Lambeth is a diverse area, both geographically and culturally. It ranges from Vauxhall at its most northern point to Streatham at its most southerly; in between you will find parts of Clapham, Brixton and Camberwell. This veritable tranche of London culture is served by a number of independent bookshops, find some of the best below.
If you are heading to the Oval because you enjoy things that are culturally rich, slow and traditional, then don’t only stop for the cricket, but also go to Unworth’s Booksellers. This specialist shop deals in collectable, rare and scholarly books across a range of topics. The stock goes back across multiple centuries and spans many empires and cultural movements. So whether your buzz is Byzantium art or Rennaissance poetry, there is a strong chance you’ll find something suitable here.
This secondhand bookshop is notable for its eccentric interior and eclectic selection. The owner of Book Mongersis no different and it is not uncommon to find his dog there to while you either browse the shelves or sit down to read on the sofa in the middle of the shop floor. If you have ever seen the show Black Books and yearn to live it, this be a good place to start.
Formerly in one of the Brixton Road railway arches, Beautiful Books has had to move a minute down the road to number 53 while refurbishment on the viaduct is taking place. The Bookshop began in its first guise in 1991 as a market stall before moving to the arches three years later. In terms of products, the shop is a Christian bookshop that belongs to the Laymen’s Evangelical Fellowship International and is replete with texts belonging to that community.
It is difficult to miss a bookshop with such a wonderfully vibrant and kitsch lime green shopfront. Herne Hill Books, right next to Herne Hill Station, sells an expected selection of contemporary and classic fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as offering rare and out of print books to boot. It is certainly a community affair with offers for those who are members of the local book groups or cinema. The shop itself is very small, but as the saying goes, it can still be perfectly formed.
Just across the road from Herne Hill Books is the beautifully decorated Tales on Moon Lane which is worth a visit if only for its interior and exterior design. The children’s bookshop offers what might perhaps be the best range of children’s books in South London and if that isn’t enough, the fantastical window displays will give you a hard time resisting a foray in.
This independent bookshop is the sister of Herne Hill Books. What you can expect from Clapham Booksis the same emphasis on quality and community but with a bit more room to move about! As there is a bit more floorspace to play with, you can expect to find a series of regular events at Clapham Books, including but not limited to: picture book story times, talks, book signings and poetry recitals.