Final chapter for oldest bookseller

John Ledraw
John Ledraw

Yorkshire’s oldest bookseller is calling on residents for help as he prepares to retire following 44 years of trading on Hilderthorpe Road.

John Ledraw, 84, has managed to sell around half of the 8,000 books he stocks at his home in JC Book Exchange, but fears the remaining 4,000 will have to be dumped.

“I didn’t want to leave after 45 years, but I have to accept it,” said John. “I’m in my eighties and wanted to see my life out here.”

John, who was chairman of the Royal Air Force Association first began trading at JC Book Exchange in 1971, but will have to leave by the end of September to make way for the redevelopment of Hilderthorpe Road.

Although he has another property lined up to move into, John’s book store will always hold for him dear memories and he is asking for residents to buy a book or two.

He added: “It would be a shame to dump the rest of the books after years of collecting. I’m selling all of my books for half price, and the paper backs are all on sale for £1 each.

“Andrew Sanderson at Ocean Rewards fishmongers said he will is going to help to move out when the time comes.”

John said he has witnessed the decline of Hilderthorpe Road over the years, from a bustling retail spot in the 1970s to its present situation as regeneration work gets underway. “When I came to this street every shop was full. If a shop was empty back then it would be bought up straight away. What has now annoyed me is there are no coaches stopping at the coach park.

“For the last few Sundays there has been no coaches, and no customers. It’s ruined my trade.

“But I am quite pleased with what the Council have paid me and I have got arrangements to move out at the end of September.”

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council plans to widen Hilderthorpe Road, redevelop Beck Hill, create footpaths along Bridge and Manor Street as well as create a new plaza at the town’s railway station.