Goodbye Charing Cross Road…

Spent last weekend in London. I haven’t been back much since we moved down here nearly 20 years ago, largely because I haven’t missed The Smoke in any way, shape, or form, but I was looking forward to a good rootle around in the bookshops of Charing Cross Road. To my horror, though, there are just two secondhand bookshops left, and neither of them had anything much on the crafty side, just a handful of bog-standard needlework books. There are two publishing house outlets, where you can apparently have more-or-less any title reprinted to order – but not any of the ones that I was looking out for, or even DH’s, whose special interest is sporting books. There weren’t even any shelves for craft books in most of the bookshops we went into; there were entire cases dedicated to Art & Design, but nothing at all about how to actually make the stuff! In one of the 20+ bookshops we visited there was one half-shelf of “Handicrafts” of which 25% was knitting (not exactly cutting-edge stuff either) and the other 75% cardmaking & scrapbooking. I’m well aware that we might have done far better away from the West End; I suspect the rent & rates are too high to sustain businesses that can operate perfectly well online, but all the same it was sad, and I was just horrified to think that crafts have fallen so far out of public regard that they don’t merit any shelf space at all in mainstream shops any more.

I’ll add more later – off for a surprise hospital appointment now…

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