Friday 17 October 2008

Buying London books

If you want London books other than tourist guides and new publications, the usual chain bookshops can be a disappointment. Browsing second-hand bookshops or ebay throws up finds, and local bookshops or those attached to local museums are often strong on their area. However, for London-wide coverage, here are a couple of my favourites for browsing a more in-depth selection:

Guildhall Library Bookshop is quite tucked-away and doesn't seem to be terribly well-known: I came across it almost by chance at London Maze. However, it's full of books about London (and pretty much nothing else). You can combine it with a visit to the Guildhall Art Gallery or Clockmakers' Museum.
Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH; open Monday-Friday 9.30am-4.45pm.

The Museum of London shop has an interesting and varied selection of books on London history. (You can also visit a few galleries of the Museum, although much is currently closed for refurbishment).
150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN; open Monday-Saturday 10am-5.50pm, Sunday 12pm-5.50pm.

Online, AbeBooks is a brilliant resource for finding second-hand and out-of-print books. It allows you to search through the inventories of booksellers worldwide, and I've usually found what I'm looking for there.
If I've left out your favourite, do leave a comment and let me know!


Philip Wilkinson said...

The various local history societies, of which there are quite a few around London, are always producing booklets on this and newsletters on that – they're often fascinating sources of obscure information about bits of London, sometimes available in shops attached to the smaller museums. Also: have you come across the London Topographical Society? When I was a member you got a publication every year (sometimes a collection of historical essays, sometimes a reprint of an old map, sometimes one of their 'historical A to Zs'.

CarolineLD said...

Thank you, you're absolutely right that the societies are great sources. Funnily enough, I came across the London Topographical Society for the first time at London Maze recently, I'll have a look at their leaflet.