London is full of charming, specialist second hand book shops offering booklovers and collectors alike a labyrinthine plethora of gorgeously crafted and quirky finds. Last night it was my pleasure to meet the owner of one such book shop, Helen Edwards, the force behind of Lloyds of Kew.
Lloyds of Kew has been an established part of the London book trade for over 40 years. Situated only yards from the iconic Kew Gardens, it was founded in 1973 by the well known and botany and horticulture specialist, Daniel Lloyd (although there had been bookshops under different names offering a range of horticulture and gardening books on the same site for some years previously, operated originally by John Chancellor and then Mary Bland). Helen has maintained the shops specialities – a logical choice given its location – and now offers a range of botany, horticulture, botanical illustration and art and photography books (as well as good select in travel writing, poetry and literature).
We met in the Stonemasons’ Arms in Hammersmith (great gin, good service, not so good on the vegan food offering – chips was about as good as it got), together with the rather wonderful bookseller, Lucy FishWife and magician extraordinaire, Mr O, who had brought us all together. Ostensibly the purpose of the gathering was to explore whether we could bring Lloyds of London and BookAddiction closer together and collaborate to improve the offering we both make to our wonderful clients and customers. But we also had a lot of fun swapping stories of book finds and strange book trade encounters and enthusing about the wonders of books illustrators such as Arthur Rackham and crackingly fine book designers such as Talwin Morris and Ethel Larcombe.
Our book business talk was good too. Lloyds of Kew do not at present offer any of its books online, something which BookAddiction excels at; and in turn Lloyds of Kew may be able to help Wimbledon Rare and Collectible Books extend the range and quality of gloriously beautiful books offered to our clients all over the world. A heady mix, then, of gin and business and beautiful books, making for a fine evening out.
Lloyds of Kew, at 9 Mortlake Terrace, Kew, London, is open 10.00am to 5.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday and makes the perfection addition to any visit to Kew and Kew Gardens. BookAddiction is open 24/7 to clients from all over the world. You can browse our books at anytime.