One of my very first visits was to a bookshop fighting for its survival, and several have sadly closed before I could even get around to visiting them. However, for this week’s bookshop I was lucky enough to have accidentally arrived as a bookshop was being brought back to life.
As I stepped through the doors of Lloyds of Kew I found two booksellers sat on the floor reading through stock as they reviewed the contents of the bookshop. Because having ended its days as a specialist destination for gardeners (it’s found just a hop, skip and a jump from Kew Gardens), it had only recently re-opened as a general secondhand bookshop.
The shelves were all still labelled according to their former residents, and piles of books littered the back room as they awaited new homes within the shop, but this chaos of rebirth only helped add to my excitement as I explored the area open to the public.
The large front room - complete with knowledgeable bookseller who seemed to know the location of everything despite the chaos - is surrounded by tall wooden bookshelves that wouldn’t look out of place in a period home. While the cosy back room invites browsers to sit a while in a unique chair-cum-column that words can’t satisfactorily describe and photos will never do justice.
I had fun exploring, and picked up a copy of Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake as a reminder, while one of my friends chose Star Dust Falling by Jay Rayner.
My visit to Lloyds of Kew was to coincide with a trip to Kew Gardens, exploring the grounds as they came back to life for the start of the summer, but what I hadn’t anticipated was the rebirth I’d be encountering in this small, friendly bookshop. It’s a few weeks since I visited, so I’m afraid you may be too late to see the rebirth for yourself, instead you’ll be just in time for its first bloom.
9 Mortlake Road, Richmond, Kew, Surrey, TW9 3DT
Tel: 020 89482556