Read all about it – Bookshop celebrates 30th birthday

WHEN Janet and Martin Byrom came up with a novel idea for a new business they had no idea it would become such a long read.

But the Greenfield based couple’s business on Uppermill High Street has been a page turner for three decades.

And as The Towpath Bookshop celebrates its 30th anniversary on May 17, there is no final chapter in sight for the couple’s friendly emporium.

“I wouldn’t know what else to do,” laughs Janet. “Besides, we really enjoy what we do.”

And Martin added: “I would still be browsing through book shops even if we weren’t running the shop.”


Janet and Martin

The premises had been home to a number of ventures, including a bike shop, before Oldhamer Martin and Janet from Stockport began filling the Victorian built building with books.

Now, the shop, nestled between Muse and Sacred Heart Church, is home to more than 2,000 volumes: many second-hand but also new titles, including those with local interest themes.

Ordnance Survey maps are also popular including re-prints of those covering Saddleworth villages from yesteryear.

Independent columnist Chris Maylor’s Saddleworth Discovery and Oldham Discovery Walks guidebooks are firm favourites too. And books chronicling 35 years of Saddleworth’s Wednesday Walkers are now in stock.

“During lockdown, we found the Discovery Walks were very popular,” added Janet, together with Martin, keen walkers in their spare time.

“We like to support local writers and photographers as much as we can.”

A keen knitter, she also raises funds for the Donkey Sanctuary through her craft work.

Given their passion for the written word, the couple met at a book sale and were married in 1986, opening the Towpath six years later.

“I like crime fiction, detective stories,” says Janet. “Martin is more into non-fiction, quirky things. But we like a wide range of things.

“When we first opened, I don’t think we thought how long we might be here. We just do what we do and enjoy it.”

Martin, who as a youngster played rugby league for Oldham Colts, Waterhead and Fitton Hill, has now turned his hand to broadcasting.

And if you enjoy reading and listening to popular music why not tune into his Friday Filter show, co presented with Graydon Monk, every Friday on Oldham Community Radio between 8pm-9pm.

The Towpath Bookshop is open 11am to 4pm, Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays.

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