This is a bit of a personal digression to mark the reincarnation of a Richmond institution.

An essential part of my children’s childhood disappeared when the Lion & the Unicorn bookshop closed in July 2013. It was the destination of my daughter’s first unaccompanied trip into town. 20 years later when she was a class teacher needing a particular book to teach from next day, they kept the shop open for me to pick up a vital copy.*

A specialist independent bookshop knowing its market inside out, a haven alike for bookish children and adults looking for that special present.

So in 2013, I got that sinking feeling when I heard that a rent increase too far had done for this unique business.

A year and a half on, a minor miracle has occurred – a new children’s bookshop had opened in Richmond run by the very same people who ran the Lion & the Unicorn.

It’s called “The Alligator’s Mouth” and is located at 2a Church Court (by the side of Tesco) Richmond, TW9 1JL in a shop vacated by another bookshop (Houben’s).

So people of West London, you have an alternative to shopping in The Jungle (I’m not going to dignify the online market leader by referring to them by name) – you can give your custom to people who really care about and understand children’s literacy. There’s so much talk these days about getting children to read for pleasure and what better way is there for them to discover the comfort of a good book than by regularly popping into a well thought-through emporium of bookish delights ?

For further info’ with some very good photos click here


*”I’ll take you to Mrs Cole” by Nigel Gray and illustrated by the incomparable Michael Foreman