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Norfolk village school that shut in 1930s lovingly restored as a bookshop

Lucie Riches at the headmaster's desk in the Old School Bookshop she has opened in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Lucie Riches at the headmaster's desk in the Old School Bookshop she has opened in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

A former school has been refurbished and transformed into an independent bookshop, earning it top marks from locals.

The Old School Bookshop has just opened along The Green in Old Buckenham, near Attleborough.

It stocks second-hand contemporary fiction and non-fiction books in "excellent or like new condition".

The building was originally the village school, which shut in the 1930s, but more recently it was used by the neighbouring All Saints Church as the 'Church Rooms' community space.

Eastern Daily Press: The Old School Bookshop was previously used as the Church Rooms in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley
Eastern Daily Press: The Old School Bookshop was previously used as the Church Rooms in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley

The Old School Bookshop was previously used as the Church Rooms in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

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It is now being leased by Lucie Riches as a bookshop, who grew up with "her nose stuck in endless novels".

She moved to Old Buckenham in 2018 with her husband Mark and launched Book Bubble, selling books online and at pop-up sales across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Eastern Daily Press: Lucie Riches inside the Old School Bookshop in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley
Eastern Daily Press: Lucie Riches inside the Old School Bookshop in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley

Lucie Riches inside the Old School Bookshop in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

But she has now achieved her dream of having a bricks-and-mortar bookshop.

The refurbishment has included repairing and pointing the high ceiling, sanding and restoring the wooden floor and renovating the toilets with disabled access.

Customers can also see some original school features, including the headmaster's desk, fireplaces and coat hooks.

Eastern Daily Press: The Old School Bookshop is in the former home of the village school, which shut in the 1930s Picture: Denise Bradley
Eastern Daily Press: The Old School Bookshop is in the former home of the village school, which shut in the 1930s Picture: Denise Bradley

The Old School Bookshop is in the former home of the village school, which shut in the 1930s Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

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Mrs Riches said: "Our books offer a more environmentally-friendly shopping option compared to buying new.

"We also have a small collectables range and can order in new titles."

Eastern Daily Press: Some of the books stocked at The Old School Bookshop Picture: Denise Bradley
Eastern Daily Press: Some of the books stocked at The Old School Bookshop Picture: Denise Bradley

Some of the books stocked at The Old School Bookshop Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

The Old School Bookshop also stocks products from local makers such as The Ruby Grace Candle Co and Suzanne Campbell Glass.

She is running a monthly book club alongside wellbeing and author events, with plans for local art exhibitions next year.

Eastern Daily Press: Lucie Riches at the headmaster's desk in the Old School Bookshop she has opened in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley
Eastern Daily Press: Lucie Riches at the headmaster's desk in the Old School Bookshop she has opened in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley

Lucie Riches at the headmaster's desk in the Old School Bookshop she has opened in Old Buckenham Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Newsquest)

She added: "The bookshop offers a retreat for readers and the reaction has been very positive so far.

"We have had a lot of comments about the transformation of the hall and the fantastic quality of the books."

The Old School Bookshop is currently open Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm, with the addition of December 17 and December 24 from 10am to 2pm.

See upcoming events at oldschoolbookshop.co.uk