Topping & Company Booksellers Bath have opened the largest independent bookshop in England in living memory.
Last November, independent booksellers Topping & Company in Bath moved from the Paragon to York Street in the heart of the city, next door to Bath Abbey. The move marks the opening of the largest independent bookshop in living memory.
The bookshop is now housed in the impressive Georgian building on York street, formerly known as the Friends Meeting House. Operating as a bookshop is the latest chapter in the building’s rich history. It was initially designed as a Masonic Hall in 1817 by William Wilkins, architect of The National Gallery, was used as an assembly room and non-conformist chapel during the 1830s, and has since been in the hands of the Religious Society of Friends. It is a listed building of significant architectural heritage, being one of the few examples of the Greek revival style remaining in Bath. The bookshop houses handcrafted bookcases and Topping & Company Booksellers’ signature rolling library ladders lining two floors and a gallery. Expanding has allowed an increase of the number of titles stocked to over 75,000 and an unparalleled selection of fiction, children’s books, cookery writing, history and much more.
The new bookshop still offers complimentary pots of fresh tea and coffee as you browse and friendly, bookish advice from a large team of expert booksellers.
What’s more, having such a vast space creates the opportunity for the bookshop to host larger events in the building itself and Topping & Company Bookseller’s look forward to inviting many of the biggest names in the literary world right to the heart of Bath. They aim to bring a vital injection of energy and purpose to Bath’s high street and cultural scene in our post-pandemic landscape. They have already hosted authors such as Nigel Slater, Elizabeth Day, Michael McIntyre, Florence Given, and Yotam Ottolenghi this Autumn, and names such as Sally Rooney, Margaret Atwood, David Attenborough, and Buzz Aldrin in previous years.
Robert and Louise Topping opened their first bookshop in Ely (Cambridgeshire) in 2002, followed by Bath in 2007, St Andrew’s in 2014, and a large bookshop in Edinburgh in 2019. In Robert’s words, “there was an age where the Independents were the great bookshops – Hatchards and Dillons (even Foyles where I worked) in London, Austicks in Leeds, Willshaws in Manchester, John Smiths in Glasgow and Thins in Edinburgh. It seems important, at this point in time, to be able to look to the future with some very positive news for Bath city centre.”