Persephone Books

Shopping, Bookshops Bloomsbury

The main office of this publisher and bookseller is piled high with lovingly restored reprints of unfairly neglected women writers, mainly from the interwar period. These beautiful objects are covered in identical plain eggshell blue, but each book’s endpapers comprise wonderful re-creations of patterns – wallpapers, fabrics, clothing or suchlike – contemporary with the book; but, more importantly, they make for fascinating reading. Some are by well-known names – Penelope Mortimer, Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf – while others offer the chance to get to know quick-witted women who, by virtue of the time in which they lived, were not given the respect they might otherwise have gained in their own lifetimes. There’s William – an Englishman, Cicely Hamilton’s 1919 exploration of war; or Someone at a Distance (1953), in which Dorothy Whipple traces the effects of a man’s infidelity on his family. Persephone’s bestseller is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938) by Winifred Watson.

As featured in the 100 best shops in London


Venue name: Persephone Books
Address: 59 Lamb's Conduit St
Opening hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Fri; noon-5pm Sat
Transport: Tube: Holborn/Russel Sq
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This wonderful little bookshop, found on Lamb Conduit Street, dedicates itself to publishing lesser know works from female (mostly) writers. There is currently a range of 117 books, all re-prints, and new works are added all the time. Each book has a unique inlay and matching bookmark, which is a lovely little touch. 

It is certainly worth popping in if you are in the area (near the British Museum, Great Ormond Street Hospital, etc.) and you may find yourself leaving with a number of new books. 

This is the most charming bookstore I have seen in a long time and dedicated to many perhaps otherwise overlooked (mostly) female writers of the first half /mid of the twentieth century. Persephone Books publish stylish books with their typical elegant grey coverings and lovely colorful decorated endpapers, inspired by prints and fabrics of the era and they are a joy to see, feel and read.I will be back in London next week and a visit to stock up on desired titles is a must for me. The staff is friendly and most helpful and it's my favorite place in Bloomsbury.