C – Charing Cross Road Bookshops – London

WELCOME to the letter C and to this year’s theme: BOOKSHOPS


I was about to step off the curb when a hand touched my elbow and restrained me. An English gentleman cautioned me, “I wouldn’t do that, love, it makes such a mess at rush hour.” I have never forgotten this moment, the good humor of it all, and a reminder that traffic in London flows the ‘wrong’ way for an American. This story is forever linked with my walk to Charing Cross Road where I hoped to find Anthony Hopkins at Marks & Co. and the works of Beverley Nichols, English garden writer.

Charing Cross Road is a street in central London running immediately north of St Martin-in-the-Fields to St Giles Circus and then becomes Tottenham Court Road. Charing Cross Road is renowned for its specialist and second-hand bookshops. The section from Leicester Square Underground station to Cambridge Circus is home to specialist bookshops, and more general second-hand and antiquarian shops such as Quinto Bookshop, Henry Pordes and Any Amount of Books.

Above…Please take a moment and listen to the Anthony Hopkins video I have linked for you.  It will allow you to “see” the bookshops along Charing Cross Road. When I listened once again to  Hopkins’ reading the Yeats short poem, my memories of book hunting along Charing Cross Rd, I shed a tear for the bookstores there that have closed. (Rising rents affected the bookstores that occupy many of the ground floors of the buildings.)  For heaven’s sake,  Marks & Co bookshop is now a pub. Blimmy! When in London, don’t miss visiting this book mecca. You will be surrounded by the spirits of all those who have walked the street before you…..enjoy!

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in Ato Z Blog Challenge 2018 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to C – Charing Cross Road Bookshops – London

  1. Liam says:

    If a bookshop operated in a pub, I may never leave.

    • I am still laughing at your comment, which I loved. I am late replying, but thanks for keeping me company on this $Challenge. I never learned to drink beer, an acquired taste I think, but I know about a pint and will join you for one in my imagination.

  2. Hari OM
    D’ya know what, Stepheny… I am actually going to London in June to visit my sister and you have given me something for us to share together!!! Many thanks for that &*> YAM xx

  3. This post brought so many memories back to me Stepheny. I love your theme and look forward to following along. I stumbled across you in A-Z last year. So pleased to see you back.

    • I’m sure you agree that finding new blogging friends is one of the perks of the hard work it takes to participate. Two years ago I wrote about Historic hotels and Inns, which was great fun, but bookstores, near and dear to my heart, has been even better. Thank you for joining me as we find more stores.

  4. I enjoyed your post today. Traffic across the pond is definitely an experience. When we visited a few years ago, we didn’t keep the rental car for the London leg of the trip and my husband did all the driving through England and Wales, but even as a passenger I was scared to death 😱. I find the windows of city bookstores so inviting. Visiting from
    If I Only Had A Time Machine

  5. What was the movie about Charing Cross Road? I think it was just called that. Anyway, I remember seeing it and admiring the old world buildings, the quiet gentility.
    The specialty bookshops would be fascinating to me. I’m not a fan of secondhand books. I like that newly published smell and feel.
    https://profound journey C is for Coming Home to Myself

  6. LillianC says:

    I must put Charing Cross Road on my Bucket List. Talk about a booklover’s paradise! Happy A to Z!

    • If you have never seen the Anthony Hopkins/Anne Bancroft movie, 84 Charing Cross Road, treat yourself to this wonderful story based on the world of books. And then! try and get to London. Thanks for joining me. Come back for another bookstore post.

  7. Nilanjana Bose says:

    So sad those bookshops closed/are closing!

  8. It’s a shame that bookshops are suffering due to the exorbitant rents in London. We’ve lost a couple of really good ones in Canterbury, where I live, as well.
    Ghostly Inspirations – Sophies A to Z

  9. Iain Kelly says:

    I loved the little anecdote at the start of this, very typically British!

  10. scr4pl80 says:

    I can’t remember if I saw the movie or read the book but it makes me want to do both again! Thanks for stopping by my little blog and I will be following your A to Z from here on out. Love books and book stores. We had a cute one near us called M is for Mystery. Sadly, it closed shortly after I discovered it.

    • I Encourage you to treat yourself to the movie for sure. In this case better than the book in that it becomes visual and Hopkins is meant for the part. Hoping you have can keep your memories of M is for Mystery. Please come back and visit other bookstores with me.

  11. rolandclarke says:

    I not only remember enjoying the book and film of “84 Charing Cross Road” but I also have wonderful memories of browsing the bookstores in Charing Cross Road over the years. At one point, I was editing a magazine that I delivered to independent bookshops across London, some in that area. Sadly, I noticed the change from bookstores to other premises over the decades.

    • Delighted you left this memory with me. I suppose as the book and film recede into the past our view of Charing Cross becomes less realistic. How glad I am that we have these memories to be carrying on with. How pleased I am you came to visit too. Please come back for other bookstores on the tour.

  12. I loved the book. Now I need to see the movie.

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