60 Church Road, Barnes, SW13 0DQ
If you are looking for a bookshop that is embedded in its local community, look no further than this well-run shop. It’s been around for 35 years and our contact there, Sarah, told us that its origins are in children’s literature. Their nearby sister shop that offered children’s toys, games and outfits had recently closed, so they had subsequently widened what’s on sale to reflect this traditional demand, and successfully redress the slight drop in local visitors.
The area has a very wide community of people, with many children and locals schools, but though the many shops are universally excellent and bespoke, there is generally limited specialisms, so each has to provide an appealing and yet catch all service to be successful – quite a tricky ask in the modern retail world. To this day, the bookshop organizes the Barnes Children’s literature festival (in midMay, www.barneskidslitfest.com @bclf2019) with a range of big names and local sponsors.
Fittingly, the window display features children’s books and greeting cards. The display also makes clear it sells toys and stationery as well as books. Despite its initial alluring atmosphere of sleepy comfort, Barnes has quite a pull on tourists, particularly those interested in record and film, with Olympic Studios across the road, the venue for recordings from the 1960’s by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and later by Madonna and Björk, the venue opened to the public in 2013, expanding its premises to house its own local arts cinema and excellent café and dining room. Just across the road in the bookshop, you can use the wicker chairs to peruse a potential purchase, as many were doing on our visit, and people watch with each page turn.
There’s a plentiful range of new and specialist titles throughout the shop in most genres, but particularly children’s literature, fiction and local interest. Birdwatching London was on prominent display when we visited, perfect for this corner of London. The store employees expressed genuine interest in new publishers and new writers, and had displays and selections to match such a focus.
They were interested in independent publishers and sold books by local writers along with material of local interest, and were clearly working at a local as well as national level in all their endeavours. The bookshop has a welcoming gentle weekend ambience, at one with the whole Barnes’ feel, underpinned by a genuine love of writing across all genres.
Address: 60 Church Road, Barnes, SW13 0DQ
Phone number: 020 8741 0786
Weekday opening hours: 09.30 – 17.30
Nearest tube station: Barnes, Barnes Bridge (overground from Waterloo, Putney, Vauxhall and Clapham Junction)
Buses: 33, 72, 209, 283, 419, 485