Chris Brickles, Residential Lettings Negotiator at Frank Harris and Co’s Marchmont Street office writes:
It is clear to see why Bloomsbury is such a popular location for many students and academics. First and foremost, it is home to some very well-known academic institutions including internationally recognised universities such as the London School of Economics, University College London, School of African & Oriental Studies and Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design to name a few. Secondly the leafy squares and gardens of Bloomsbury provide an ideal location for residents of the area to relax and more often than not, to read.
Punctuating the streets of Bloomsbury are a some quaint and eclectic book shops. Just a few years ago this area alone boasted around 30 shops, almost all independently run. Unfortunately, due to the recent economic downturn, some of these shops have subsequently closed. Now it has recently been reported that there may be as little as seven independent bookshops left in this area. That rather sad fact aside, the ones that do remain really offer a wealth of character in their appearance and diversity in their choice on the shelves.
One of my favorites is Skoob Books in the Brunswick Centre. Clever, if still a little obvious in title, this shop may not have the dusty, rustic charm that most independent books shops seem to strive for but it has a huge selection of books, new and secondhand, covering every major academic subject, as well as a plethora of fiction genres to choose from.
Another popular bookshop in a prime location on Marchmont Street is ‘Gay’s the Word’. Established in 1979 this shop is proud to be the first and now apparently last remaining exclusively lesbian and gay bookshop in the UK.
And for any fan of the quintessential, rough-around-the-edges, dusty book shop then there really is just one choice. Collinge & Clark based on Leigh Street is just that and more. Offering a broad selection of antiquarian books, mostly focused on illustrated books and typography, the look and feel of this shop is warming and from the outside glancing in, it is literally brimming with character. This bookshop was also made famous by the Channel Four Sitcom ‘Black Books’ written by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan. The shop was used for all the exterior shots on the show and although the interior of the shop was much larger in the sitcom, the layout was loosely based on the interior of Collinge & Clark.
Academia and literature will always go hand-in-hand with students from all over the world moving to Bloomsbury to study. With the vast array of courses available from many different institutions it is no surprise that reading and bookshops are a regular sight and, one would hope, a permanent fixture in the landscape in this historic district of London.
If you love books and want to live in one of the most literary parts of London, then feel free to contact our Marchmont Street office or even better, do pop in. I can’t pretend it’ll be like a scene from Black Books but we’ll give you the lowdown on the Bloomsbury property market.