Posts Tagged ‘charity shops’

Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Human Relief Foundation, New Cross

October 27, 2013


The Human Relief Foundation at 291 New Cross Road turned out to have quite a few books.  There were about 450 of them you could see, but they seemed to be arranged in a double line so there was probably the same number behind that you couldn’t see.  In the event, I bought a hardback, mint condition, signed copy of Alistair Darling’s Back from the Brink for £1-60, but what really struck me was Jonathan Strange & pan Norrell by Susanna Clarková–they had quite a few interesting-looking foreign language books.

And here’s a picture of the opening times:



Foreign Language Books In London’s Charity Bookshops: Oxfam Bloomsbury

September 22, 2013


Both this shop and the one in Marylebone are described as Oxfam’s flagship bookshop–maybe they just have too many admirals.  Anyway, this one had, excluding dictionaries, 9 shelves of foreign books with about 250 volumes.  There was no sign of any in Russian (including the ones I’d donated on earlier visits).


Be that as it may, here’s a picture of the opening hours:


I had also on many occasions been struck by the peremptory nature of this notice:


and didn’t really notice the placatory introduction until I came to photograph it…

Foreign Language Books In London’s Charity Bookshops: Oxfam, Maylebone High Street

September 22, 2013


Upon investigation, the foreign books in this shop amounted to a shelf of dictionaries:


In other news, I was quite tempted by a copy of J L Carr’s A Month In The Country, but decided that the pages were too tanned.

And here’s a picture of the opening times:



Foreign Language Books In London’s Charity Bookshops: Books For Amnesty, Hammersmith

September 21, 2013


The Books For Amnesty shop at 139b King Street turned out to have 6 shelves of foreign books, containing perhaps 150 or so volumes:


I can’t say that anything struck me particularly–they had three or four (quite old) books in Russian.

Here’s a picture of the opening times:


Foreign Language Books In London’s Charity Bookshops: Oxfam Kentish Town

September 18, 2013

IMG_1052This blog has decided to investigate the foreign-language books in London charity bookshops, with the idea of donating our surplus ones to places where they have some chance of escaping the recycling bin.  Our first visit was to the Oxfam Bookshop in Kentish Town.

There was indeed a pretty decent Foreign Literature section, comprising about 150 volumes:


The most interesting thing I noticed was a copy of Le Père Goriot  in rather better nick than the one I had just donated. I didn’t see any Russian books–a couple of Bulgarian ones maybe.  The most encouraging thing was the air of animation in the shop–there was constant activity as some people bought books and others brought new ones in.  In fact, the staff were too busy to harass me about Gift Aid.

None of which makes Kentish Town any less unappealing as a destination, of course…

Here’s a picture of the opening hours:


Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 5, Lewisham

July 15, 2012

This part of the study was carried out over an extended timescale, with the data on the contents of the Charity Research and Red Cross shops being collected on 1 February, while all of the opening times and the contents of the Scope shop were surveyed on 12 July.

The Cancer Research shop at 135 Lewisham High Street had 5 shelves containing 160 or so books, of which one might have interested me.

Information on opening hours is pictured below:

Maybe they’re the same as for their shop in Blackheath.

The Scope shop at 7 Lewis Grove had 6 shelves containing 160 books.

The opening hours are pictured below:

The British Red Cross shop at 94 High Street had 11 shelves and say 350 books.  I was quite tempted by The rest is noise at £ 2-50.

And opening hours:

Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 4, Blackheath on Sunday

February 20, 2012

This part of the study took in shops belonging to Cancer Research UK and Oxfam.

The Cancer Research UK  shop at 6 Montpelier Vale boasted 5 shelves displaying an approximate 180 books.  I came nearest to buying The Finkler Question (Howard Jacobson, £ 2-00), and there was also an interesting looking book called I crossed the Minch by Louis MacNeice (£ 2-50).  In an age-appropriate display of catatonic conservatism I donated some books here because I had before…Here are the opening hours:

Then the Oxfam shop at 66 Tranquil Vale (where the upper floor used to be entirely given over to books) had 47 shelves and say 1650 books, with many specialised areas not represented by in the other charity shops I’d visited.  Kirk and Raven’s book on The Presocratic Philosophers would be jolly good value at £ 1-99 for someone who didn’t already have it.  The place was also reasonably busy with customers actively engaged in buying books.  Clearly the place to donate anything at all out of the mainstream, even if they did have a notice up saying that due to high stock levels they weren’t accepting donations in the last hour of trading.

Here are Oxfam’s opening hours:

And in Blackheath (on Sunday), the common element was Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, featured in both of these shops.

Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 3, Catford

February 18, 2012

I found four charity shops in Catford, and they were pretty close to each other.

