has become famous for 'that town which is
one big second-hand bookshop'. It is located on the Welsh / English
border, so much so that most of the town lies within Wales, but eastern
parts do encroach into England. The town is, nonetheless, considered to
be in Wales as indicated by the bilingual road signs. Boasting the
remains of two Norman castles - similar to nearby Builth Wells - the
history of the town predates the Conquest.
Strolling around on a hot sunny day during the 2011 Hay Festival we
came across a couple of lettering examples.
Golesworthy's on Broad Street still trades as a
camping and hunting/fishing shop. Established in 1877, this traditional
country store is still run by the founding family supplying clothing,
footwear and other useful products from tent pegs to maps. This brass
signature cut into the threshold paving may be unique. It must have
been an expensive piece of branding.
George William Pitt Booth lives in Hay Castle
and is credited with transforming the town into a global attraction for
second-hand book lovers.
Richard Booth's family have lived in the Hay area for more than a
hundred years. The son of a garage mechanic, Richard Booth attended
Rugby school and Oxford University. After graduating, he decided to
return to his Mid Wales roots. Mr Booth, the self-styled 'King of Hay'
is quite a controversial figure.
In 1961, he opened his first second-hand bookshop in Hay, shipping in
hundreds of books from across the globe. Booth was convinced that a
town full of book stores could become an international attraction -
"you buy books from all over the world and your customers come from all
over the world". At 44 Lion Street the company has reused premises with
a fine frontage with its mouldings, ceramics and cast iron detailing.
They describe it as: 'an elegant façade with its glazed
animalier tiles'. Most striking is the golden lion's head at the top
with its claws
grasping a shield bearing the characters:
been unable to establish the original trade run
from this shop, but would bet on a butcher and game dealer.
to Historic Lettering from outside
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Historic Lettering website: Borin Van Loon
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