BLACKWELL’S Bookshop began trading on January 1, 1879 as a dealer in rare and secondhand books.

Benjamin Henry Blackwell traded from a single tiny room which was all but filled by one chair and one customer.

Now, 140 years on at the store in Broad Street, the books empire has grown massively.

And staff, particularly those in the rare books department, are keen to ensure the anniversary is not overlooked.

Susan Theobald, a member of Blackwell’s rare books team, said: “Blackwell’s started with rare books so we want to mark the anniversary.”

The store’s deputy manager Zool Verjee said: “There will be a series of author events starting in February and March and we will be creating a list if 140 books to represent the past 140 years.

“These books will represent the best of the year for those 140 years, across all genres - the whole kit and caboodle.”

Mr Verjee said a special party was being planned for the summer so that staff and invited authors could celebrate.