The Age UK shop at 10 Catford Broadway had 17 shelves containing say 500 books.  Prices seemed to be £ 1-50 for paperbacks and £ 2-oo for hardbacks.  They had the normal number of 5 or 6 books I might have been interested in if I didn’t already have them.  Here’s a picture of the opening times:

The Salvation Army shop a bit further along had 18 shelves and about 550 books on display.  I thought about buying Mezzanine (Nicholson Baker) for £ 1-00 and a book on Sexual Life in Ancient Rome for £ 3-00, but didn’t.  They had notices up asking for donations of books (among other things.)  Here are their opening times:


Anyway, I was able to walk through that shop and turn right to get to the Sense shop at 4 Winslade Way.

That had a mere 5 shelves displaying 200 or so books (together with a separate revolving stand of Romance) but they were inexpensive–50 p to £ 1-50. (There was a nice hardback copy of Underworld by Don DeLillo for £1-50.)  After that it was a short stroll to the BHF shop at 22 Winslade Way.

As I recall, they had quite a specific notice asking for donations of books.  Anyway, they had 19 shelves displaying 700 books or so, together with separate children’s section, Stand of Romance, and display of posh books in the window.  I personally bought an 8-year-old guidebook to the Baltic States and American Rust by Philipp Meyer (each £ 2-00).

I noted that two shops had copies of A Widow for One Year (John Irving) and The Book of Dave (Will Self); and three places had Then we came to the end (Joshua Ferris).  But Self is back in contention now as Catford’s leading author since I donated my copy (along with some other books) to the BHF.  And here are the opening times:

Finally, the following observation doesn’t form part of this study, but I enjoyed it anyway:

Professionals At Work…Leaders in Unskilled Temporary Work…?

Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 2, Peckham

January 29, 2012

I only managed to find the Sense and Scope shops–I think there is or was another one somewhere.

The Sense shop is at 43 Rye Lane and had 13 shelves of books (say 450 volumes in all), leaving aside the separate children’s section and a rotating stand of romance novels (not all of which were in fact romances).  There was rather a high concentration of books that looked interesting to me, and in fact I even found two to buy–Bowling Alone (Robert Putnam) and The Red Tent (Anita Diamant).  Each of these cost £ 1-50–note that the price is labelled on the cover rather than written inside.  This shop also had a sign up saying that they urgently needed donations.

The Scope shop is at 93 Peckham High Street and didn’t seem very book-oriented.  There were 3 shelves of books, say 120 volumes in all, and I didn’t see anything that interested me.  The common theme in Peckham seemed to be Andrea Camillieri (as opposed to Ian McEwan and Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda in Forest Hill).


This study can now include the ALD Life shop at 45 Peckham High Street.


It had say 30 shelves of books and 1500 volumes overall.  The nearest I came to anything I might want was The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, but in general the selection looked quite promising.  The opening hours are pictured below:


Books in Some Charity Shops of South London: Part 1, Forest Hill

January 25, 2012

Since people very sensibly decline to lose all their money by opening a bookshop–secondhand or otherwise–in the vicinity of Brockley SE4, I’ve decided to undertake a desultory survey of what the local charity shops have to offer.  My first investigation took me to Forest Hill SE23.

The Red Cross shop at 6 London Road was the only one I could call readily to mind.  It turned out to have say 11 shelves of books, say 450 volumes in all.  I noticed about 6 titles that I would have bought if I hadn’t already read them.  I came nearest to buying The Child that Books Built by Frances Spufford, but at £1-50 it was rather expensive for the condition (heavily tanned pages).

Then completely by chance I came across the Aldlife shop at 81-83 Dartmouth Road.  I didn’t know there was a charity shop there and I didn’t know there was such a thing as adrenoleukodystrophy either.  Anyway, the shop had about 800 books, excluding the separate children’s section.  It also had a nice polished wooden floor to sit on while looking at the books.  There was one copy of Atonement (as against two in the Red Cross and a couple of interesting-looking books in German (surely you should have German books in Forest Hill).  The nearest I came to buying anything was The Richness of Life, a selected Stephen Jay Gould in one volume for £1–but it had too much bulk and too little content that was new to me.

Finally I visited the Sue Ryder shop at 30/32 London Road.  I knew the shop was there, but I’ve never been sure of the difference between Sue Ryder and Ann Summers.  This one had 10 shelves of books, say 400 volumes in all, and the shelves were equipped with speakers relaying music loud enough to stop me concentrating.  There were quite a few books in the might have bought category–it looked like someone from Try Books! must have been taking their discards there.  The nearest I came to came to buying anything was Self Help by Edward Docx at £ 3-95 for a bulky hardback (I think paperbacks were £ 1-45).  On further inspection, I found a shelf of travel guides hidden away beneathe the displаy of DVDs in another part of the shop.  No Ian McEwan this time, but plenty of Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda.  Like the Red Cross, this shop had a sign up saying they wanted more stock.