October Books

Studio B.A.D, Southampton, 2018


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Nigel Rigden     Download Original

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Community space and independent bookshop re-housed in former bank

October books was formed in 1977 in Southampton in Portswood High street. It is a non for profit co-operative radical neighbourhood independent book shop.

The shop itself is independent from any political organisation, and looks to promote a fair and equal society. October books featured in an article in the Guardian in June 2014, when Own Hatherley discussed “how the spirit of revolution lives on in radical bookshops" and how it only survived that year, due to local financial contribution’s.

In January 2018 the collective decided it was time to free itself from the large rental being paid to its land lord at the time and planned for a brighter future. The co-operative then entered into a collaborative consortium with a local homeless charity ‘The Society of St James’ with a view to purchasing their own building, a former Natwest Bank. To do this they had to raise £300,000 of community funds, selling loan stock and crowd funding. By April 2018 this had been surpassed, with incredible community passion and engagement.

The bank was purchased in April 2018 and Studio B.a.d where appointed to undertake a feasibility study to re-imagine the building! It was imagined that this project, would provide space for rooms for hire for community events and health and well-being activities, a social enterprise hub as well as supported housing for the homeless on the first and second floors of the former bank.

The design strategy has been to create a very simple forensic and sympathetic review of the existing former bank building. The street elevation at ground level has some key Neo-classical features that give opportunities for this to be cleaned up to give a new face to the high street. The proposals for the main front entrance was to enhance and respect the existing features. Internally within the book shop the proposed strategy, was to create a simple key timber element.


  • Begun: Sep 2018
  • Completed: Nov 2018
  • Floor area: 156m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £135,000
  • Funding: crowd funding and loan stock sold to the local community
  • Tender date: Aug 2018
  • Procurement: JCT INTERMEDIATE
  • Address: 189 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 2WX, United Kingdom

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