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With its three floors of tightly-packed shelves, the shop has changed little since it was opened by Reuben Hall in 1898. The old oak library ladder, reputed to have been made by Lord Cornwallis’ carpenter and sold to Hall’s along with his book collection, is still trundled back and forth to reach the towering top shelves, and the old chair where customers have always sat to talk and drink tea is still there too.


​When the bookshop’s previous owner, Elizabeth Bateman, died in 1983 she had already prepared her assistant Sabrina Izzard, who grew up in Tunbridge Wells, to take over. Sabrina herself retired recently and the bookshop was taken over by Adrian Harrington in 2014 who refurbished the place. This photo gallery was taken just before Adrian took the place over.​

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