Before I went on an unannounced blogging sabbatical, I was in the middle of featuring different independent bookshops in London. Let me resume with two bookshops located in famed Cecil Court, also known as a model for the movie version of Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies!
Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) in the UK is a campaign run by Booksellers Association and its members to celebrate indie bookshops in the UK and Ireland1. It is modelled after the American campaign bearing the same name1, which was held earlier across the pond in 2016. The UK had theirs on the 18th to 25th of June in 2016, and on the last day, the campaign encourages people to do a bookshop crawl (if you can’t do it on one day, do it during the whole IBW!).
I did the bookshop crawl on the last day, and planned to visit ten bookshops. All the best plans do not go as expected sometimes, and I only managed eight. Still a respectable number I think, considering I started at 12 noon and finished by 5:30 PM! I first went to Belgravia Books then John Sandoe Books, and I’ve shared photos of those visits in previous posts here and here, respectively.
Goldsboro Books is called as ‘The Home of Signed First Editions’, and they have over 25,000 first editions of various books in stock2. Their collection is carefully curated; their books are the kind that readers would actually want to read, and not just display on their shelves. It doesn’t hurt that they are signed first editions, so I do not think anyone would judge you if you display such books on your own shelves!
Because of this their books are enclosed in a plastic protective cover, and the older, more delicate ones, are locked behind glass-protected shelves. It does give it more of a museum feel, rather than the regular bookshop with rows and rows of shelves, but their business is definitely a specialised type of bookselling after all, and I can see the reason behind the design of the space.
Now, just across from Goldsboro Books is Marchpane, well-known for “children’s and illustrated books from the eighteenth century up to the present day.”3 Even if you did not know this, you will still be drawn to this bookshop by their amazing window display, which is all kinds of magical and wondrous. I stood in front of it for ages, wondering what shots I can work for my bookstagram if only that dratted window wasn’t in the way, or if I owned those books, and even those props…!
I dare you to not want to enter this lovely little shop, which is crammed with books, a massive Dalek statue, and other book props (I think a replica of Dumbledore’s lectern is there as well?), not to mention other book lovers with (obviously) good taste. I spotted a few of the US hardback Harry Potter editions, which made me miss my own ones that I left back in the Philippines.
As you can see, lots of first editions abound, and there’s another shelf where the really old books have to be under protective plastic covering, else the spine and the pages will fall apart! As a lover of children’s classics such as Peter Pan, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the fairy tales, this bookshop was heaven.
They do also have a lot of Lewis Carroll, and I had to take a photo of this beautiful Alice in Wonderland book for my Alice loving bookstagrammer friends.
Marchpane has more photos of their books in their Facebook page, which I encourage you to have a look at if you’re a big lover of antiquarian children’s books.
*To get to Cecil Court, get out of Leicester Square station via Exit 1, Wyndham’s Theatre on your left, and the Hippodrome Casino in front of you across the street, diagonally to your right. Walk down to your left, past Wyndham’s Theatre, and when you see a Byron’s Burger on a street corner on your left, turn left to that street as that is Cecil Court! Goldsboro Books will be on your right, and Marchpane will be on your left.