Historian opens book shop at The Chester House Estate
History lovers looking for something different have been flocking to a new bookshop dedicated to Northamptonshire’s heritage.
Jon-Paul Carr has opened History Book Corner at The Chester House Estate near Irchester and is working in partnership with students from the Creating Tomorrow Trust to provide visitors with new, rare or out of print books exploring the county’s rich history.
The site itself, which opened to the public in October after a multi-million-pound restoration project funded by North Northamptonshire Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, dates back to the Romans, so is the perfect location for the bookshop.
Jon-Paul, who has also authored a number of local history books himself, said: “I’ve been actively involved in local history in the area for over 30 years and have been working closely with the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum and am a founder member and chair of the Irchester Parish Historical Society.
“Over the years I’ve collected or been given hundreds of local history books and can source first and second-hand editions of often rare or out of print books. Most people are amazed at how many books there are about Northamptonshire.
“With the Chester House Estate opening, it was the perfect opportunity to turn my passion into a business and I jumped at the chance. So far as I know, it’s the only bookshop dedicated to local history in the county.”
Jon-Paul is already a familiar face in local history circles, giving regular talks on Northamptonshire’s history all over the county. He’s now hoping to pass on his passion to the students who are helping to run the shop. The Trust supports young people with learning difficulties to gain the work experience and life skills needed to go into employment and has a centre based at Chester House.
“It has been fantastic to work with students from the Creating Tomorrow Trust,” Jon-Paul added.
“They are learning so many new skills and are genuinely finding a passion for local history themselves. And the feedback has been amazing.”
The Chester House Estate project has been supported by a grant of £3,967,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and with a Government Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage award of £719,700.
The Chester House Estate is open seven days a week and is free to enter. You can visit Jon-Paul’s history corner everyday 10am – 4pm by booking a FREE car park ticket here.