A POPULAR York bookshop is to close after more than half a century.

Babrican Bookshop, wich specialises in Christian books, has operated for 53 years including 46 in its current location in Fossgate, but it will close in the New Year, it was announced today.

The shop opened in Walmgate Bar in 1961, owned by Dick Rollinson. It moved to Fossgate six years later and Les and Jean Bingham took over as owners in 1973. It has been in their family since and is now run by their son Andy. The shop was bought by the Christian bookshop company Wesley Owen in 2006.

They said in a statement: “The worlds of bookselling and retail have changed immensely over the last ten years, with online selling, the manner in which people read and the way churches resource themselves all reducing the sales in our shop.

“Over this time the long-standing team in the store have worked tirelessly to adapt to the new trading environment, but the financial realities have caught up with us.”

“The Barbican has had a long and illustrious history, with its eclectic range of books, its unique specialisms of York, railway and aviation books as well as its core range of Christian titles so the owners of Wesley Owen would like to pay a special tribute to the Bingham family who over the years have been the driving force behind the shop.

"They ran the Barbican as a successful independent for many years, and chose to sell the shop to Wesley Owen in 2006.”

The firm said the decision to close was taken after much thought, prayer and discussion.