Thursday, 7 May 2020

Books, another Eastbourne fire and an update …




Some vagrants set fire to our last second-hand bookshop in the town (just as the lock-down started) – revered by authors, collectors, actors, artists etc whenever they visited our South coast …


Postcard I hadn't realised was for sale
It was packed to the gunwales with books, books and more books … here I noted today, that they are clearing out, sorting out the remnants – in due course I’ll find out how much they’ve had to do …


The doors had been taken off -
and clearing up was going on:
I'm quite glad to see that ...


I went down to grab a picture of the outside of the shop, when I realised they were working … but – as is the way - unfortunately a car pulled up, and it is next to a doctor’s surgery – so this is the not very good result!

(Also they'd removed the books and shelves that normally sit outside the shop, also the awnings; but the books can be seen in the 
windows).




Interior of the British Library foyer -
with the King's Library in the background
Books of an older nature have recently been featured in the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts blog … the notes below are courtesy of their blog post (see link at end) ... 

Papyrus Sedge


Books carved in stone – all of 5,600 years ago …a hymn to Osiris …



Books inked on pottery - appeared about 2,300 years ago … a Greek receipt acknowledging the payment of a fishing tax …



Papyrus - an early document
Books written on scrolls – papyrus allowed prolific writers to express their thoughts, or set out their stories in rolls that could reach 30 metres in length.  Papyrus came from the reed marshes of Egypt.



Booklets of tablets – wooden tablets covered in beeswax … recorded day to day records not worthy enough to be put onto the expensive papyrus, but necessary in the day to day living 2,000 years ago.


Showing tablet on a decorated vase


These tablets were the precursor of erasers, correction tape – and were reusable … back then: especially popular in schools!




A composite: booklets of papyri … probably coming into being with the arrival of Christianity … about 1,800 years ago.


Goatskin parchment

Parchment – came from Pergamon, Turkey … called by the librarians, who had started to use animal skin to copy their books: as Egypt had embargoed the export of papyrus 2,000 years ago.





Finally … comes the arrival of the book, which we know today, but started life probably as ‘a codex (an ancient manuscript text) dating back 1,700 years. 


From the Codex Sinaiticus
Codex Sinaiticus probably had 730 parchment leaves, carefully prepared from 365 sheep – and bound between two wooden covers.



Library books
This article by the British Library makes for a fascinating read into the history of a book … and links to other articles on manuscripts, a history of writing and many more …


We may be released (a little) soon – but I can see we’ll still have plenty of reading time; however I’ll be posting on various things I haven’t written up, referring back to previous posts, and drafting up odds and ends under ‘my bran tub’ theme … i.e. whatever comes to mind and thus to the ‘blog page’. 


Book bag - love the colour
I do have a lot to tell you about … as the restrictions suit me for a while longer – then release me!!


Let’s hope we have no more fires in the town, vagrancy or unnecessary vandalism … but your columnist from Eastbourne will be around to guide you through her eclectic, eccentric world of thought.  Take care and stay safe …


Camilla's bookshop - a good read, some videos ... generally interesting ... Archie their Amazonian parrot survived the fire ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

44 comments:

Hels said...

Vandalism of any sort is nasty, but vandalism of a book shop deserves a severe sentence - 12 months of daily driving around to housebound people in a van, bringing new books to the eager readers and bringing back old ones. Like Meals On Wheels only better.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
LOL, I like Hels' idea for the punishment - and agree this crime might be classified as heinous, by those of us who are true bibliophiles.

Anyway, sounds like our 'Eastbourne columnist' has lots planned - bring it on! YAM xx

Inger said...

I hate to think of books burning. What's wrong with people? I'm glad to hear that the parrot survived. One good thing at least. Looking forward to finding out what goes on in your mind during this shut-in time.It will always be something interesting,that much I know for sure.

Jacqui Murray said...

That fire is awful. My heart goes out to the owner who lost so much and to the readers who did, too. Thanks for the history of books. Stories must be told--right?

John Holton said...

I don't think they could have picked a worse time to destroy a used bookstore. I hope they're able to get it back in shape soon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a lot of sheep.
Real shame about the bookstore.

Elephant's Child said...

Add me to the list of people who loves Hels suggestion.
Vandalism of any kind is awful, but I would reserve a special place in hell for those who destroy books.
Yet another informative and fascinating post with links/byways to wander down.
Many thanks - and hooray for a slow and steady lockdown release.

