29 August 2016 | 16 °C

Biblio-Text: John Sandoe (Books)

Biblio-Text: John Sandoe (Books)
The enormous backlist piles
The enormous backlist piles
Books, books, everywhere you look, books
Books, books, everywhere you look, books
A handy chair to rest your bones as you plough through the piles of books
A handy chair to rest your bones as you plough through the piles of books
Books and books and books on the stairs
Books and books and books on the stairs
Part of the ground floor, seen by peeking over the stairs
Part of the ground floor, seen by peeking over the stairs
Cottagey bookshop
Cottagey bookshop
The travel section, arranged geographically not alphabetically
The travel section, arranged geographically not alphabetically
Gorgeous classic hardbacks
Gorgeous classic hardbacks
Oscar keeps watch over the shoppers and staff...
Oscar keeps watch over the shoppers and staff...
...while Peter Rabbit watches over the children's section
...while Peter Rabbit watches over the children's section

Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops

The John Sandoe bookshop in Chelsea has been going for over 50 years and is a bit of an institution. The eponymous John Sandoe ran the shop until his retirement in 1989 when staff and customers took over, and it keeps a traditional bookshop-y feel - kind of like Black Books without the irascible owner.

John Sandoe is tucked down a side street off the Kings Road, in a fabulous Georgian cottage that still has sash windows on the first floor. Clamber up and down the stairs, past books on each step, to discover an incredible world of 25,000 individual titles (literally) piled high. The choice is staggering for such a small space and they carry backlists of the sort you just don't find in Waterstones any more. We lost track of time, happily sorting through the books and trying to work out how many we could afford to take home.

Alongside fiction, poetry, art and a very good history selection, there's an interesting children's area in the basement. Make sure you also check out the travel section which is shelved by geographical area (Canada top right, Australia and New Zealand bottom left, and everything else in between).

John Sandoe (Books), 10 Blacklands Terrace, SW3. Map after the jump, images author's own. Know a good bookshop? Email us at londonist (@) gmail.com.


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Last Updated 19 August 2015

Rachel Holdsworth

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