The Guardian notices Heffers 140th anniversary. The University’s Alumni site gets in on the act too.

Though I preferred Bowes & Bowes (even before it evolved into the CUP Bookshop), Heffers deserves respectful attention. Always bigger, and stuffier, it opened sub-branches in its heyday and also published quite a few books. The one I have, The Story of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, a farewell gift from my favorite teacher at school, was published in 1951, and tells us it was printed “at the Works of W. Heffer & Sons Ltd, in Cambridge”. I think “the works” must have been closed before I started working in Cambridge in 1969: I certainly have no recollection of them. It looks like they may have been on Hills Road near where my granddaughter now goes to sixth-form college. This would place them just across the railway lines from Cambridge University Press’s printing plant.

Unknown 12.48.35 PMMy main memory of Heffers dates back to its pre-1970 location in Sidney Street in a site now occupied by Jack Wills, the preppy clothiers. Sic transit gloria mundi; though bookselling survives in the shape of Waterstones next door. I think this photo may date from a year or two before my familiarity with the place: it looks like it might be from the year of a coronation: maybe 1936. I remember this place fondly as the locus of the make-or-break sale of my undergraduate’s calendar, a broadsheet poster onto which you could add your personal annotations. I wasn’t doing too well until Heffers came through with a large(-ish) order which took me a couple of pounds over breakeven.

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