Tuesday, October 21, 2008


South East London is not well-served for bookshops. My New Cross/Brockley/Deptford homeland is pretty much a desert. Likewise Camberwell, which just a few years ago had at least three, and Elephant & Castle since the now permanent closure of Tlon - though 56a Infoshop is still keeping the flag flying for radical literature.

Still, all is not lost. There's the newish and arty Review bookshop in Bellenden Road, Peckham. A bit further afield (for me) there are two really good independent bookshops. The Bookseller Crow is in Westow Street, Crystal Palace (and it has a blog too). When I bought my copy of The Day The Country Died : A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980 To 1984 a while ago, they told me that Joy de Vivre from Crass used to work there. Being in Crystal Palace there are also lots of places to grab a coffee and eat nearby, my favourite being Domali with its famous vegetarian fry-ups. If you're driving you can park for free behind Sainsburys, check out the garden centre and the quirky Haynes Lane indoor market - the latter with some good second-hand bookstalls itself.

Kirkdale Bookshop in Sydenham has been going for forty-odd years. Upstairs it has a good selection of new books, downstairs a second hand section including lots of interesting London books. It's also just down the road from Blue Mountain cafe and near to Sydenham British Rail.

Both worth making the journey if you don't live immediately nearby.


Ben S said...

Kirkdale Bookshop is massively recommended - lovely knowledgeable staff, nice atmosphere, some weird & interesting books (especially nestling amongst the shelves downstairs); I used to spend a lot of money there during my lunch break when I used to work just round the corner.

(Ps - love the blog by the way, keep up the sterling work)

Anonymous said...



Transpontine said...

Amazon/ebay are OK if you know exactly what you're looking for, but the good thing about real bookshops is that you come across things you didn't know existed. Plus I love being physically surrounded by books, weird fetish maybe but there you are,

Anonymous said...

There's an interesting shop called the Faction Bookshop inside the Catford shopping centre.
They have a chaotic selection of stuff, including a lot of esoteric flavoured titles; 7" singles, LPs etc: Worth checking out.

I love real bookshops, but buy most of my books online because they're usually cheaper, and because, when I do manage to find a bookshop, they rarely have what I'm after.

Anonymous said...

There are (or were) bookshops in Blackheath too. Though I think one of them closed a little while ago.

I'm afraid I've not used them - though I did visit the second hand bookshop at the top of Tranquil Vale a few times to talk about vandalism - so I can't tell you whether they were any good.

Transpontine said...

Vandalism in Tranquil Vale, sounds like something out of The League of Gentlemen.