Book Shops | Edinburgh – Nothing New

He proposed motoring by easy stages to Edinburgh and, after some golf, crossing to Dublin.

It will be rather nice to pop into the old book shops of Edinburgh, he told Max Pemberton, whom he had chosen to be his holiday companion again. Arriving there, he expressed to Pemberton a preference for reading ‘sensational novels’.

Northcliffe (Alfred Harmsworth) 1911 1

So the great newspaperman liked to read ‘sensational novels’ on his days off, and what might a sensational novel be in 1911?

Max and I sat in the drawing room and smoked, and went to bed at 10. I read a chapter or two of Vanity Fair

I did not go in for sensational novels while I was in Edinburgh. I did however – like Northcliffe – go on to Dublin, and I too could have played golf if I had chosen. I did stay around the bookshops for a week though, could bookshops have settled into a sweeter enclave than West Port? They are fond of saying that the “West Port is Edinburgh’s Book Quarter,” the same will tell you it is a “…roguish cultural pocket… in a fine literary city.”

Running downhill to Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, West Port bookshops gather in numbers, with one across the way (across the Grassmarket, up the West Bow to Victoria Street) and the quirky Owl & Lion art gallery/workshop included for good company. Bookbinding is a traditional discipline at Owl & Lion mind. In true co-operative spirit they produce a handsome little map and official guide.

Ink Eats Man photo: West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Ink Eats man photo: West Port Bookshops Official Guide Map

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Ink Eats Man photo: West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Ink Eats Man photo: West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Ink Eats Man photo: West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Ink Eats Man photo: West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

West Port Book Shops Edinburgh

Old Town Bookshop Victoria Street Edinburgh

Old Town Bookshop Victoria Street Edinburgh

Ink Eats man photo: Owl & Lion Shop Window

Ink Eats man photo: Owl & Lion Shop Window

Ink Eats man photo: Geddes Bookbinder

Ink Eats man photo: Geddes Bookbinder – once on the Royal Mile


Links
The Owl and Lion Gallery / Boutique

Edinburgh Books

The Old Town Bookshop

West Port Book Festival


References
1/ Northcliffe by Reginald Pound and Geoffrey Harmsworth
London, Cassell & Company 1959
Pg 421-22

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2 thoughts on “Book Shops | Edinburgh – Nothing New

  1. I loved reading your take on the bookshops in Edinburgh. I too enjoyed perusing the book stores whilst there on a recent visit. The Owl and Lion is a great store and recently have begun to show artists work in the window (a lovely wide sill for display).
    Good take out coffee up and around the corner to sup on your way down the street.
    Cheers
    Jo

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