Driving past the old Sangster’s Book Store building in Liguanea last week, I noticed how derelict it was looking and thought briefly about the fact that it had been a Liguanea landmark since my childhood. Then yesterday I saw this tweet:I sent a quick replyand then grabbed my camera and headed for the location to see if I could capture something of the demolition of this old building.
The Sangster’s Bookstores website has a brief history of the business, which indicates that the Liguanea branch was established in 1951.
It was located at one end of the island that sits at the intersection of Old Hope Road and Mona Road, sandwiched between the Standpipe community and what is now the US Embassy, which used to be the Bamboo Pen property.This was the first bookstore that I actually remember spending time at and over the years I spent many happy hours browsing there. It was also a convenient place to buy school books or supplies. During the 1970s, the supply of books became rather sparse, with the difficulties in importing things during those years. Later on I bought my first art book ever at Sangster’s, the most expensive book I’d bought till that point. A beautiful book about René Magritte, the surrealist painter whose work I loved. It cost J$61.65, which was an extremely extravagant purchase for a young teacher whose monthly take home pay at the time was less than J$400.
I still remember the closing down sale held before the store was relocated to Sovereign Centre in the early 1990s; all of the Penguin paperbacks were on sale at sharply discounted prices and I bought a lot of them, some of which I still have.
When I got to the location , the excavator was busy at work, with a couple of trucks being filled with debris.
Much of the building was already gone.The intersection will certainly look very different when it’s all cleared.A young woman there asked me if I liked what I saw; I said I had known the building for a long time, but that it had been in a bad condition. She said yes, it had been condemned and it was time it was torn down. One of the workmen asked me if I was the client, as he had seen me taking a lot of photos. I explained that I was just taking pictures because I remembered the building from childhood. He said they had asked an old man from the community how old the building was. The man was in his seventies and said he had known it since he was a little boy. The workman then wondered what would be built in its place and we agreed that we hoped it would be something that would be a good development in the area.
I’ve spent a little time trying online to find a photo of the building in its heyday, but with no luck. If anyone has one, I hope they might share it. An old building, a Liguanea landmark. I wonder what its full history was.