No more Ripping Yarns
So depressing - Ripping Yarns, the wonderful second-hand bookshop near Highgate tube, is closing . Sunday will be the last trading day. The rent has doubled, and just to make them feel that little bit more special, the increase has been back-dated a couple of years.
So one of the last of those 'fun to delve' bookshops, which treasure pamphlets and poetry and radical squibs and old music papers, bites the dust. There's Walden Books in Chalk Farm still going, and Black Gull in East Finchley just about qualifies, but not much else in this part of north London.
Ripping Yarns has specialised in children's and illustrated books - but I've always relished it as a haven for radical tracts and old socialist titles. I've bought dozens of gloriously tatty old political pamphlets there. Today's purchase, no doubt my last, is entitled Mail Interception & Telephone Tapping in Britain, put out half-a-century ago by the Hampstead Group of the Committee of 100 - it cost me less than the price of a pint.
The shop was set up decades ago by Celia Hewitt - she's still very much around, indeed she was on the stage at the Jeremy Corbyn Night at The Forum on Monday reading poems by her late husband, Adrian Mitchell. There's a lovely account of the history of the shop here written by one of its staff. It's a shop with personality - which is not something you can say of most of the Oxfam bookshops, however much they are appreciated.
The Ripping Yarns website says the business will continue online. That's great - but it's not quite the same!
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