People's Bookshop


„This is a brilliant intiatitve. Just what is needed when people are searching for ideas about how we can combat the Coalition's attacks on our community and about what sort of society we want to build out of the debris they leave behind.”

John McDonnell MP

Welcome to the People's Bookshop

The People's Bookshop is an independent, radical bookshop in the heart of Durham City. Dealing mainly in second-hand books, we aim to fill the gaps left behind by the headlong rush towards best-sellers, e-books and add-on sales. We believe that bookshops should reflect their communities and radical bookshops are an important part of the creation of a better world. If this were only about big ideas, it would be centred on the idea that 'another world is possible', but it is also about those little ideas, local histories and forgotten stories that are only preserved in the pages of actual, real books.

The People's Bookshop is conveniently located on the way up to the Cathedral & Castle in Durham City, just off Saddler Street. You'll find us up a 'vennel' - alleyway to non-Durhamites - which leads to (you guessed it!) the famous Vennels Coffee shop. The short climb up our very 'historic' staircase is rewarded not only by a wonderful view of the Castle but by our fantastic selection of second-hand and rare books, including:

  • People's Politics
  • Local History
  • Trade Unions and Labour History
  • Biography and Diaries
  • Football Writing
  • Poetry & Literature
  • Childrens
  • Collectable Books

We are trying to be more than just a collection of books, however. The People's Bookshop is a place where people can relax, browse and read certainly - but also discuss ideas, learn more about the history of the North East and get involved in community campaigns. Hey, isn't that what bookshops used to be like?

Next event:

Celebrating Phil Ochs 75th Birthday

Sunday 13th December 4pm: 

The contribution to music and politics of guys like PHIL OCHS must never be forgotten.  Phil was born on December 19, 1940 which means if he were still with us 19/12/15 would have been his 75th birthday. Sadly, he died way to early on April 9, 1976. His legacy lives on though and to celebrate Phil Ochs 75th year on December 13th ClubResistance@thepeoplesbookshop is proud to have RYAN SPENDLOVE performing a mix of his own material and a selection of related covers.

Phil Ochs was an American protest singer or as he preferred, a ‘topical’ singer/ songwriter who was known for his insightful lyrics, distinctive voice, sharp wit, humanism and political activism. He wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960s and '70s and released eight albums. Phil was a contemporary and friend of Bob Dylan who once remarked ‘I just can't keep up with Phil and he's getting better and better and better’.

Politically, Ochs described himself as an ‘early revolutionary’ and in addition to concert appearances at venues such as New York City's Carnegie Hall – which he sold out, Phil performed at many counterculture events during the 1960’s, including anti-Vietnam War protests, civil rights rallies and trade union meetings.

As the 60’s turned into the 70’s Phil continued to perform and travel. He said he was ‘looking for a cause’. However, in 1973 while in Tanzania he was viciously attacked. As a result Phil lost the top three notes of his vocal range; this seemed to send him on a downward spiral and his last years were troubled ones. Phil suffered from manic depression and alcohol related problems and tragically took his own life at the age of 35.

Fittingly, Yorkshireman RYAN SPENDLOVE (who grew up in an ex-mining community) is a troubadour who sings of life, loss and heartache in a bluesy style reminiscent of the late, great John Martyn.  In 2011 Ryan signed to US based label Candyrat, who released his first album, 'Fable'. Fable oozes confidence demonstrated by the way Ryan proudly sings in his native Yorkshire accent. After a successful U.S tour he released a second record on Candyrat entitled 'In Another World'. Opening for Ryan will be up and coming Durham based singer/songwriter JORDAN KIRKUP - who also grew up in an ex-mining community!

Tickets - £5.00 (PayPal button below)


„What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul”

Neil Gaiman

The People's Bookshop

Third Floor, The Attic
Saddlers Yard
70, Saddler Street
Phone: 0191 384 4399

Opening Times

Monday - closed
Tuesday - closed
Wednesday - closed
Thursday - 12.00 - 18.00
Friday - 12.00 - 18.00
Saturday - 12.00 - 18.00
Sunday - closed

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