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New Stanfords shop, Mercer Walk
Photograph: Stanfords

Much-loved travel bookshop Stanfords is fundraising for survival

The London bookshop has been inspiring travels since 1853, but is now asking for help to pay its staff

Ellie Walker-Arnott

This year has been tough on everyone, but it’s been especially challenging for independent businesses. We’ve already seen a bunch of London pubs and restaurants close for good this year, while shops across the city are struggling, especially now that we’re in the middle of a second national lockdown and ‘non-essential’ businesses are being forced to close their doors. 

One of them is long-standing travel bookshop Stanfords, which in its own words, has been ‘an essential first port of call for adventure and armchair travellers alike since it was founded in 1853 by Edward Stanford’. Despite its status and history, the store, which is based in Covent Garden, is now fundraising for survival after being hit particularly hard by the events of 2020. 

‘Unfortunately we are in grave danger of 2020 being the final year of our 167-year history,’ reads a plea from the shop, explaining that its current woes have been caused by the fact that travel bans have impacted the sales of maps and travel books, reduced footfall in their central London location and the hefty expenses – ‘rent, taxes and expert staff (many of whom have worked for Stanfords for over 25 years)’ – that come with being an IRL independent bookshop. 

New Stanfords shop at 7 Mercer Walk, Covent Garden (Jan 2019)
Photograph: Stanfords

Stanfords is crowdfunding for £120,000, as part of the Mayor of London’s Pay It Forward scheme, which will enable the business to survive until spring 2021, when it hopes that ‘our customers will be able to start travelling again and more people will get on public transport to visit us’. 

You can chose to donate purely to the cause, or to give money and get a reward, such as five hot drinks in Stanfords café for a £5 donation, or a print of an aerial view of any location in the UK as a thank you for a £50 donation. A donation of £1,000 will help save the job of one staff member. 

Find out more and donate here

Soho’s Crobar is also crowdfunding for its future.

This new website is supporting your local bookshop in time for Lockdown 2.


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