The White Horse Bookshop has been a part of the fabric of Marlborough since 1943, firstly in The Parade and in its current location on the High Street since 1949 (we think!).
The shop had had four previous owners before Robert Hiscox and Brian Kingham bought it when the previous owner retired, and the shop was in danger of disappearing altogether. We spent the first couple of months renovating, redesigning and restocking the shop, introducing a second floor of books and moving the art department to its current home in the basement (or Lower Ground Floor as we call it when feeling genteel). In April 2014 we had an official opening, with Dame Jacqueline Wilson doing the honours – an exciting and memorable day. A couple of years later we completed the building of a new gallery space to the rear of the building, which has been used for events, exhibitions, presentations and parties. We have also updated and enlarged the art studio on the first floor.
We’re proudly ‘independent’, which, at its simplest, means not being subject to a central buying policy, so we can select the books that we know our customers (who we value beyond measure) will really appreciate. It also means that we try to be intelligent and discriminating (but not snobbish), friendly, open and perhaps just a touch irreverent. Above all we hope that shopping (and working) here is always fun.
Since 2014 the bookshop has become a huge success. We have almost 20,000 titles on the shelves and over 200,000 available to order. We are also proud of our art supplies department, and our very popular art workshop one-day courses.
We have wonderfully loyal customers who brighten our days, and are so pleased to be in business in this lovely town in the middle of beautiful Wiltshire.
Our extremely popular art workshops are held in our spacious classroom which looks onto the gallery. This combination of bookshop, art shop, workshop and gallery has been wonderfully described by one customer as ‘the cultural hub of Marlborough.’
We offer a wide range of one day workshops offering classes for all from total beginners to more advanced artists. Each workshop comes with an information sheet explaining what to expect on the day and what art materials you will need to bring along.
Exhibitions and Talks
Our beautiful art gallery was created at the back of the building in 2015. Since opening, The White Horse Gallery has had the pleasure of exhibiting works by David Inshaw, John Virtue, Juliet Wood, Kenneth Armitage, Simon Brett, and Victoria Jinivizian plus many more. Exhibitions usually last between three to four weeks, and normally include a Private View at the start of each show where we invite visitors to join us in opening the exhibition.
We also hold events such as book launches, talks and signings which are always popular. We are the official bookshop for the annual Marlborough Literature Festival who hold many talks in the gallery over the weekend of the festival.