Sunday, 24 June 2012

UNdane Monday: Cecil Court, London

In the West End of London, hidden behind a theatre and a burger bar pretending to be a gourmet restaurant, there's Cecil Court, home of quirky antique and specialist bookshops that haven't changed in decades (over a century, in fact).

Cecil Court has a rich history. Also, it's blimmin' weird. Sort of like Diagon Alley. In fact, there is a shop here that's dedicated to books about magic tricks.

There are also shops dedicated to antique maps, modern first editions and stamp and coin collections. In Marchpane, a dusty shop dedicated to children's books, we found approximately seventy five different editions of Alice in Wonderland (old, new, signed, in German etc) and across the street, at Watkins Books, the smell of incence burned our eyes and we were confronted with an impressive collection of books about Wicca and alternative medicine.

Many of the shops here buy books as well as sell. The shop fronts are all archaic and beautiful and I think a couple of them lead to Narnia. It's worth a visit. The best thing about it is, if you weren't paying attention, you could easily miss the whole street amid the crowds on Charing Cross Road. And I did, for years.

Now I want to own a shop there. I will buy early editions of The Wizard of Oz and sell cupcakes with obscure dictionary definitions iced onto them. People will come from miles around. And I suspect they already do - because Cecil Court is a bit special, to tell you the truth.