Shops to See in Oxford: Blackwell's Bookshop. A Massive Historical Store. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.

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Blackwell’s Bookshop

Blackwell’s Bookshop first opened its doors in 1879, on Broad Street, Oxford. They have been trading continuously from there ever since.

The History of Blackwell's Bookshop

The first Blackwell’s Bookshop opened in Oxford in 1846. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Blackwell’s was founded, when Benjamin Henry Blackwell opened a 12ft square room at 50 Broad Street. 

DO NOT MISS: When you visit the shop, you can still see the first bookcase that was fitted in the shop. It’s on the first floor at the top of the stairs and it’s marked by a small plaque, be sure not to miss it!

In 1913 Basil Blackwell, Benjamin’s son, joined the family business. He took over the firm in 1924 and became affectionately known as the “gaffer”. By then, the shop had expanded to 51 Broad Street too. 

In 1925, Basil Blackwell became the President of the International Association of Antiquarian Booksellers. He opened his first shop outside Oxford the net year (when he bought George’s in Bristol). Sir  Basil Blackwell was knighted in 1956 by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to bookselling. No other bookseller was honoured this way. He also received the Freedom of the City of Oxford in 1970. He died in 1984, ages 94. He was survived by a son, Julian, and two daughters, Penelope and Corinna. 

In 1995, Blackwell’s became one of the first retailers to go online, giving people across the world access to over 150,000 titles.

How to Visit Blackwell's Bookshop

If you’re in Oxford, don’t miss Blackwell’s. 

Address: 48-51 Broad St. Near the Bodleian Library.

Telephone: 01865 792792.

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