Where? London, UK
Recommended by Abi Rhodes
Housmans bookshop is indeed one of a radical sort - a bookshop with both a good reputation and a long tradition. It opened its doors over 60 years ago - the official date of opening being October 26th 1945 although the concept and its roots go back as far as 1930s and the great upsurge of the British pacifist movement. During those years, young people would gather at what used to be a temporary bookshop. They would debate and listen to the lectures of Dick Sheppard - the founder of the Peace Pledge Union. The following period of its operation is characterized by working on and off and constantly changing locations pre- and during the Second World War. During these turbulent years, writer and a playwright by the name of Laurence Housman suggested the bookshop found a permanent location and tried to promote pacifist ideas and human rights. Thus, in 1945, in the honor of his name, Housmans Bookshop started its long voyage. Throughout the bookshop's long history, many interesting events have taken place - perhaps the most shocking ones to mention would be the IRA bomb which blew up the pillar box outside the shop in 1974, the letter bomb of 1978 which caused burns to a staff member's hands and other, luckily, not so successful attacks on this radical little place.
Naturally, the bookshop of such calibre specializes in politics, political theory, peace studies and world affairs (even those very hard-to-track publications). Furthermore, various materials promoting peace, the environment, sexual freedom, equality can be found within the store, as well as various zines and periodicals, newspapers and magazines, and even fiction and non-fiction - both new and second-hand (and for the price of £1!).
Located near the edge of London's very center - just a few minutes from the famous King's Cross, Housmans prides in both being the first and one of the last remaining radical bookshops, its main goal being to promote peace and human rights and it has undoubtedly managed to stay true to its strong political stance. And although the bombs shattered the bookshop's walls, they never succeeded in shattering the ideas behind them, so we have all the reasons to believe that the people of London will be able to enjoy its presence for a long time to come.
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
Phone and Email:
020 7837 4473
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