'And finally, not everyone’s being doing topical. In fact, here’s the rather lovely 6 Oxgangs Avenue devoted to the history of the development of the area, this week highlighting how the block of flats came into being. Could have been prompted by Who do you think you are? Or just a timely reminder that not everything worth blogging about is in the here and now.'

Kate Higgins, Scottish Roundup 26/08/2012

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Wednesday Profile #6 - Bobbie's Bookshop

Photograph, Catherine Stevenson

Bobbie's Bookshop was situated at 181 Dalry Road for over thirty five years.

The shop sold scraps and paperbacks, but the reason why I visited it was that it sold the best range of DC Comics around. 

It was an Aladdin's Cave for my Green Lanterns; Green Arrows; Superman; Batman and Robin; and Justice League of America comics.

I also picked up a few Classics Illustrated too.

Occasionally, my sister Anne might be along with me as the shop also sold scraps too.

Bobbie's had a highly unusual arrangement - if you returned books or comics then you would receive credit to be spent on further comics. Theoretically you could visit Bobbie's with no money at all, and instead trade comics.Whilst you would leave the shops with fewer comics than you entered with, you were still going home with different comics to read - oh the anticipation!

If you also had money with you, even better! I guess it was a book exchange.

Back in the 1990s on a return visit to Edinburgh I looked out to Dalry Road for fun to see if the shop still existed - I couldn't believe my eyes - yes it did!

I ventured in and spoke to the owner for a wee while - he was retiring soon, closing the shop in a few weeks; for old times' sake I bought some DCs with the Bobbie's Bookshop imprint on them and thanked him for the wonderful service he provided to the community for decades.

On doing a little research I discovered the shop was also a newsagent and had been allegedly black-balled for a few years by the Sunday Mail and Daily Record for failing to open on New Year's Day 1967 to sell papers - evidently the locals supported his stance and switched their allegiance to other papers.


Unknown said...

Hello Peter
Cannot say I remember Bobbies but I do remember the mobile library which I think you may have previously mentioned. I am still a great fan of the library even now.

Peter Hoffmann said...

Thanks Ruth-worth a wee blog in future especially as we move deeper into the autumn months when reading becomes a larger part of peoples lifestyles. You will be aware of the large number of closures of libraries throughout the UK-very sad-in my previous job libraries were a small part of my remit at Ross & Cromarty where we had around 20 including 4 mobiles-it was always a marvellous sight coming across one on my travels in some very remote parts of the County-rounding a bend on the country roads one would come across a van with nothing in sight but a few crofts, a sandy bay and the Atlantic Ocean!

Jim Irvine said...

I never got to Bobbie's at Dalry Road but I was a serious devotee of the shop in Easter Road back in the late 60s and very early 70s.

I wonder did the shop move to Dalry Road from Easter Road or were there always 2 shops?

Ken Edwards said...

Hi Peter, Bobby's Bookshop still exists today in lower Morrison St. My old friend Derek Waters has been managing it for years.
Kind regards, Ken (BFPA)

Unknown said...

Hi Jim, it was my actually my grandad that owned bobbies bookshop,there were always 2 bookshops. It's so nice that people remember the shops, I told my grandad about the comments and he was so pleased that people remembered his wee shops.

Unknown said...

Hi ken, you are correct that a bobbies bookshop still does exist but its not one of my grandads ones, it just has the same name.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I have to advise that Robert Cloughley the proprietor and manager of the Bobbies Bookshop 181 Easter Road sadly passed away peacefully on Saturday 23rd May after a lengthy period of bad health through which he fought hard and always managed to keep his great humour and smile. As one of his grandchildren have mentioned he was delighted to hear that his business provided a great service and money saving to the avid readers of books,comics and magazines.

Peter Hoffmann said...

Thank you for updating the page on the sad death of Robert Cloughley. I'm glad he was able to hear how much the Bobbie's Bookshops meant to thousands of the capital's citizens over many decades. I think a small obituary would be of interest and I'll perhaps mention it to David McLean at the Edinburgh Evening News. I'll also make a post on the Oxgangs - A Pastime From Time Past Facebook page. Peter Hoffmann

Unknown said...

I remember Bobbies Bookshop in Raeburn Place in Stockerie in the 70s. I used to get all my Marvel and DC comics there. It was wonderful. I can't remember the chap's name, but he had brown hair and was probably in his thirties at the time. I think it was across the road from Woolworth's.