Castle Craft and Book Shop

July 7, 2019

The Dobson family have owned Brancepeth Castle since 1978, when it was bought as a base for Dennis Dobson’s publishing company, Dobson Books. The company published its first book in 1944 and for the next 35 years was based in London.

Notable authors published by the firm include humorists Spike Milligan, Ronald Searle and Gerard Hoffnung, science fiction legends Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance and John Wyndham, and children’s picture books from David McKee, Ralph Steadman and Quentin Blake. Alongside these were serious works on musicology, religion and politics.

By the late 1970s the lease on the Dobson warehouse in Notting Hill was coming to an end, and a couple of chance encounters led to the family buying the castle - the cellars gave ample space for warehousing and there was plenty of room upstairs for offices and accommodation.

Sadly Dennis Dobson died before the move could be completed, but the books all arrived and were duly packed into the wine cellar, the old kitchens and other (large) corners of the castle. Few new books were published after the move, but the business continued selling on books from its extensive catalogue. With the eventual closing down of the business the remainder of the stock was bought in by the Castle and is being sold second hand through this shop. There is something for everyone, with forgotten gems to be discovered or re-discovered.

Alongside the books there is a range of castle merchandise, from bags and tea towels to fridge magnets and postcards. A growing section of the shop, however, displays craft items made in the castle. So far we have beautiful cutting/cheese boards in a range of woods, zipped pouches in designer and vintage fabrics, and our home made marmalades - with more items to follow.