bookporn #35: lankester antiques & books, saffron walden

an excursion out into the Cambridge hinterlands yields a Find in the town of Saffron Walden: Lankester Antiques and Books, which is exactly what it says on the tin:

lankester antiques & books

that is to say, a stacked and dangling jumble of curios, oddities and knick-knacks, hemmed in sternly by shelves of books — all seeming to tremble on the cusp of total chaos; and the proprietor buried in among the antique postcards, typewriters and first editions — the solemn center around which all this wonderful, mere anarchy turns.

lankester books & curios

better still is the fact that the jumble and chaos is contained within such prim, white order on the outside. here is a metaphor for Self, or somesuch…


6 responses to “bookporn #35: lankester antiques & books, saffron walden

  • Graham Matthews

    Well, it’s changed a bit, but not much; they may have sold one or two books since 1967, but that’s about all.

    I was born and brought up in Saffron Walden and during the first year vacation at Library School, in Newcastle upon Tyne, I came home and found a part time summer job, classifying (well, sorting) the incredible number of second hand books in Lankesters shop, which had opened in the historic old Sun Inn on Chuch Street. Even in a town well endowed with such shops, Lankesters, with it’s uniquely historic location (there are said to be links to Oliver Cromwell and the events that led to the trial and execuation of Kings Charles) attracted many visitors, and the rather Victorian, old curiosity shop, ambiance always gave the impression of hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. How encouraging that it’s still there.

    Graham Matthews
    South Yorkshire

  • alexandrawhittle

    Hey, I am writing a feature for my uni work on independent bookshops and romantic fictions called “The Importance of being Independent” and I am planning to feature Lankester books, is there any chance I could use your picture of the outside of the building, please?

    Many thanks

    Alexandra Whittle

  • From Saffron Walden | Frames of Reference

    […] home to Lankester Antiques & Books. I couldn’t find a website but I did find this nice link. The building is famous for being Oliver Cromwell’s headquarters in 1647 and for it’s […]

  • Used Bookstores Around the World #3 - Gimme Some Reads

    […] of this picture, I’ve always had a hankering to check it out. I googled it and found a blog post from 2008 and a flickr image from 2010 — so there’s a chance it’s still alive […]

  • Liz Dobson

    Sadly, Lankester Books closed late last year (2015), but happily its owner has gone into retirement after selling on the building – a well-deserved retirement after some 50 years of trading. There was, and is, no other shop like it.

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