Back in April 1991, and in the face of a rather large overdraft, Mary Manley decided to open a secondhand bookshop - one that would be based on the swap system and called Barter Books.
Her husband, Stuart, immediately took to the idea and suggested that Mary open the shop in the front room of what was then his small manufacturing plant, located in Alnwick's magnificent old Victorian railway station. From that time a joint partnership was formed that would eventually result in what the New Statesman magazine would call 'The British Library of secondhand bookshops'.
Today the shop has many extra features: open fires in the Winter, beloved by all. The Station Buffet with good plain food, coffee, tea and cookies. Plus Paradise, the new ice cream parlour. A model railway acting as a link between the book columns of the central room, along with poetry lines. Three stunning 40-foot murals. Numerous restored station features. Generous seating. A children's room with enough toys to allow parents and grandparents to browse elsewhere in peace - provided one guardian is left to look after the children! And a whole huge room lined with over forty glass cases containing many of the more interesting antiquarian books.