Liz A. said...

How sad to hear of the fire. I shudder at the loss of so many books.

Romance Reader said...

Oh no. Why would people do such nasty things. Arson is the worst crime ever.

Erica/Erika said...

Hi Hilary, Darn on the vagrants! Irreplaceable centuries old books. Your phrase “We may be released (a little) soon resonated with me. Happening here, too, in a week. I enjoy your eclectic, eccentric world of thought. Take care.

Rhonda Albom said...

What a shame about the fire. I love seeing old books and what people wrote about years ago. Thanks for the short history on the technology of writing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hels – I know vandalism is just so thoughtless and self-serving … completely unnecessary; while your idea about their punishment is just so brilliant … such a sensible one …

@ Yam – glad you back Hels’ idea … and ‘heinous’ is a good description – by most of us who blog. I’ve loads of ideas … as they come tumbling out.

@ Inger – I was horrified when I realised what had happened to the shop. The parrot was on the third floor … and thankfully avoided the worst of the fire – and was taken away to be at home. I must get on with clearing my mind …

@ Jacqui – the owners must be devastated … but I was glad to see some clearing up being done and the premises being made more secure. So glad you enjoy the ‘history’ of books … the website is a wonderful one …

@ John – I know … I suspect they didn’t think … just the books were outside and could be set alight; I too hope it isn’t too awful … but lots and lots of books in there – just not sure about the water damage. Also I hope it’ll be open again fairly soon …

@ Alex – yes … one parchment sheet took a lot of sheep … yet ‘twas the way of being able to write for posterity. Very sad about the store …

@ EC – I know Hels’ suggestion is a good one – more punishments should be like that. Yes destroying books is so unnecessary … as is stopping education. Enjoy the website links …

@ Liz – I’m not sure how far the fire got into the shop … but water would have affected the stock too …

@ Nas – I know another fire in the town – people don’t benefit at all – as they’ve got to run away and hide … I guess their clothes might smell of smoke …

@ Erica – yes there were some antiquarian and old books in the shop … as you say irreplaceable centuries of books. Unfortunately ‘the release’ thought may have been too early … but I hope we’re on that route out of this lock-down fairly soon. Thanks for your comment about my ‘range of posts’ …

@ Rhonda – yes a huge shame – who benefits? No-one. I was really looking forward to spending time in the shop – when I had a bit more time later this year, and will do once it opens up again. Enjoy the links from the British Library.

Thanks so much for visiting … and I knew you’d all be sad at the fire in the bookshop … and Hels’ suggestion really sets my mind wandering as to what a good one it could be – we need to help those who don’t appreciate things. Take care and continue to stay safe … Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Burning books is heinous, burning the bookstore along with the books is beyond the comprehension of civilized people. I am happy that it was not burned to the ground and will be able to rise from the ashes (literally). I think it was John, the Stargoose and Hanglands fellow, who recently did a piece on ancient whipping posts. Aha, I think we have a reason to resurrect them. The cat 'o nine tails should be made from the braided leather bindings used to cover books, and the lashes administered by undergraduate students of literature. I trust you will be there with your camera to record the event, Hilary!

Pradeep Nair said...

So shocking to read about the vandalism and the loss of books.
That history and evolution of books as we know today was quite interesting. Didn't know so much. Thanks.

Joanne said...

Books! Love all things books and this post is perfect, except for the fire part. That is so sad and ridiculous - setting a fire to a bookstore calls for the worst punishment possible.
Glad you keep pulling out of the brain tub and posting - you have quite a stew.
Happy Weekend and stay safe.

Elsie Amata said...

Glad you'll be opening up (a little) soon. We may be too. We'll see.

It's so sad to hear about the bookstore. Especially because, at least in my imaginary head, I picture a family-run store, by people who do it more for the love of books than the money. Just terrible.

Elsie

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is so tragic about the book store. Those books can't be replaced.

Jo said...

Burning books is, in my opinion, the worst kind of vandalism there is. I remember feeling horrified at reading ISIS had been burning piles of books. I often wonder at the information we have lost with the destruction of the library at Alexandria.

Interesting what man did to record stuff. Poor sheep.

Keith's Ramblings said...

