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House of books and friends the gunnercooke foundation

House of Books & Friends is a purpose-led independent bookshop, café and events space with an important mission – to  combat loneliness through bringing people together, to build and rebuild communities, all of our profits are reinvested in to this mission.


"The bookshop with purpose."

The bookshop is an independent addition to the Manchester literary scene, it is also based in a quirky and beautiful grade II* listed building, formerly The Reform Club, our events room is named after William Gladstone and dates back to the 1860s when he became leader of the Liberal party and ultimately Prime Minister. Our café offers wonderful coffee and a chance to sit and relax with a book or conversation and many people while away an afternoon over a slice of cake and a few chapters. Many have described us as a haven in the centre of Manchester’s hustle and bustle.

House of books and friends the gunnercooke foundation

Why we do it

In 2020, during the pandemic Darryl Cooke, Chair of the gunnercooke foundation, recognised the levels of loneliness within the community. Like others, coming out of lockdown he also saw and came in to contact first hand with people for who social isolation and that feeling of being alone didn’t improve. In fact, despite being more technologically connected than ever, loneliness has never been more prevalent. Darryl researched and read a great deal about the causes and effects of loneliness and being socially isolated and was shocked to find that reports showed that coming out of the pandemic, 45% of people in the UK experienced loneliness. This equates to 25 million people.


Darryl wanted to create something unique, to help combat this somewhat silent, and often stigmatised problem. He could think of nothing better than the power of reading and books to help connect people and combat loneliness.  And so, House of Books & Friends was born.

House of books and friends the gunnercooke foundation

How we do it

Opening its doors on Manchester’s prestigious King Street in December 2022, House of Books & Friends is a Community Interest Company (Company number 13909633) funded by law firm gunnercooke llp. It was conceived and designed solely to deliver social benefit to the local community. Every activity we design and every penny of profit is used to address loneliness and to give people from every background and area of the community opportunity to come together and connect, to build and rebuild communities. This has included book clubs, social clubs, book launches, board game evenings, family days, summer holiday events and lots more.​

Our project to address loneliness and social isolation has enabled us to work with many of our inspire* members, offering the space as a venue for meetings or fundraisers but also working in partnership to design events and clubs to bring people together.  We’ve also worked as a collection point for other charity inspire* members and of course, have donated many books from our ‘Pay it Forward’ tree. In fact we have Pay it Forward mechanisms across all parts of our business with customers kindly paying forward hot drinks, books, event tickets and more uniquely for Corporate customer hiring our events space, to ‘Pay it Forward’ for a community group to use our space for free.

How to support us

If you’d like to find out more or support House of Books & Friends from where you are, please visit where you can purchase your books via our partner, book on to one of our  events via our active events calendar or donate a coffee or book to someone who might need a helping hand.


You can also follow the bookshop across all social media platforms to keep up to date with everything happening.

  • Instagram
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  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok

Visit House of Books & Friends:

Ground Floor

81 King Street


M2 4AH

What Three Words: ///stars.wished.papers

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