Nestled down a little lane and close to the British Museum, Persephone Books is a publisher and bookstore in the heart of Bloomsbury, an area of London well-known for its many independent stores and quirky coffee shops.
Dedicated to forgotten and little-known (mostly) female authors whose works are now out of print, each book is bound in what has since become a signature light grey jacket cover. Inside each book, a dedicated endpaper specific to the novel in question and in a ‘fabric-like pattern’ just adds to the charm of the publishing style. Matching bookmarks are on sale for an extra fee.
Persephone Books Address | 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NB
What may well be London’s most unusual and unique bookstore can be found within the walls of an equally interesting building. The Grade II building was constructed in the early 18th-century and the area itself is most-famous for the Bloomsbury Group, an association of English writers including Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster.
Step inside this oasis of calm in the heart of the city and you’ll find row upon row of neatly grey bound titles, all waiting to be discovered. The vibe is friendly and welcoming, while the decor is light and bright. Behind the several counters, staff members sit typing away and books are piled into just about every usable space.
Opening Hours | 10 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday, 11-5 Saturday, Sunday 12-4
Persephone Books was founded in 1998 by Nicola Beauman as a way of reprinting neglected fiction and non-fiction. A concept that began in a small room above a pub soon grew exponentially. After several years in a basement in Clerkenwell, the success of the company meant that the offices and store soon moved to Bloomsbury.
All of the works were written in the mid-twentieth century and today, the collection counts 128 diaries, cookbooks, memoirs, short stories, poems, and novels among its collection. Each book costs £13 and new titles are regularly added.
Shopfront aside, it’s also possible to purchase the titles through the Persephone Books’ website. Online and instore, you’ll also find literary-related goods such as notebooks, year diaries, and other goodies are for sale. If you’re ever in the area, the shop is well worth a wander around! Otherwise, Hatchards and John Sandoe and Daunt Books also stock Persephone titles.
Things to do near Persephone Books
Camera Museum: Part coffee shop, part camera repair shop, part camera museum, this little gem of a location is steps away from the British Museum and is completely free to visit.
Skoob Books: Tucked away in a basement beneath a shopping centre, Skoob Books is a great second-hand bookshop which is a must-visit for all Bibliophiles. Stocking tens of thousands of titles, you’ll surely find a title you’ll like!
Charles Dickens Museum: Another famous literary resident of Bloomsbury was a certain Charles Dickens. He lived in the area during the 17th-century, and while not much architecture from his time remains (as a result of the fire of London), he may well have visited The Old Curiosity Shop near Holborn.