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Cornerstone bookshelves stay stocked thanks to Portakabin


Independent store Cornerstone Bookshop was able to stay open during the renovation of St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church as Portakabin provided an interim modular home.

As the redevelopment of St John’s Scottish Episcopal Church in the heart of Edinburgh began, independent book store Cornerstone Bookshop, which was located in the church crypt, was at risk of closure.

Closing the store during the restoration works at the church would have been devastating for the ecumenical bookshop. Although the crypt was in need of renovation, the store couldn’t risk being closed for the duration without the business facing severe losses.

In their time of need the shop’s manager, Anna Pitt, looked for a modular solution so the shop could continue to operate, close to their original site.

“Portakabin was an obvious first choice because of the quality of the buildings they have; we were so glad to hear they could provide us with a building. From the beginning, Jan Hedley and the rest of the Edinburgh Portakabin team were so helpful.

“They visited our old shop and immediately understood how special it was. They went above and beyond to ensure the atmosphere and the ethos of what we are trying to do could be replicated in our interim home with special lighting, carpets and allowing us the freedom to customise the inside.

“The support we got from Portakabin has been wonderful and the help that was given to us has been invaluable.”

The building was installed in just one day and without disruption to the busy historical site in Edinburgh city centre. The new space has given the shop more than enough room to house its full stock. Customers have commented on the space saying “it feels bigger”, “they seem to have more stock” and that the shop has a “cosy and welcoming feeling”.

Jan Hedley, Hire Co-ordinator at Portakabin Edinburgh Hire Centre said “Cornerstone Bookshop is a community hub; the team there are so dedicated to locals and visitors, we knew it would be a great loss if the shop was to close or move away during the refurbishment.

“Using one of our modular buildings meant that the store could stay open and be as close as possible to their original site without interrupting any of the on-going construction work.”

Portakabin also provided an external wrap to the building so it could be easily recognised as Cornerstone’s new premises. The bookshelf-style wrap has also helped to draw in new customers, as one explains; “I saw the building from the bus and thought the books [on the wrap] looked amazing, I had to come in and find out what you have.”

Cornerstone Bookshop provides an unparalleled range of inclusive, liberal and ecumenical books. The shop, which is normally located at St John’s Church Terrace on Princes Street, has been open since 1991. The shop offers a wide range of books, cards and gifts as well as advice and spiritual counselling.


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