I had no idea about the fire. It's such a lovely shop. Since our imprisonment, Eastbourne suddenly seems a million miles away not just 11! Thanks for the history lesson, once again I leave your blog wiser than when I arrived!

Mason Canyon said...

So sorry to hear about the book store. Hopefully they will be able to save a good bit. Take care and be safe.

retirementreflections said...

This is so sad to hear.
WHy or why would someone do this?

D.G. Kaye said...

Terrible news Hilary. A sad loss indeed. :(

Janie Junebug said...

A bookstore on fire is a tragedy.

Love,
Janie

Denise Covey said...

What a horrid act of vandalism. Denied your bookstore just when you needed it. I do hope some tomes are rescued and the ownere aren't so disgruntled they don't open again. Love the history of books...

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Books and stories are so important, I love reading although now days I listen to audiobooks

dolorah said...

Wow, thats quite a history. Fascinating to see how far "writing" has progressed. I wonder if computer Notebooks and Tablets will one day land in the library as book mediums.

Sad about the books store. I still love paper books.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David – I can’t understand vandalism of any sort … but thankfully it was spotted before total destruction had set in. Yes I think you’re right John showed us some whipping posts around his Cambridgeshire neighbourhood – I’m sure we could install one here! If the whipping is of such high class – then my phone and I will be there to snap a pic or two …

@ Pradeep – it is … so unnecessary – just thoughtlessness and lack of consideration or understanding. Glad you enjoyed the British Library’s post about the evolution of ‘the book’ …

@ Joanne – I know just desperate to read about the fire – but I was glad they’re working on clearing it up … and hope it re-opens once we’re released to shop til we drop again. Lots waiting to be found in the realm of bran tub posts …

@ Elsie – not sure how much release we’ll be getting – still better being safe than Covid. The couple who run the shop – met while being involved with another bookshop … and decided to set up together: it is definitely run by people who love books … and not for the money, I’m pleased to say.

@ Diane – I was horrified to hear of the fire … and I’m not sure which genre of books would have been by the window that burst in the heat, and were most destroyed.

@ Jo – just unnecessary destruction is appalling; while wanton destruction horrifies me – as vendettas have been raged by terrorist organisations … psychologically piercing those lovers of history … books, buildings, ancient memorials.

@ Keith – it took my brother who lives further west to tell me about the fire! I hadn’t noticed or seen news about it. I agree neighbourhoods seem far away … Eastbourne is contained.

@ Mason – it looks like quite a few of the books are still there – but is there water damage – that’s what I don’t know … I’ll find out anon.

@ Donna – who understands people with no respect of others’ property – not you or me …

@ Debby – it was a shock to find out about the fire that’s for sure …

@ Janie – yes vandalism is just pure destruction for no reason – while a fire can be so dangerous …

@ Denise – I was certainly looking forward to spending more time in it this summer; the owners seem pragmatic after the fire … what their future is –depends on the overall damage … smoke, ash, water etc … so time will tell. Thanks re the history of books … amazing how they’ve evolved to where we are today …

@ Jo-Anne – glad you’re still ‘reading’ books – audio books are another great addition to our lives.

@ Donna – yes … it is ‘quite a history’ isn’t – we so often forget where ‘things’ we take for granted started out in life and how they’ve evolved. Other mediums are already in the Library – just that this was an article in 7 objects … those I set out … the links give us further details …

I ‘have’ to read a book … but then I’m not travelling around anymore – or I’d be listening to them too …

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting … stay safe in these times … all the best - Hilary

Rhodesia said...

I cannot believe that even vandals would burn down a book store, I am more than surprised and disgusted. What sort of people would be brought up to do this? Maybe on drugs?
The only shop the whole world where I can lose myself for hours on end is a book shop, so sad.
Take care and stay safe, Diane

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Hilary,

SOOOO sad to hear about your local bookstore. How horrifying. What is the deal with these people? Are they so unhappy that they have to resort to violent acts? Such a shame.

Glad to hear you are well... I am so thankful that I see all of my blogger friends staying safe at home and surviving this pandemic so far. The world has changed and therefore we must change with it. And we will. Our lives have been altered, but we must "Rise from the ashes!"

Stay safe.... and thanks for your usually wonderful informative posts!

DMS said...

Oh- that is so sad about the bookstore. It looks like a lovely shop to find some treasures to sink into. I hope not too much was damaged in the fire and that the cleanup isn't as bad as I imagine it to be!

