Biblio-Text: Treadwell's

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 107 months ago
Biblio-Text: Treadwell's
Antlers and other ceremonial aids
Antlers and other ceremonial aids
The squishy browser's sofa, with a nice view out onto the street
The squishy browser's sofa, with a nice view out onto the street
Swagged curtains, piles of books and table lamps. This is how bookshops should be
Swagged curtains, piles of books and table lamps. This is how bookshops should be
Eyes and feathers
Eyes and feathers
Cauldrons and candles and Egyptian gods
Cauldrons and candles and Egyptian gods
From the outside, Treadwell's barely hints at the treasures it conceals
From the outside, Treadwell's barely hints at the treasures it conceals
No 'by the power of Greyskull' gags, please
No 'by the power of Greyskull' gags, please
You really, really don't get this in Borders
You really, really don't get this in Borders
Cosy nooks and crannies
Cosy nooks and crannies
Owly sex
Owly sex

Continuing our amble round London's independent bookshops

You've probably walked past Treadwell's at some point but not looked at it very closely. It's time to rectify that. Inspect the cards in the racks outside. Look properly at the windows. It will become clear that this is no ordinary bookshop...

When the final Harry Potter book launched, CNN International wanted to film here because the shop looks like it's stepped straight out of Diagon Alley. It's a listed, early 18th century building, with original flooring and wall decoration. There's a table with cauldrons and golden goblets. A stuffed owl over there. Antlers and apothecary bottles. And is that a witches' hat?

Owner Christina was a mediaeval historian at Surrey University until a spot of "restructuring" led her to set up Treadwell's six years ago. It specialises in cultural history and esoteric belief, but we say it specialises in 'have you seen this? No, I haven't seen what you're looking at, I'm busy over here'. You can buy books on worldwide history and religion, paganism and the occult, poetry, folklore, art, the paranormal - and essential oils, hand-made soap, engravings and the occasional ceremonial dagger. You can even have a Tarot reading.

The shop attracts regulars from all over the world, including one Japanese gentleman who visits once a year to stock up. The shop hosts regular lectures, ceremonies, courses and workshops covering far, far too many subjects for us to mention here. It's also home to the Shakespeare Reader's Society. And do say hello to the stuffed owl when you drop by.

Treadwell's, 34 Tavistock Street, Covent Garden. Map after the jump. Images author's own. Know a good bookshop? Let us know on londonist (@) gmail.com.

Since this post was written, Treadwell's has moved to 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury WC1E 7BS.


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Last Updated 31 March 2009