To mark the second Books Are My Bag event this year, the impressive campaign celebrating bookshops across the UK has teamed up with bookbridgr for #ThisBookshop, in which they encourage people to talk about their favourite bookshop. When I found out about this I instantly knew which shop I would feature, a London icon: Foyles.
I visited London for the first time not that long ago, in 2006, so while Foyles and I don't go back decades (despite the flagship store gracing Charing Cross Road in one form or another for over a 110 years now!) it certainly feels like it. I made a special journey to the shop on my first visit to the capital and every trip since. And when I came to live in London myself in 2010 it became a fixture in my wanders through the West End - even increasing when our offices moved to just around the corner on New Oxford Street and I can now make a quick lunchtime trip to get my Foyles-fix.
Throughout the years I've not only spent many a paycheck in there after browsing the store for hours and coming across new hidden gems (of particular excitement was the discovery of a whole range of the Folio Society classics, including display copies which makes it so much easier to decide which ones to get), but I've also come to associate the shop for their unrivaled literary events and have met many fantastic authors over the years in the Gallery, such as Rachel Caine and Maggie Stiefvater, and more recently in their much larger events area in new-Foyles (I will never stop calling that), Anthony Horowitz and Meg Rosoff. The staff always make the events special and memorable by giving attendees unexpected goodies, dressing up for themed events (there was a particular excellent one for Halloween a few years ago) and their sheer enthusiasm.
Just before the big store move to an even larger space a few doors down earlier this year, the old Foyles building had an insightful exhibition on the rich history of the bookshop and the Foyle family's impressive influence on the bookselling market, which I believe speaks for itself. Find a (very small) selection of my pictures from the exhibit below and perhaps you too will be inspired by the fascinating story behind this one-of-a-kind bookshop and fall in love with it like I did many years ago.