93 High Street, Thame, OX9 3HJ
This year The Book House in Thame is 50 years old, having opened on Thame’s High Street in 1972. The Book House is very much a family business – though not all our staff are genetically linked! The owner, Brian Pattinson has been here for 50 years, his sister-in-law Luise for a mere 42 years…They originally opened at 42 High Street in a house once occupied by the famous Irish poet W.B. Yeats! Indeed his son Michael was born there, giving Thame a special place in the history of literary giants.
Originally a specialist children’s bookshop, they added books for grown-ups a few years later – without losing their focus on being a children’s specialist. They are very much a community bookshop, and their shop reflects the broad base of interests of their customers – some of whom are now bringing their own children to the shop, having started as customers when children themselves…They are easily found by locating the Puffin, who stands on sentry duty outside the shop most days (unless it’s too windy) as he has done for the last half century, being a gift from the children’s publishers Puffin Books to celebrate their opening all those years ago.
The Book House is a very special place. There are many conversations with customers about happy discoveries in the world of books, and the team are also keen to get recommendations. They love being part of Thame and because so many of their customers have been coming to them for years, they have grown alongside each other – which they hold as a very special privilege.
There is a book for almost everything – and if they don’t have it, they can almost certainly order it in, usually the next day. Of course, this includes a large selection of cookery books, reflecting the keen interest in food/cookery held by their staff, who are as happy to exchange enthusiasms about cookery books as they are about any other books in the shop!
Thame is still a market town – and not supermarket town and remains full of fiercely-independent shops. The weekly bustle of the incoming market, replete with ever-changing produce and delights, brings in a bevy of visitors from the outlying villages as well as Thame’s own inhabitants, and gives the town a different vibe for the day. The Farmers’ Mart too has its own energy, keeping Thame’s place in Oxfordshire’s agricultural life. And Thame itself is beautiful – full of wonderful architecture and historic connections, kept in seasonal decoration by the town council and the businesses within it. There are many fascinating trails through the town focusing on its rich history and the Spread Eagle has a list of famous authors who used to come to Thame to eat there – including Evelyn Waugh and JRR Tolkien. We love to think of them walking through Thame, a great link between books and food!