10 Curzon Street, Mayfair, W1J 5HH
Located amidst the discreet charms of Mayfair, this bookshop could just as well be a private club. Did Nancy Mitford once work there? She did, as the blue heritage plaque confirms. It’s a small and friendly environment, in a National Trust kind of way. The selection of books is catholic, and veering towards the intellectual. No bad thing, considering the well-dressed clientele. The main shop assistant Andrew said the shop is always keen on new authors and new publishers but they only generally take a single copy for the shop. Is this for space or commercial considerations? The shop’s red carpet and elaborate book displays possess a regal feel.
There is a beguiling antiquarian book collection in the back room where the intense buyers congregate, focusing on first editions. Unlike some of the other bookshops visited in town, it does not go in for reader recommendations, no doubt because the customers know precisely what they want, and they all have their own distinct tastes and curiosities.
This sense of quiet exclusivity is accentuated by the fact that the bookshop does not open at the weekends. Judgmental students of social mores may conclude that the typical customers are at their weekend retreats enjoying their weekly literary purchases, but such a conclusion would miss out on the fact that many of the store’s weekly visitors are well-researched tourists delighted to find such a haven of literature in a corner of town with few other shops. It is a beautiful bookshop which succeeds precisely because of its geographical location.
Address: 10 Curzon Street, Mayfair, W1J 5HH
Phone number: 0207 629 0647
Nearest tube station: Green Park
Buses: 6, 9, 14, 19, 22, 38, 148