Stay safe!
~Jess

Anabel Marsh said...

Vandalism of a bookshop is tantamount to sacrilege!

Sandra Cox said...

Set fire to a second-hand bookshop? That's horrible.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane – who knows what pleasure they can get from their actions … whether they were on drugs, homeless … and were probably without a loving family while growing up. Just sad and I do hope it’ll re-open and be available for us browse and search in.

@ Michael – our second-hand bookstore I hope is not decimated and will open again. I don’t know how you help people who are destined along that sort of self-destruction journey. Very very sad.

All well here – as you have been changing your world – it sounds like things are settling down for you – which is good to know in times like these.

@ Jess – lots of treasure in the bookshop and I too hope their antiquarian books will be found in ‘good shape’. I’ll only find out later on …

@ Anabel – I know – I suppose the books outside were too tempting for arsonists … a brief moment of ecstasy for them – before the horror set in – but they were long gone. However the bookshop has to sort things out …

@ Sandra – I know … I just feel for the owners and people who love books who either work there, or are happy customers …

Thanks so much to you all for visiting – I’ll keep you updated as to how the recovery goes – stay safe - Hilary

Debdatta Dasgupta Sahay said...

Oh no! why are people so destructive? This breaks my heart.

Sandra Cox said...

I bet one could have found some buried treasure in the book world in that shop.

Suzanne Furness said...

What a terrible thing to happen at the book shop, Hilary.
Reading your history of books in their various forms was most interesting. I'm glad you have plenty to keep you busy in these strange times. Best wishes, Suzanne.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I love small bookstores and love, love, libraries. How exciting that you've come upon these fascinating types of books down through the ages. Truly inspiring. I am so very sad that your small bookstore was burned. Such a crying shame.

Hilary, your blog posts always make my day. Thank you so much for sharing what you are learning, what you are visiting, and what’s on your mind. Be safe, my dear!

Sandra Cox said...

Wow. They taxed fishing over two thousand years ago? Who'd a thought.

Sandra Cox said...

It amazes me, the numerous ways we've used through the centuries to get our thoughts down.
YOU stay safe. Stay healthy.

Lowcarb team member said...

I do enjoy any visit to a book shop be they new or second hand, so was saddened to read about this fire.
I feel sorry for the owner and all those who used to frequent the shop … a sad loss.

All the best Jan

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

How horrible! That bookstore looks like it was a real treasure, and it's dreadful that anyone would try to destroy it. So many lost books, but at least the building is still standing. I hope they're able to bring it back to life.

Yet another interesting post, dear Hilary. Thanks for being such an informative columnist. :)

Take care, and have a super weekend. Cheers!

jabblog said...

Vandalism always causes heartache. I hope the owners can recoup their losses, though some of the books will undoubtedly be irreplaceable.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh no! The poor bookshop! I just can't imagine, all those books... Goodness, I still get upset when I remember the library of Alexandria!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Debdatta – it’s very sad the way people can behave … with no respect for other people’s property or things of value …

@ Sandra – yes it was a shop with rare books; there were taxes raised for the authorities of the locality even millennia ago … and yes I was surprised to see how we’d been recording our ideas.

@ Suzanne – I haven’t found out how much can be recovered. I found the history of books fascinating to realise. Thanks … lots to read too …

@ Victoria – I know this bookstore was packed with books of various types … valuable and novels … great choices for us too. The British library post was a lovely read.

Delighted you enjoyed the post – thanks so much … the articles are different – that much I know …

@ Jan – good to see you here … thanks – yes any bookshop is good … but I hope it’s recoverable – not easy and unknown at the moment with lockdown.

@ Susan – such a stupid thing to do … and yes it was a much loved treasure. The building looks to be ok – but difficult to tell … as the fire was at the side and how far did it penetrate … we’ll find out.

Delighted you enjoyed the post … thanks so much for the ‘informative columnist’ description …

@ Janice – vandalism is so unnecessary – shows the degree of lack of self-worth; I hope the shop will be able to sort things out – at least friends were in there helping – but not at all sure about the future …

@ Deniz – I know … such a dreadful thing to have happened … especially as it was/is highly respected for their knowledge and the books available. The ancient libraries have really suffered in early centuries …

Thanks for your comments and the interest in the post – lovely seeing … cheers Hilary