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Historic bookshop in St Andrews closes as its owner retires 144 years after the store was first opened by her great-great-grandfather


  • Historic J&G Innes Ltd has sold books and stationary in St. Andrews since 1879
  • It will close on 31 December when current owner Jude Innes retires

A historic bookshop is set to close 144 years after it was opened by the great-great-grandfather of the current owner.

J&G Innes Ltd has been in business since 1879 when it was opened by brothers George and John Innes in St Andrews, Fife, a university town which counts members of the British royal family including Prince William among its alumni. 

It will close on Hogmanay after its current owner, Jude Innes, is set to retire. Jude Innes joined the family business in 1996 and has been in charge of the shop since 2012.

She has introduced many well-received events during her career, including book launches and art exhibitions, and running a stall at a poetry festival each year for over a decade.

‘I spent many happy years running the business alongside my mother until around 2012, when I took over,’ said Jude.

J&G Innes is known as as the 'Citizen Shop' to many in St Andrews, as the South Street store has become a favourite for locals

J&G Innes is known as as the ‘Citizen Shop’ to many in St Andrews, as the South Street store has become a favourite for locals  

Jude Innes will retire on 31 December and close J&G Innes, a historic St Andrews bookshop

Jude Innes will retire on 31 December and close J&G Innes, a historic St Andrews bookshop

‘I introduced the gallery on the first floor, and the introduction of art supplies, paintings and prints, which has been very successful. We also started specialising in Scottish children’s books.

‘I think what I will miss the most is the company of my team. I have had the privilege of working alongside many talented and witty people who I shall miss terribly.

‘The relationship we’ve built up with our regular customers is something very special.’

Known in St. Andrews as the ‘Citizen Shop’, the South Street bookshop has become a family favourite over the years selling books, stationery and art supplies to locals, students, and tourists.

Jude has been overwhelmed by the support shown by regulars and tourists alike since announcing the shop’s closure – and is grateful for the well-wishes both in person and on social media.

Jude said that she was now looking forward to spending more time with her husband and working on her art during her retirement

Jude said that she was now looking forward to spending more time with her husband and working on her art during her retirement

Jude, seen here in J&G Innes, said that she had been overwhelmed by the support shown by the bookshop's patrons since she announced that it would be closing

Jude, seen here in J&G Innes, said that she had been overwhelmed by the support shown by the bookshop’s patrons since she announced that it would be closing

George Innes, pictured, is the great-great-grandfather of Jude Innes, and opened the bookshop with his brother John in 1879

John Innes, who co-founded J&G Innes in 1879. The bookshop has been family run ever since

George and John Innes, who opened the bookshop J&G Innes in 1879

‘The good wishes we have received since the news came out has been very humbling,’ Jude said.

‘There have been so many people that have come in and told me they used to work for J&G Innes Ltd over the years – it’s truly amazing.

‘Without them and their loyalty, and our fabulous customers, we wouldn’t be here today.

Jude said that she was looking forward to spending more time with her husband and working on her art.

Reactions from locals have poured in on social media, with many sharing their childhood memories of visiting the shop.

One holidaymaker on Facebook described the shop as ‘one of the must-go places during holidays in Fife when my sons were in primary school – their children’s department was amazing.’

Another commenter described ‘spending hours in there as a kid,’ whilst another claimed that their nine-year-old son was ‘devastated’ at the news.



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