Much Ado, Now . . .
We are Cate Olson and Nash Robbins – Americans who decided to sell books in a Medieval village tucked in the South Downs . . .
Our shop, Much Ado Books, is an award-winning independent bookshop situated in Alfriston, East Sussex. We offer a hand-picked selection of both new and old books, displayed on two floors.
Named Independent Bookshop of the Year in 2007 by the British Book Industry Awards, just three years after opening, we continue to offer excellent service as well as a tempting choice of books.
We try to stock a range of new and old books by and about the Bloomsbury Group of artists and authors, which included Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant and Maynard Keynes among its members; Charleston, the group’s East Sussex home, is just a few miles away.
We also sell our very own Re-Covered Notebooks – one-of-a-kind jotters fashioned from the covers of old books that otherwise would go to the tip – click here for more about these delightful wire-bound notebooks!
Our shop is located in the heart of the Cuckmere Valley, convenient to Eastbourne, Lewes and Brighon. Click here for hours and directions
In December 2012 The Guardian named us one of the top indy shops in the country – we were emmensely flattered! Read about it by clicking here . . .
. . . & Much Ado, Then
Much Ado’s roots are in a colonial seafront town just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Marblehead, self-proclaimed Yachting Capital of the World, was our home for more than 20 wonderful years.
But we crossed the Atlantic almost nine years ago to open a new Much Ado in a Medieval English village.
And now we’ve moved our shop from a marvellous warren of steps and levels to a fantastic new home in the same village.
The former builder’s yard features our two-floor shop, a large yard (for our trio of chickens to scratch around in) and a barn that houses our antiquarian books, our printing presses, our offices and space for workshops and events.
It is hard to remember what the buildings were like when we bought the yard. The contractor needed several months to complete the mass of work – the abiding memory is a kind of collage of loud banging, roaring saws, thick dust and numerous steel beams being inserted into impossibly small spaces.
The barn, which was little more than a shell, needed even more help. The roof tiles came off, and eventually went back on painstakingly to preserve the age marks that help give the building such distinctive character. Period windows were recreated; dangerously steep stairs made way for reasonable steps; insulation lined the walls.
Now, Much Ado is a book-filled oasis, with comfy chairs and an entrancing hodge-podge of bookcases.
And three slightly pampered chickens scratching in the yard.
We’ve come a long way!
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