Here’s a nice post from Cabbieblog about what he describes as the oldest bookshop in Britain. Hatchard’s (now owned by Waterstone’s) opened in Piccadilly in 1796. imagesHowever Southeran’s of Sackville Street clearly state over their door that they were established in 1761 (although this was in York, not London). The Moravian Bookshop in Bethlehem, PA opened in 1745, and lays claim to being the oldest bookstore in the world. This claim is also made by the imagesBertrand Bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal, which has been open since 1732. However I do think Cambridge University Press may in fact be the correct claimant; their bookshop now being located in the premises of what once was Bowes & Bowes.Unknown The CUP Bookshop site at 1, Trinity Street, Cambridge has a claim to be the oldest bookshop site in the country, books having been sold there since 1581. The key term in the Bertrand Bookstore’s claim is perhaps the words “continuously operating” which Guinness World Records includes in their description. The Cambridge site has housed several different bookselling businesses. Just goes to show it’s rash to make claims unhedged about with qualification: Hatchard’s may be the oldest-continuously-operating-at-the-same-location-under-one-company-name bookshop in Britain.

Cabbieblog makes one think of the London cab driver who periodically comes on Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, discussing his recommended books — but his name is Will Grozier, whereas Cabbieblog is written by “Gibson Square”. If they are not one and the same, this might suggest that London cabs may have an unexpected mobile literary salon aspect to them. Next time you are in a London cab maybe you should try to get the conversation round to books.