Monday, May 29, 2023 - Monday, Jun 19, 2023
At 9.00 am on Friday May 28 1965, at 127 Buckley Street, Essendon, my parents and I opened the door to a new phase in our lives.
When the shop first opened, it was not a bookshop. Books were there in numbers, but they competed with kerosene lamps, handicrafts, antiques, furniture and glassware for the attention of customers. The shop began in a tired retail strip in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon. London and New York, the centres of the book trade in the English-speaking world, were ten thousand miles distant.
Of the three founding partners, none had ever owned a business. On the opening day, one partner was nineteen, and the other two were in their fifties. Two months after the shop opened, one of the partners suffered a fatal heart attack. The remaining partners decided to carry on. They were women, operating a business at a time when female entrepreneurs were scarce. Extract (p. 3) from Rare. A life among antiquarian books by Stuart Kells. Folio, Sydney, 2011
The heading to Chapter 5 in Kells’ book is I wonder how long they will last? The general consensus in those first few weeks in business was 'they won’t last more than six months'. Although no longer with my parents by my side (Les died aged 50 in 1965 and Muriel in 2017 aged 105 years and 8 months), I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have met and married Jonathan Burdon, who is from a family of booksellers. Thanks to his support and that of my two outstanding long term bookshop colleagues, Alison Sayers and David Cosgrove, on Sunday May 28, 2023 I celebrated 58 years in the book business. Of course, the support of so many loyal customers over the past six decades has played a pivotal part in the longevity of 'Kay Craddock – Antiquarian Bookseller'.