Popped into Topping and Company’s new home yesterday.
After 14 years on the Paragon, this independent bookseller has moved to a magnificent Georgian building in York Street – formerly known as The Friends Meeting House.
Becoming a bookshop marks an exciting new chapter for a building that has a rich historic legacy.
Designed in 1817 by William Wilkins, architect of The National Gallery, for use as a Masonic Hall, it was an assembly room and non-conformist chapel during the 1830s and has since been in the hands of the Religious Society of Friends.
It is a listed building of significant architectural heritage, and one of the few remaining examples of the Greek revival style in Bath
With handcrafted bookcases spread over two floors – and with a mezzanine level too – this has got to be one of the biggest independent shops in the country.
With a much larger space, Topping’s say they’ll be able to host many more of the biggest names in the literary world in the bookshop itself – and they are still offering many book-lined nooks and crannies to enjoy their traditional complimentary pot of coffee or tea.
One added bonus – once proper steps are constructed – is that Toppings will offer its customers the chance to step outside and view the magnificent 18th-century facade of Ralph Allen’s townhouse which lies alongside their new bookshop – hidden from view from the street.
The buildings became his town offices when this wealthy stone quarry owner moved to Prior Park in 1745.