As Stuart and I have never been any good at getting grants (please, someone, tell us your secret), we've financed various projects ourselves, as and when we could. The first and ongoing project is restoring the superb Station building, itself. But other projects have been and are important to us. For example:
The Aln Valley Railway Project: a pet project of Stuart's - the aim of which was and is to restore both the three-mile long Alnmouth - Alnwick branchline and, with it, at least part of the magnificent Station building to its original purpose. Most important, this project, when completed, would have far-reaching practical value: increased tourism; the creation of more jobs and business opportunities; and thanks to the connection with the East Coast Main Line at Alnmouth, a reliable commuter service between the Alnwick area and Newcastle. To so many of us, the whole project, and on so many counts, seemed to be a natural winner from the beginning.
Money for the project was turned down flat by the Heritage Lottery Fund (in favour of, just for starters, the Millennium Dome). European funding did come through - enough to raise hopes - but was lost again when the Lottery refused to match it. The project is now in the hands of the local Council for further development, with the ongoing support of the Aln Valley Railway Trust. It's such a potentially marvellous project, it would seem a natural. All we need (can you help?) is support.
The Website Catalogue: One of Stuart's main projects, this one connected directly to the bookshop, is our very large customer catalogue. This catalogue currently lists over 45,000 books - and rising. So that it now takes several members of staff to maintain and upgrade it. Even so, the catalogue can never contain more than a small fraction of our overall stock, with our book turnover rate being roughly 3000 per week.
Nonetheless, the enthusiastic web team, led by Webmaster Jim Walsh, do their best to bring you a wide range of the best and most interesting books in our stock - with any luck, among them just that book you've been looking for. Furthermore, this growing area of our business is aided by the booksearching metasites such as BookFinder and AddAll, which access our catalogue via our listings on sites such as TomFolio, IOBA, Alibris, Amazon and ABE.
Mary's contributions to the website are design input, the basic text (excluding - thank goodness! - all the thousands of Catalogue entries).