John joined the club in 1973 - 74, the same year as I began my first stint in membership. I regret that I never met him and when I rejoined the club in 1987 - 88 he had left London and was no longer a member of the club.


However his memory lived on and I heard many stories of his time in the club from members who had known him. His love of books was well remembered. Apparently every room in his house was shelved and full of books. Because of this one member used to say John's house was the only one he knew with nine inch thick wallpaper!!


In 1991 we got the sad news that John had passed away and the secretary of the day wrote in the Newsletter:


"John Griffey. ...was an outstanding personality and . 
organised many social events which were so original they are 
still talked about. He Was a devout convert who left London 
to open a second-hand bookshop in Bath before eventually 
going to live in Bristol".


Several members of the club had visited John in Bath and spoke fondly of his hospitality and his thoughtful provision of Earl Grey tea.  


In the Autumn 1982 edition of the club magazine, edited at that time by John Lawrence, an article from the Guardian in which John was mentioned was quoted as follows:


"In an article about Bath, Charlotte du Cann writes:


'....and the wondrous Adams Bookshop, 25 Broad St. John Griffey who runs it is a true bookseller and will lead you into a further room of his eclectic collection of history and literature, where the volumes are ranged by lateral thinking rather than alphabet."

                                                                - Guardian Tuesday July 20th 1982. 


A year after John's death Joe O'Reilly held a poetry reading evening at his residence in Gospel Oak. He began the evening with a welcome and said that he had been inspired to hold it to recall the memory of John Griffey. The evening was such a success that it was repeated many times over the following 20 years. The ethos of the evening was that it should start sharp on the time stated in the programme and everybody present was expected to read a poem. We didn't necessarily need to bring a poem with us as Joe had a collection of books with poems on wide ranging subjects. Over time however people did not honour the strict starting time and a few people actually declined to read and just wanted to listen. As this did not fit the intention behind the event the readings ceased to be arranged. However the memory of John Griffey lives on among those members who still remember him.




September 2017