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Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland

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Archive Bookstore/MARYLEBONE/83 Bell Street
Archive Bookstore  Open at advertised times
83 Bell Street   MARYLEBONE   NW1 6TB
map
tel: 020 7402 8212  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 11.00 - 6.00.
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General stock of secondhand books with some antiquarian. Large stock of printed music, popular and classic (piano scores, piano duets and duos, chamber music, opera) Two floors of sought-after, selected titles in all subjects. Forecourt bargain stall of several hundred cheaper books and quality reductions.

This is a true old-fashioned London bookshop. Titles scattered everywhere with the helpful owner risking all for me as he kept climbing a ladder to get to books from the top shelves for me to examine. There could be treasures here yet to be found. Sensible prices.  Chris Harte 27.06.09
A true secondhand bookshop. Almost impossible to get near the modern firsts even with the assistance of a stool but found a couple of nuggets at very reasonable prices. Very helpful owner and staff. Offered a cup of tea within minutes of entering the shop. I will return.  Loyola 24.04.10
Rambling,crowded and friendly shop. The stock changes frequently and often includes gems at reasonable prices, although they may take some mountain climbing to get at. Helpful and knowledgeable owner who may offer a cup of tea or something stronger.  James Salmon 16.03.11
I have been using this bookshop for years. The owner is charming and knowledgeable and I hardly ever leave without buying something wonderful and unusual. Don't ever close, please!  Jane Jones 31.05.11
The basement is extraordinary, a must for musicians in London- music books and a piano to tinkle.  Brian 29.05.15
It was nice to see this was still here but I have rarely bought anything in the shop as it is so chaotic which is off putting. I barely fitted down some of the alleyways. The basement appeared closed although it was being talked about by a visitor and the owner as it has apparently been referred to by Alan Rusbridger in his book on learning the piano. Can't really comment on the extent of the stock as it is, mostly, barely visible!  Jon Morgan 06.06.15
To those who have their doubts about the undiluted merits of "progress" and are comfortable with nostalgia, Archive Books, situated in the heart of London, is a welcome oasis of traditional book-selling. It is rare for me to visit this shop without picking up at least one or two serendipitous books (sheet music is a particular strength). Close to unique, certainly in central London, with books crammed into every nook and cranny at very reasonable prices, not to mention the bargains outside, the shop is all the better for being old-fashioned, particularly for those who consider such bookshops an endangered species and its (nowadays) unusual character has even attracted the attention of Hollywood as a setting. Recommended.  Richard Durkan 15.06.15
Quirky and unusual little bookshop  Najeeya 14.06.18
This shop is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The squeeze-gut aisles and out-of-reach stock reminded me of Camilla's, in Eastbourne. However, it's worth persevering for some unusual titles in arts and photography at reasonable prices. The assistant was most welcoming and helpful - and offered a discount because this was my first visit.  Nicholas Sack 18.01.20
The shop happily continues as it always did. Possibly the ground floor is currently a little more accessible, the basement (mainly music) less. The stock changes regularly but the type and quality and the chances of finding a long-sought gem remain.  Adrian 16.07.21
Always a great selection, and even the half price boxes out front are always worth perusing. The owner and his assistant are great at finding the obscure title you are after.  Mark the Bookseller 01.08.21

Black Gull Books/CAMDEN TOWN/70 Camden Lock Place
Black Gull Books  Open at advertised times
70 Camden Lock Place   CAMDEN TOWN   NW1 8AF
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tel: 020 7267 5005 
Open:  7 days 10.00 - 6.00.
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A large, fast changing stock including art, photography, film, history, philosophy, psychology, music, drama, fiction & mind body spirit.

Despite the crowds of tourists at Camden still worth a look, about 50-50 arts and fiction.  Paintworks 08.07.10
Small shop area tucked away behind the restaurants along the canal. Some stock outside.  I Baillie 26.04.11
Difficult to find in the remotest courtyard of Camden Lock market, but well worth battling through the crowds. Strong on philosophy, psychology, mind/body/spirit, and a section headed 'Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll'. The arts stock is extensive and mostly high quality; I found an uncommon monograph on the surrealist painter Paul Delvaux: a bargain at less than a tenner.  Nicholas Sack 15.03.16
Two years after my last visit, Black Gull is still well worth a shufty, especially for arts and cinema, though photography stock is thin. Prices are surprisingly modest; at only a fiver, an unusual Arts Council catalogue of the painter Michael Andrews easily undercuts internet sellers. Another secondhand book seller has set up in the basement of Camden Stables Market, just a hundred yards to the north.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18

Books for Amnesty/KENTISH TOWN/308 Kentish Town Road
Books for Amnesty  Open at advertised times
308 Kentish Town Road   KENTISH TOWN   NW5 2TH
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tel: 020 7428 0134  
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Just opened. Decent stock and decent prices. Little collectable at this stage.  Peter Miller 12.08.19
There are only 10 Amnesty shops in the UK and I think only 3 in London. (The Blackheath Amnesty book sales are well worth going to) This is therefore welcome, both as another bookshop and for the important causes it supports.

