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Birkenhead music and comedy event will launch new home of popular book store on Saturday

2 months ago

Birkenhead music and comedy event will launch new home of popular book store on Saturday
The new book store at Nettle Cafe

A music and comedy event to launch the new home of Oxton Bookshop is being held this Saturday.

Writer and musician John Gorman and storyteller Pue Povall will be among the artists who will perform at Nettle Café within Make CIC in Cleveland Street, Birkenhead, to mark the bookshop’s move from Williamson Art Gallery and Museum.

Nettle owner Julia Strelczuk says this weekend’s event will make sure people know about the popular book store’s new home as well as celebrate a great community asset being saved after the gallery’s new management decided to close it.

“It’s the worst thing if something like this that serves the community, and has done for many years, is allowed to disappear,” she says.

Julia Strelczuk
Julia Strelczuk

“I’m delighted we’ve been able to help save it, and proud to carry on the legacy of its former owner Moira Young.”

Julia, who says the event is also a thank you to friends and volunteers who helped transport the thousands of books over, adds: “It’s so healthy to sit and read a book, and that complements everything I want to achieve at Nettle, offering a café with food and drink, as well as other regular workshops, clubs and more, to support people’s wellbeing.”

Julia, 25, who’s originally from Poland but has lived on the Wirral for 15 years, only opened Nettle eight months ago.

Having had a variety of jobs, including hospitality roles, and latterly working in social media and marketing for Grow Wellbeing within the same building Nettle’s in, she wanted to create a welcoming venue which focused on the community and people’s health and welfare.

“I had had a bit of a hiccup with my personal health – issues with my hormonal system – after university and tried everything but no-one, not the NHS or private doctors, could help me. So I ended up travelling all around Europe, Poland in particular, meeting holistic practitioners who helped me. 

Moving the book shelves
Moving the book shelves

“It absolutely changed my life. Having been told I would be on medication forever, I have been medication-free for three years and I am in tune with my own body.  I wanted to create a space that would provide that help and support to other people, like a wellbeing community hub. Nettle will hopefully help me to do that.”

The decision to host the book store came after the well-known performer John Gorman went into the café one day and asked Julia if she wanted some books.

“I said yes – people love to read – and he put me in touch with Moira.  I thought he meant a few books, I was shocked to see a whole bookstore, but it made perfect sense to go ahead with my decision.”

Julia with former Oxton Book shop owner Moira Young
Julia with former Oxton Book shop owner Moira Young

Moira had been devastated by the decision to close the bookstore which had been at Williamson Art Gallery and Museum for nine years but was determined to find somewhere new to house the impressive collection of second-hand books.  

Nettle Café, with its dedication to sustainability, holistic wellness, and community engagement, has rapidly become a popular destination hub for the community, and so was the perfect solution.

“People can come in, buy a coffee, and pick up a book and have a read. They can browse or buy – and there are lots of art, music, history and literature books which the residents in the building will have access to,” continues Julia.

“The important thing for now is that it’s found a good home and will carry on bringing joy and the written word to the community. And to be able to do that is a privilege.”

Nettle will open the book store this Saturday, February 17 from 3pm, with an afternoon of  entertainment.

Performers on Saturday include:

John Gorman – Comedy, poetry and tales

Paul Rowlands  – Music and poetry

Tom George – Music and poetry

Mike Haskins – Author Talks

Sue Povall – Storytelling

Open Mic – Anybody …and everything!

For more info on Nettle Café click here. For the latest news in Liverpool click here.



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