Rare books go up in flames

Jo Francis
Monday, November 22, 2021

Rare book, journals and magazines – including a first edition of the Radio Times – have been destroyed in a fire in North Wales.

Fire-hit building has been condemned. Image: North Wales Fire Service
Fire-hit building has been condemned. Image: North Wales Fire Service

The warehouse and shop premises of Berwyn Books and the Cheshire Book Centre caught fire overnight on 16 November, with some 400,000 items worth around £1m destroyed due to the severity of the blaze, which spread across the whole premises. 

The building, on the Spencer Industrial Estate in Buckley, has now been condemned. 

Writing on Facebook, the Berwyn Books team commented: “We are extremely fortunate that no one was in the building at the time, and all our team, though obviously distraught at these events, are physically safe and well.

“We also want to say thank you to the Fire Department. Dozens of officers worked all night to stop the fire, they were all lovely and did everything they could to help.”

Treasures that went up in flames included a copy of the first ever issue of the Radio Times, from 1923; a book signed by Queen Victoria and rare book collections, letters and journals. 

One of the firm’s customers has set up a GoFundMe and has raised £2,500 so far. Berwyn Books will also still hold its Christmas Fair on 11 December at a nearby cricket club. 

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. 

After the incident North Wales Fire Service, put an appeal out on Twitter urging all businesses to ensure they carry out a fire risk assessment and review it regularly.

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