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The Repair Shop's Christopher Shaw© Ricochet Ltd/Ruth Roxanne Board/BBC

The Repair Shop star Chris Shaw's life away from show: from home and job to hobbies

The bookbinder runs a workshop in Northamptonshire

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
July 10, 2024
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The Repair Shop viewers are constantly praising Chris Shaw for his impressive bookbinding skills when fixing items on the popular BBC show. The restoration expert has become a much-loved member of the team since making his TV debut in 2019. But what does he get up to when he's not working in the barn? 

Keep reading for all we know about Chris' life away from the cameras, including his career beginnings and hobbies…

WATCH: Meet the cast of BBC's The Repair Shop

Chris Shaw's bookbinding career

Chris discovered his passion for bookbinding at the age of 18 when his love of books inspired him to enrol in a Fine Bookbinding & Restoration course at Guildford College of Technology. After graduating in 1982, he opened his first workshop based in Wootton-by-Woodstock.

The Repair Shop's Christopher Shaw© Ricochet Ltd/Ruth Roxanne Board/BBC
Christopher Shaw is the barn's resident bookbinder

On how he got into bookbinding, Chris told the BBC: "I got into it quite randomly, I was on a building site at 17, I didn't like the place I was living, and I always loved books, so I went to Guildford Technical College. 

"It was a real stroke of luck as it just clicked," he continued. "The nice thing about bookbinding is it's really engrossing, it's therapeutic and mindful. The first thing I learnt was how to make a book before I could learn to repair it."

Beverly brought a British Passport in for repair© Ricochet
Chris Shaw joined the show in 2019

In 1993, Chris moved his workshop to Brackley in Northamptonshire, where he now lives. 

The bookbinder has won numerous accolades for his work in the Designer Bookbinders Annual Competition, including The Hewits Prize and The Ted Womersley Award. He's also a four-time Elizabeth Greenhill Award winner and was one of the 25 winners of the 2017 Designer Bookbinder International Competition.

Christopher Shaw with his dog Keith© @christophershawbookbinder/Instagram
Chris with his dog Keith

Chris was cast in The Repair Shop after being approached by the show's producers. "I got an email asking me to do a casting video and I thought it's television, visuals are important, so I'll wear what I normally wear - I like hats, so I put my hat on and my pipe," he revealed. "I wasn't sure about what to do, but I can talk about books so I gave it a go...and here we are."

Chris's home life away from the show

When he's not breathing new life into old and tired books in the Repair Shop barn, Chris can be found at home in Brackley, where he runs his workshop. 

Christopher Shaw's dog George© @christophershawbookbinder/Instagram
Chris' adorable Collie, George

While not much is known about Chris's home life, he often shares photos and videos of his beloved dogs, Fox Terrier Keith and Collie George on social media. The furry duo are frequently filmed enjoying a walk in the countryside or lounging around at home.

The TV star is also a keen lover of Morris dancing and sometimes joins in with his local club, The Brackley Morris Men, which is one of only eight remaining traditional Cotswold Morris sides in England.

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