verbally abused him.

Mr Bloom admitted calling the doctor ‘a pain in the arse’ – but said he could not recall why.

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council wanted him out of the shop, but Mr Bloom, who admitting being ‘medium to low rude’, refused to leave and claimed the authority was waging a witch hunt against him.

Following the sale to Mrs Davis, Mr Bloom refused to accept he had been driven out despite and said he’d sold the shop of his own volition – partly to escape his whinging customers.

“It got very difficult sitting in my shop listening to people talking about me as the man who charges 50p entry.  I will not miss the moaning.,” he added.

The new owner said that although Mr Bloom had a fearsome reputation he was actually a nice man and had been very helpful during the sale.

Mrs Davis is having an official opening on October 17 from 11.30am to 1pm.