This new shop is not huge but it manages to pack in quite a few subjects on its shelves. My main interest - modern fiction was well catered for and although not massive, the selection was of good quality and the prices are still sub-Oxfam (especially Bloomsbury Oxfam) although the nearby Oxfam bookshop about 5 minutes walk away is more reasonable than many.

I now have two reasons to go to Kentish Town.
  Jon Morgan 21.08.19
A mini version of the original Hammersmith branch and many of the books seemed familiar. Still, at least the prices are reasonable and the cause is to be recommended.  Nicholas Greenwood 29.08.19
Stock here is a cut above Oxfam, a few minutes' walk away. Books are neatly categorised and shelved, and the arts section shows glimmers of promise. Close to Kentish Town Thameslink and Underground station.  Nicholas Sack 15.02.20

Hellenic Book Centre /HIGHGATE/89 Fortess Road  
Hellenic Book Centre   Open at advertised times
89 Fortess Road    HIGHGATE  NW5 1AG
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tel:  020 7267 9499  e-mail   web
Open:  Monday - Friday 1.00 - 4.00
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New and secondhand Greek and Latin books.


Keith Fawkes/HAMPSTEAD/1-3 Flask Walk
Keith Fawkes  Open at advertised times
1-3 Flask Walk   HAMPSTEAD   NW3 1HJ
map
tel: 020 7435 0614 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.30, Sunday 12.00 - 6.00.
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Large, strangely organised, crammed and accessible by Thinipuffs only. However very helpful and knowledgeable manager compensates.  A.N.Other 
A packed little shop worth an hour of any bibliophile's time,with a cynical american owner who does a nice line in dry wit.  Paintworks 08.07.10
Barely worth a visit. Barely a bookshop. Most of the place used as storage for the owner's house clearance business. (The 'cynical American' is not the owner and no longer works there.)  Muggins 28.05.13
Some improvement  Muggins 29.07.13
An unusable muddle. Dirty, disordered and staff without knowledge or interest. Don't go.  Bookish Wanderer 21.08.14
Once upon a time this shop was about twice the size and one could move easily. Now the aisles are half blocked by boxes and furniture. There is some indication that the former space is being worked on and may be available for more books. At base the stock is not bad, simply inaccessible. It could be so much more ... NWAD.  Jon Morgan 19.05.15
Yes, untidy messy stock all over the place but gems to be had and cheap too.  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Committed to making 75% of its stock inaccessible; should be celebrated as a monument to aged English eccentricity in a profit-focused London (a fair deal of newish lit fic, how did they get through the frames to put them there?)  T McGee 09.09.16
Once you have negotiated the piles of pseudo antiques on the footway to fight your way down the first aisle across piles of mouldy and dusty books on the floor, past unwashed glasses and empty bottles and cans (What goes on here after closing?) towards the till you turn and find that the other aisles are completely blocked by boxes, more empty bottles and general detritus to at least waist height. Short of hammering pitons into the ceiling there is no way to access these books and there may be some gems in there.If the owners are not going to run it as a bookshop, perhaps they could sell up and leave it to someone who will.  Jonathan Morgan 17.06.17
Definitely not for the faint hearted. What a pity that boxes on the floor make the aisles all but inaccessible. Almost certainly there are gems lurking here - tantalisingly out of reach.  Nicholas Sack 10.03.18

Kenwood Bookshop /HAMPSTEAD/Mansion Cottage (next to the Garden shop and Cafe), Hampstead Lane
Kenwood Bookshop   Open at advertised times
Mansion Cottage (next to the Garden shop and Cafe), Hampstead Lane  HAMPSTEAD  NW3 7JR
map
  web   
Open: Friday - Sunday 11.00 - 3.00
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Single room of secondhand stock, on the Kenwood estate at the north of Hampstead Heath. No entry fees to visit.

