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400,000 books destroyed in fire including book signed by Queen Victoria

By November 22, 2021Bookshops, News

A fire has destroyed over 400,000 books including one signed by Queen Victoria.

The ruined warehouse had stored “irreplaceable” editions such as a book signed by Queen Victoria and a first edition of the Radio Times from 1923.

The fire occurred at Berwyn Books, Buckley, Flintshire, and staff said they were “devastated” to lose the books, letters, and journals- which had a combined value of about £1m.

“There’s nothing salvageable,” said manager Emma Littler.

Lost in the fire- a book signed by Queen Victoria in 1868

“For all of us it’s a place that was nothing but quirky, it was something that everyone was a part of.”

She said “some of the real pieces of history that’ve been lost”, including 30 archaeological book collection valued at £5,000.

Team member Jane Sutcliffe told the BBC that Berwyn Books was “an Aladdin’s cave”.

“We’re not quite sure where to go next,” she said. “We’re still reeling and it’s too early to make any big decisions.”

The community came together to offer support to the business, including neighbours who fed the firefighters who spent hours putting out the blaze, and others who started a crowdfunding campaign to help with the “devastating” loss.

After the incident, Berwyn Books wrote on Facebook that the fire had spread across the whole complex. “We don’t really know what to say, except everything’s gone.”

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