Stromness Book Shop: Scotland’s Only Drive-In Book Shop

Published here with kind permission from: Stromness Book & Prints

Just like a cat, you never really own a bookshop, and the people who have cared for this bookshop have been Charles Senior, John Broom, Tam MacPhail and the current handler Sheena.

Stromness Book Shop B Bell

Credit: Bell

It opened in 1970 as a second hand bookshop run by Charles Senior. When John L Broom, the local librarian, took it over he began to sell blue penguin paperbacks. By the time time Tam took the reins in the late seventies maps were on sale. Tam, a blow-in from California via Argyll, worked for John Broom and the pattern was repeated when Sheena worked for Tam for sixteen years before becoming boss cat.

Stromness Books & Prints has also published several volumes, firstly Stone Built by Gunnie Moberg, Tam’s wife. Most recently the bookshop published Fiona MacInnes’ Iss.

But a drive in bookshop? Tam tells the story here at around 3mins 45secs…

Link: Stromness Book Shop

Here’s the link to the fuller version of Stromness Hometown made back in 2011.

Contributors at stop 5: Graham Place were
Bunty Mowatt
May Stockan
Eric Flett & Ian McInnes (c.1990)
Tam McPhail
Adrian Harray
Ella Duncan & Bryce Scott
Edgar Ramsay (1976)
Ros Bryant

Before it was a bookshop the premises were part of Stockan’s bakery. Before that the tiny building was a tea shop, a painters and a grocers.

The bookshop is  currently closed but can take book orders call 01856 850565 or contact them here.

Stromness 36 Bell

Stromness Book Shop Credit: Bell


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6 replies »

  1. Hello Gordon Wright…..
    If you’d like to email the shop, – if you click on where it says ‘here’ in blue, in the main text, that will take you there….
    “The bookshop is currently closed but can take book orders call 01856 850565 or contact them here.”

    If you want to email The Orkney News, go to the top of this page, and click on ‘Contact’
    I hope that’s helpful.

    It’s a brilliant, independent, bookshop – if they haven’t got what you’re looking for – they’ll get it for you!

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