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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Search for new tenants for shop

NEW tenants are being sought for the lodge of Carlisle Cathedral which was latterly the home of a Christian bookshop.

SPCK2
Closed: Thw SPCK Bookshop at Carlisle Cathedral

The lodge, which overlooks Castle Street, was built in 1890 as accommodation for a verger in connection with St. Mary’s Church.

St Mary’s stood on what is now a grassed area behind the lodge from 1870 until it was demolished in 1954 after closing before World War Two.

The lodge was then used to house a verger for the cathedral for many years, before being let for residential use.

The last tenancy ended in 1989 and subsequently planning permission was sought for a change of use to a shop.

SPCK, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, traded there from 1996 after previously using what is now the kitchen area of the cathedral’s Prior’s Kitchen restaurant.

SPCK, which is mainly a publishing organisation, sold its chain of bookshops to the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust which is owned by two American brothers.

It closed the Carlisle shop, which sold candles and other church requisites as well as books, along with others in Cardiff and Bristol.

That resulted in the full-time manager and four part-time staff losing their jobs and there was speculation that some might pursue employment tribunal cases.

The lodge has now been empty for several weeks but the Very Reverend Mark Boyling, the Dean of Carlisle, said: “We are confident that a use for the premises will soon be found which will allow them to continue to contribute effectively to the life of the city.”

The shop within the cathedral was not affected by events at the former SPCK shop.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Carlisle said at the time: “We are very sad at the closure of the bookshop in Carlisle. “We are grateful to Raymond Witty, the current manager, and to all the staff for their work and service of the Church in this part of the world over many years. “Of course there is concern for their future, and we hope that they will be all right. They will be much missed.”

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