Richard Bingham, behind closed doors since 1974
In a dramatic turn of events, a shop about which few people have heard and even fewer use, is in danger of closing unless more people know about it and use it.
The Unitary bookshop is located in a series of underground tunnels originally built in the 60s to house right-wing Conservative councillors in case of a left-wing revolution. As the Cold War due to a close, Glasnost prevailed and Tony Blair headed the Labour Party, all fears of the left-wing ever having a voice again faded completely and one of the dark tunnels was turned over to the entrepreneurial Archbishop of Herne Farm who inaugurated a secular, yet highly religious bookshop within.
Now, after more than 30 years of waiting for somebody to come through the door, the bookshop is in danger of closing. It is news which has saddened several of the volunteers who work there.
Richard Bingham, the seventh Earl of Lucan, has volunteered in the shop since 1974 and was distraught to learn of its possible closure.
With his words spoken by an actor, he said: “I’ve been hidden here for more than 30 years and the thought of having to move somewhere else if the shop should close is heartbreaking. It’s come as something of a shock – almost as much of a shock as that day in 1987 when somebody came in. But he was looking for the Physic garden and we were able to send him on his way.
“By the way, what IS a Physic Garden ?”
A spokesman for rival capitalist bookshop Hellstones, Lucifer Dark-Lord, said: “It’s such a shame that in a largely secular society there is no room for a shop such as this: one selling cards, books and wooden toys designed to brainwash people into denying science.
“Mind you the authors of those books have been around for years trying to flog their wares. It’s time for the new bright young authors like Richard Dawkins to have a chance at hitting the bestseller lists.”
The Unitary Bookshop is a family run business still managed by three generations: father, son and holy nephew. A spokesman recalled: “We’ve always had a variety of books. The first book was Genesis – we sold a lot of those until people started bringing them back having thought they were a biography of a 70s rock band.