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Swanton Morley man opens Norwich bookshop

PUBLISHED: 07:21 02 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 July 2010

A new bookshop has opened in Norwich thanks to a woman brought up in Swanton Morley.

The Book Hive, on the corner of London Street and Bedford Street, has been opened by owner Henry Layte and will take on the likes of chain booksellers Waterstone's and Borders.

A new bookshop has opened in Norwich thanks to a woman brought up in Swanton Morley.

The Book Hive, on the corner of London Street and Bedford Street, has been opened by owner Henry Layte and will take on the likes of chain booksellers Waterstone's and Borders.

Mr Layte, 32, who grew up in Swanton Morley and went to North Elmham Primary School and Gresham's School in Holt, said his shop could offer something different to the large chain bookstores in the city.

He said: “It's a shop which you can sit and drink coffee and browse the selection of books. We've got lots of books you won't find anywhere else in Norwich.

“I choose all the books and I have gone for lots that I know you can't get in bigger shops, like specialist books. They may be unusual but they are brilliant.”

Mr Layte, 32, trained as an actor before going on to do an MA in writing and work at the National Theatre Bookshop in London.

The opening of the store has been a real family affair, with Mr Layte's brother Sam putting his skills as a designer, builder and decorator to good use in revamping the building.

Sam Layte, who runs Norwich-based Saint Columb Interiors, said: “It's such a privilege to be involved in something new and exciting in Norwich and a good chance to put your own stamp on something this public.”

The brothers' father James, who is an antiques dealer and appears on David Dickinson's Real Deal television programme, has provided antique furniture and art for the shop, all of which is for sale.

The new shop received the seal of approval from Norfolk actor Stephen Fry, who said at the opening he would have loved such a store in Norwich when he was growing up.

He said: “I'm delighted to see a new independent bookshop in Norwich and in such a wonderful old building as well. I hope they keep the old Interflora sign as a reminder of Stevenson's the florists who traded here for so many years.

“Independent bookshops are such a rare thing these days, so I hope it gets the support it needs and I wish Henry every success.”

The Book Hive's next event is on Friday, November 20, and is the launch of a new title by American author KR Moorhead, who lives in Norwich.

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