BLACKWELL'S bookshop is one of Oxford's most iconic landmarks and attracts thousands of visitors from across the world every year.

The Broad Street store began trading in 1879 and continues to thrive to this day, as highlighted in our Rediscover Oxford campaign with Oxford City Council.

REDISCOVER OXFORD: Blackwell's bookshop like you've never seen it before

After 141 years, Blackwell's has plenty of tales to tell - sales manager David Kelly reveals 10 things you might not know about the famous bookseller.

  • Blackwell's was the first to publish JRR Tolkien - before he became famous for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, the bookseller published children's poem Goblin's Feet.
  • Blackwell's is one of the largest bookshops in the world - in our basement alone, The Norrington Room, we have 3.5km of bookshelves.
  • Dorothy L Sayers, the wonderful crime writer, used to be the secretary to Sir Basil Blackwell, son of founder Benjamin Henry Blackwell.
  • In more recent times, lots of booksellers have gone on to be successful writers. This includes Booker Prize-nominated Daisy Johnson (her new book 'Sisters' comes out this week to much acclaim) and the children's murder mystery writer Robin Stevens, who has concluded her 'Murder most Unladylike' series this week with 'Death Sets Sail'.
  • We've hosted many famous writers and well-known figures, from Oxford's own such as Sir Roger Bannister to John Lydon and Muhammad Ali. We have many signed photographs of these events around the shop and in our 'Gaffer's Office' you will find our visitors' book that has an incredible wealth of signatures from all of our famous visitors.

Read also: Remember When Blackwell's bookshop family house was hit by lightning

  • We have a rare book and antiquarian department  - the oldest text is from 1470 and their highest-valued is £90,000.
  • We sell books all over the world through our website and were one of the first online retailers.
  • We have bookshops across the country, as far as Exeter in the south and Aberdeen in the North. Oxford is lucky, though, as we have a specialist art, graphic novel and manga store on broad street and a shop in Westgate.

Oxford Mail:

Peter Saxel

  • One of our booksellers, Peter Saxel, started working with us on the day we landed on the moon in 1969 - he's still selling books, but we haven't been back to the moon much since.
  • We're a shop that opened for all of the city and are proud to be Oxford's bookshop. The shop has been in the Blackwell family since the beginning and the plan is for Toby Blackwell to hand the business over to all of the booksellers as a co-operative in the near future.