New shop open

Photograph by Oliver Dixon Photography, www.olliedixon.com

This Saturday, 26 February 2022, marks a new chapter for Ashtead High Street and small businesses, as a brand-new independent bookshop opens its doors. Established by local Ashtead residents it provides the village with its first bookstore in living memory.

Word on the Street Bookshop is a general bookshop offering beautiful books from the latest best sellers and new releases, to dedicated sections on fiction, crime & thriller, biography, memories, science fiction, art & culture, history & politics, nature, travel, humour, sport, poetry, food & drink and mind, body & spirit.

Based at 60 The Street, Ashtead, the store will also have an impressive children’s section, with a mixture of children’s fiction and non-fiction. There will also be a selection of teenage/young adult titles available.

The store aims to sell a broad, diverse and inclusive selection of titles and welcomes all to provide reviews on books they have read.

The idea for the bookshop has developed over a number of years where a small group of local people have contemplated the prospect of a bookshop in Ashtead Village and the opportunity arose during the recent lockdown when the property at 60 The Street became available.

One of the Directors, Dawn Brewer, who has been an Ashtead resident for 29 years, has subsequently worked closely with a group of like-minded local ‘bookworms’ to design and build the bookshop, with the aim of making it a community asset that will encourage reading and provide immediate access to a range of fiction and non-fiction books.

Dawn has worked as an Oncology Nurse Specialist for 38 years. Over the lockdown period, she decided to take the brave step and launch a new career. One of three directors of the new store, Dawn, who formally retired from the NHS just this week, said:

“After a demanding and rewarding medical career, the time now feels right for a change – and so the idea of our village bookshop came to fruition. With the support of a fantastic team of local people it has been amazing that the right skillset has come together and the premises became available at just the right time in an excellent position in the heart of the village.So here we are, launching Word on the Street Bookshop.

“We can’t wait to open and welcome Ashtead residents and visitors – there is something for everyone.

To mark the launch, the new store has been working with local schools to engage pupils and encourage their reading – primary school children are designing bookmarks for a competition and secondary aged children are encouraged to share reviews of their favourite books. Winners will be announced in early March, and materials displayed in store.

As well as an extensive range of books, the store will also provide greeting cards, notebooks and wrapping paper.

Dawn describes her love of books: “I studied English throughout school and followed all the set texts, but then my husband Jon bought me Lord of the Rings and I devoured it! That was the start of my love of reading for my own pleasure. I’ve not put books down ever since!

“Some of my favourites are Small Island by Andrea Levy, anything by Anne Tyler – and more recently Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.I can’t wait to hear what our customers’ favourites are too!”

Epsom-born Celebrity Mel Giedroyc – actress, comedian, TV presenter and author – will officially open the store at a launch event on Wednesday 2 March, when guests will have the opportunity to meet her as she signs her first novel, The Best Things.

Word on the Street will be open Monday-Saturday, 9am to 5pm.

To find out more please visit the store at 60 The Street, call 01372 273932 or email hello@wordonthestreetbookshop.co.uk

You can also follow the store on Instagram: @wordonthestreetbookshop