Continuing our amble around Cecil Court's independent bookshops
David Drummond has been running Pleasures of Past Times for over 40 years, and become a bit of a legend. He specialises in books and ephemera (programmes, playbills, postcards) about the performing arts, and is so loved amongst the theatrical crowd that when Simon Callow heard about Cecil Court's troubles with business rates he rushed off to write an angry piece in the Guardian. He's not the only lauded friend of the shop: Julian Barnes, Beryl Bainbridge and Cameron Mackintosh are also campaigning. No doubt if Sirs Alec Guinness, Rex Harrison and John Gielgud were still alive they would also be fighting Drummond's corner. You, however, should feel under no compulsion to do anything more strenuous than to spend a happy hour rummaging through his treasures.
We know a lot of people feel a bit intimidated about going into rare bookshops, worried the owners will chase them out with sticks if they dare approach the goods with their sticky little fingers. If this sounds like you, we recommend a visit to Tim Bryars. He stocks antiquarian books, maps and prints - plenty of them about London, and he wastes no time sharing his enthusiasm with anyone who walks in. He's also currently got in a beautiful first edition of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the original six volumes, on sale at a whopping £17,500, but also has books and folding maps for the price of a new hardback thriller. And we think we know which we'd prefer.
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