Website claims open Saturdays and Sundays 10am - 4:30pm, but wasn't open till 11 am the Sunday I went. Single room, decent stock and reasonable prices. Easily accessible by public transport, no entry fees.   26.07.21

Offside Books   /KILBURN/92 Willesden Lane  
Offside Books     Open at advertised times
92 Willesden Lane    KILBURN  NW6 7TA
map
tel:  020 7624 9340  e-mail   web   
Open:  Monday, Wednesday - Saturday 10.00 - 6.30, Sunday 11.00 - 6.00
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We now sell a mixture of new, secondhand and bargain books, and we can order books. Genres include history, fiction, psychology, philosophy, art and smart thinking. We also stock a good range of budget childrens' and classic titles. We offer what we believe is the most generous loyalty card scheme in London bookshops (six stamps earns you £10 credit in store, purchase over ten pounds to gain a stamp)

A small place about 200 yds from the JW Kilburn High Road. and only 20 mins cycle from central London. Nearest Station Kilburn High Road or Brondesbury. Very friendly with customer seating - an old church pew. Slightly haphazard title/author/genre organisation but pleasingly quirky with some interesting modern (20th century) posters. One very nice Spanish Civil war one. The owner hopes to begin selling these in the future. The stock was varied albeit not extensive with some interesting titles. ordinarily, following Driff, I would class as pop in if in area but NWAD but I think it behoves us all to support new shops like this as much as we can. NB they are having an official launch party on 14.03.15 5.00 - 9.00 WITH refreshment!  Jon Morgan 12.03.15
There`s been a dearth of good bookshops here for ages. Hopefully this will fill the void.  Brian 18.04.15
The church pew appears to have morphed into a sofa! Rather interesting to see such a large piece of furniture in a small shop! Little room for a wide variety but a pleasant selection all the same, plus an owner who is prepared to have a decent chat about what you have purchased. Took me about 10 mins to walk there from Brondesbury Station.  Graeme Rendall 22.09.19
Mid-range stock in a pleasant room with a charming proprietor. At just four pounds, 'Leaves of Grass' illustrated by Edward Weston's photographs is a long way below internet prices. The lease has recently been extended - good to see a bookshop surviving in this overlooked neighbourhood.  Nicholas Sack 18.01.20
Sofa, tea and coffee have sadly gone. The good news is there are a few more shelves in the space.  Adrian 01.08.21

Oxfam Books and Music/KENTISH TOWN/166 Kentish Town Road
Oxfam Books and Music  Phone before travelling
166 Kentish Town Road   KENTISH TOWN   NW5 2AG
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tel: 020 7 2673560  web 
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Nothing that makes this particular Oxfam branch stand out from any of the others.  Mandalay Bookshop 05.04.12
Decided to pay this shop another visit: at 11am on a Friday morning it was closed. Definitely won't bother again.  Mandalay Emporium 11.09.12
One of the best Oxfam's in the area, knowledgeable manager, cheap prices, and the staffing problems that led to closures last year appear to be sorted.  Steve Newman 08.02.14
Very tired stock that never seems to change. Their so-called "collectable/antiquarian" section is an overpriced joke. One of the worst of all the Oxfam Bookshops.  Mandalay Bookshop 18.05.18
This store has been revamped to it looks like any other Oxfam Bookshop. Gone is the dingy carpet with its interesting eco-system and interesting stains and the overcrowded shelves with poor lighting and welcome to clean lines and a fairly decent stock mostly at the £2.99 level. The collectables section (sorry to harp on but it always amuses me) seems to reflect every other Oxfam shop. If the business thinks it can get these absurd prices for these books, then flog them in ABE - except that it can't as the prices are aspirational in the extreme. Now actually worth the trek to NW5 . Nearby charity shop not really worth a detour but the coffee / bakery shop was marvellous. (NB down escalator under repair so be prepared.  Jonathan Morgan 15.09.18
A return visit (actually I have been back a couple of times this year) as I wanted to see the new Amnesty shop just up the road.

Apart from having a problem with drains, amusingly all the customers were glancing at each other with a 'Was that you?' sort of look.... this shop is so much lighter and better stocked than before.

They had had a huge donation of French comic books (Bandes Dessinées) and I spent far too much money , having been allowed out the back to view the haul - by a very nice French lady volunteer.

