Roam Around London Finding Snuggly Bookstores With Me!
In this blog post I shall introduce you to a few places that will inspire you to pick up new titles- whether freshly back from the printer or decades old ! For personal study too, there is an array of fantastic spaces for you to sit and read, study and research.
Let’s start with the largest archive to date :
The British Library
Anything ever published in the UK is stored here, thus the atmosphere is truly studious. Sit among students, tourists and life-long researchers right between Kings Cross and St Pancras Station. The British Library hosts exhibitions, museum shops and café areas but the highlight is definitely the library itself. Get a day pass and scroll through anything from manuscripts of Alice In Wonderland to all Issues of ID Magazine from back in 1999.
A few minutes from the British Library at the very beginning of Caledonian Road you’ll find a tiny place stuffed with zines and DIY publications. Here you can discover books by Independent publishers and small collectives passionate about progressive politics. From Radical Pedagogy to LGBT rights, anti-fascism and existential theory to urban ecology, Housman’s Bookshop has been host to left-leaning activist culture since 1945!
Now, from here cut through Fitzrovia by foot, direction Central London, passing Lecture Halls and intellectual clusters belonging to the residing Universities in this part of town : University College London, Birkbeck University, School of Oriental and African Studies and Sotheby’s Institute of Art. With students and lecturers buzzing about those leafy streets I recommend to take a break on one of the many squares and circular gardens before I’ll take you to a specified bookseller, in the basement of one of these chic houses on Bedford Square !
The initial letters abbreviate an independent institution dedicated to Architecture, the Architectural Association School of Architecture. It also publishes research in brilliant printed matter. Their bookshop features everything from Design to phenomenology of space and sits in the Basement of the infamous school boasting Alumni such as the late Zaha Hadid or the director of the research agency Forensic Architecture Eyal Weizman
London Review Bookshop
Once you’ve circumvented The British Museum you may as well be ready for a coffee break, take a left into Bury Place. There the English bi-monthly literature review magazine offers great Tea time along a strong selection of literature in their in-house Café and Bookshop. Readings, discussions and book launches are held there regularly, too !
Claire de Rouen
Charing Cross Road is about a stone throw away, follow up a narrow staircase onto the second floor of number 121 and find yourself surrounded by shelves and shelves of Photo books. Fashion history students and photography enthusiasts alike will be pleased to skim through a special collection of visual matter in the heart of Soho. Claire herself is an aesthete who might start a conversation with you about what you are wearing !