THE last specialist theological bookshop in Manchester, St Denys’s, will close at the end of next month.
St Denys Bookshop has been located in the basement of Manchester Cathedral since 2011 but has been an institution in the city for 35 years.
A co-owner of the bookshop, Penny Glover, said last week that they were informed early last year that their rent would be increased to the same level as the other concessions in the cathedral. This meant that they had “no real hope of staying where we are”.
She said that she and her business partner, Susan Asher, considered the decision to be unjust, because they thought that they “were doing a good job”.
In August, the pair handed in their notice to vacate the premises, because they had “to make decisions about the future”.
Mrs Glover said: “The writing was on the wall, and we knew our days were numbered here.”
What they did not know, however, was that the cathedral was prepared to be flexible about rent.
The Dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Very Revd Rogers Govender said that he was “extremely saddened at the decision taken” to close the shop, which had happened “despite my request to them to reconsider their decision”.
Mrs Glover said that she had had a meeting with the Dean before Christmas, at which he said that the rent increase was too much; but by then the shop was already destined to close.
She said: “All of this could have been avoided if we were informed earlier.” By the time of the Dean’s intervention the bookshop was “beyond salvation”.
Mrs Glover said that they had not been able to find another location and felt that now was the time to bring St Denys to its “final chapter”.
Supporters of the bookshop expressed their dismay at the decision. One customer wrote on Facebook that he was “really saddened to hear this. . . St Denys has been a joy for me over the past 20 years.”
Another said: “It’s a tragedy, and you will be missed. You gave such wonderful, welcoming service to Manchester.”
Dean Govender said: “In November 2011 they were invited by me to locate themselves at Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre to provide much-needed Christian resources to the wider life of the Church in Greater Manchester.
“I want to thank them for supporting the mission of the Church in Manchester, and wish them well in their future endeavours.”