Now there are two reasons to visit Kentish Town on a book crawl . New bookshop opposite the Oxfam and a few charity shops none of which were of any interest book-wise.
  Jon Morgan 21.08.19
I had the distinct impression that anything of quality or value is diverted to the online store. Shelves are desperately short of attractive or inspiring titles. The Amnesty shop, a few minutes' walk away, is a better bet.  Nicholas Sack 15.02.20

Oxfam Bookshop/HAMPSTEAD/45 Heath Street
Oxfam Bookshop  Open at advertised times
45 Heath Street   HAMPSTEAD   NW3 6UA
map
tel: 020 7 7943060  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 6.00, Sunday 1.00 - 5.00.
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The usual Oxfam fare, suitably priced for the local affluent clientèle.  Mandalay Bookshop 05.04.12
This little shop is, for an Oxfam Shop quite a gem. The books are not badly proved and varied. I picked up a signed Simon Hoggart volume for £3.99 and there is a good selection of holocaust literature and factual accounts. Some good translations of modern French stuff as well. Yes, it reflects the affluent donors but is not reflective of the original prices and I have seen much more expensive Oxfam stock/stores.  Jon Morgan 19.05.15
Had not been here for a long time and will not bother again. Small shop, fairly expensive and staff, although friendly, seem to have little knowledge of their stock.  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Tiny Oxfam outlet located conveniently opposite Hampstead Tube Station. Small general stock, not as expensive as might be expected but well within the parameters of Oxfam's sometimes ambitious pricing. I wonder if they manage to cover their location overheads?  Steven Kelly 28.02.17
Some interesting recent fiction titles but the crime section is woeful. Not really worth the trek out to Hampstead. Especially as Fawkes is such a mess these days.  Jonathan Morgan 17.06.17
Scope is limited by the rather small shop, yet the arts section is of a decent standard and contains a few titles out of the ordinary. The stock is neatly shelved and categorised throughout.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18
A return visit: shop remains admirably neat and tidy, and once again there are attractive and unusual titles in the arts section. I was heartened to see a Cartier-Bresson for only six quid, and my heart leapt at the new monograph from William Gedney. But oh, the price! More than what is charged for a new copy online ...  Nicholas Sack 23.10.18

Oxfam Shop/PINNER/19 Bridge Street
Oxfam Shop  Open at advertised times
19 Bridge Street   PINNER   HA5 3HR
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tel: 020 8429 0926 
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This high street Oxfam has a dedicated fair sized book room at the back of the shop. Reasonable stock professionally laid out and categorised, with friendly and knowledgeable staff too. At the cheaper end of Oxfam's pricing structure. Across the road at 40 Bridge Street is another Charity Shop, St Lukes Hospice, which also has a section dedicated to Books and Music. Well worth a visit if in the area.  Steve Newman 23.11.18
My interest piques by this entry I trecked out to Pinner to have a butchers. Not far from the station and not quite a dedicated Oxfam Bookshop but much more than the normal stock of books at decent prices. The charity shop across the road has as many if not more books. There are two other charity shops in town in both of which I bought WW1 memoirs.  Jon Morgan 06.12.18
Called back in as was passing through near the area. Still much as before but pricing seems to have taken an unwelcome upward spiral!  Steve Newman 06.05.19

Walden Books/CAMDEN TOWN/38 Harmood Street
Walden Books  Open at advertised times
38 Harmood Street   CAMDEN TOWN   NW1 8DP
map
tel: 020 7267 8146  web 
Open:  Thursday -Sunday 10.30 - 6.00.
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Literature, art & general stock.

Very good for travel, art and history. Friendly and expert owner. Prices reasonable.  James Salmon 21.08.09
Overpriced and the owner always pretty snotty to me; add that to the impossible parking and this is one I've crossed off my list. I feel it may be a different story if you look wealthy enough.  Paintworks 08.07.10
One of the greats, worth a visit if only to enjoy to the creaky floorboards.Bargains outside if you like literature. Disagree with Paintworks who anyway should use public transport. Owner friendly even if you look skint. A friend in need is a friend in debt (John Cooper Clark).  rickenbacher 10.08.13
Great little shop tucked away in a side street near Camden Market. Good stock and reasonable prices, but by no stretch of the imagination is it in Primrose Hill. Chalk Farm is the location, the long-closed LT Chalk Farm bus garage used to be opposite the shop!  Steve Newman 05.12.15
Thanks Steve but the owner says he's in Camden Town, so I've changed the address to that.  TGB 05.12.15
Attractively located in a residential street away from the tumult of Camden Town, this shop is reassuringly traditional with compact spaces and creaking floorboards. Strong on art and design, with some unusual photography titles. Friendly owner and fair prices.  Nicholas Sack 15.03.16
Two years on from my last visit and I'm glad to report that this endearingly old-fashioned shop hasn't changed. I found a literary and photographic paean to Highgate and Hampstead, handsomely published in 1967, at a keen price. Well worth a detour from the hubbub of Camden Town.  Nicholas Sack 28.03.18