Christmas rain causes 'catastrophic' damage to Bridgwater bookshop

A bookshop owner in Bridgwater has spoken of her shock after coming in this week to what she’s described as ‘catastrophic’ damage to her store.

Sam Carr made the decision to close The Snug Bookshop and Cafe after the building’s roof was blown off during Storm Arwen.

But she’s now in a race against time to get her stock out safely following the latest spell of bad weather.

The once popular bookshop is now simply not safe enough for customers to be in. Much of the ceiling is on the floor and it is so damp that many of the books have started to curl.

Heavy rain over Christmas has led to more damage to the bookshop's ceiling Credit: ITV News West Country

Sam Carr made the decision to close before Christmas but what she came into after the festive holiday, and a spell of wet weather, means she needs to get out as soon as possible.

She said: "It was catastrophic. It rained a lot on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the water had just come in everywhere. The carpet was soaked.

"It's been my dream to have a bookshop since I was little and to make the decision to close the bookshop was the hardest decision I've ever had to make because this was my dream.

"I was a librarian for years and to walk away from something that made you so happy - this was the best job in the world."

The shop is part of a Grade II listed building. Sedgemoor District Council has said it is taking enforcement action against the owner to carry out repairs. That won’t come soon enough for Sam, but the closure hasn’t stopped people continuing to support her.

She said: "Even today, we're not open to the public, but I've already had contact with four or five customers phoning up with book orders.

"The business was doing great. People still read books and they still read real books. Grandparents still buy books for their grandchildren. Parents still bring their children in. The book industry is roaring at the moment.

"I think during the pandemic, people started to read again. They started to read books again and find that love for reading again. So to close the shop now, when it's doing so well, that's heartbreaking too."

For now Sam will continue working on orders and making deliveries as she works out what’s next for her and her books.