The front of Brick Lane Bookshop

Review: Brick Lane Bookshop

Brick Lane Bookshop is a compact bookshop with a lot of charm. It celebrates East London as well as offering literary escapism.

Walking down Brick Lane, you could easily miss the little bookshop that lies near the Bethnal Green side of the iconic road. But Brick Lane Bookshop is a must for book-lovers, especially for those wanting to delve into the past and present of the East End.

On entry, we were met by the comforting smell of fresh paper that new books have. The shop was busy, with individual customers crouched by shelves perusing titles, or huddled in pairs examining a book they had picked up. 

Despite it being a busy Saturday afternoon with lots of patrons, the bookshop didn’t feel hectic. Instead there was an aura of calm, as the shopgoers spoke in hushed voices to each other, as if to show reverence to the space. 

The bookshop is small, especially by the standards of the multi-storey chain bookshops that can be seen in Central London, but it is very well-stocked

Before the mid-1970s, there were no bookshops in the entire borough of Tower Hamlets. This bookshop is the result of a campaign to bring more arts to our borough and so it celebrates its locality. 

We were fascinated to browse the section on East London which sits towards the front of the shop as you enter. The section contains novels set in East London as well as history books on our local area. For anyone interested in the history of the East End, Brick Lane Bookshop is a must. 

As well as the locally-orientated selection of books, the shop also has a range of postcards and prints that depict our local area. We got ourselves a postcard with the Bethnal Green roundel on the front to pin on our fridge. If you fall in love with the little bookshop, you can even purchase a Brick Lane Bookshop tote bag.

Moving away from the local, you could travel around the world with the selection of books on offer. The non-fiction selection of books is particularly good, with literature ranging from LGBT+ works to science reads. 

A bargain can be found in the bookshop. We picked up two books and a postcard for less than £13. 

On a busy Saturday afternoon, we didn’t get the chance to chat with the friendly shop assistant who served us. If you’re after book recommendations we advise heading down on a weekday, when it’s less busy and the staff will likely be more than happy to help.

It is also independent, meaning you can browse without fear that you are lining the pockets of Jeff Bezos or some far-removed corporation. 

Brick Lane Bookshop is a little bookshop with a lot to offer.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy reading about the history of The Boundary Estate.

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