ONE of York’s oldest and best-loved shops is set to close its doors at the turn of the new year.

Ken Spelman Books has recently announced that in January 2022 it will be closing for the last time.

The shop has been in Micklegate for more than 70 years, offering citizens a vast range of rare books both new and secondhand.

The Royal Society of Literature has branded it “one of the best independent retailers in the country”.

The business was founded by Ken Spelman in 1948, who was able to open the shop after unexpectedly coming into some money after the Second World War.

He retired after 25 years of work and the business was bought by Peter Miller, who in turn retired in 2012 after working for 44 years.

After his retirement the shop was bought by its current owner, Tony Fothergill.

Tony is a collector of rare material, specialising in books from the 18th and 19th centuries about topics such as fine arts and gardening, as well as manuscripts and documents.

Although the shop may be closing, the business will be continuing under the ownership of Mr Fothergill.

Shop assistant Melissa McAvoy, who has worked at the shop for 11 years, said: “It’s been a wonderful place to work. I’ll really miss working here, but it’s the nature of businesses at the minute unfortunately. It’s been a great experience.”

Despite the shop closing, Mr Spelman will be trading online, as well as attending book-fairs, catalogue work and via appointment, whilst also continuing to manage the annual York National Book Fair which is held each September.

The shop will be go forward with a focus based more on the antiquarian side of the business.

Mr Fothergill said: “It may be less well-known that our customers, well before the advent of the internet, were spread world-wide, and a major part of the business is in working alongside private and institutional clients in developing their rare book and manuscript collections.

“From Yale and Princeton in America to the Rijksmuseum in Holland, books from Ken Spelman have been gradually and quietly added to their holdings.

“Ken Spelman were one of the first booksellers to realise the importance of unique and physical manuscripts in an age where easily digitised printed books were becoming more prominent.

“This change in direction is not a retirement or anything similar but instead a moment of redefining.

“For the majority of clients it will appear completely unchanged.”

Contact details for the business remain unchanged and a new website is currently in development.

The website can be accessed by searching for