Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Waterstones, Piccadilly

London The Unfinished City
Well worth the wait. 
I love London, books and Iron Maiden, among other things. So it was only right that on a wet October evening I had no qualms about queuing outside Waterstones Piccadilly, to meet Bruce Dickinson, entrepreneur, pilot, Olympic-class fencer, businessman and lead singer of Iron Maiden, to get a copy of his autobiography signed.

What was peculiar was that of all the bookshops that I had visited, in London, this one had passed me by. What a mistake that was. It is massive and spreads across six floors. It has since become my favourite bookstore, especially with the views that are on offer on the fifth floor.

Brief History

This Art Deco building, designed by Joseph Emberton, opened in 1936 as a department store for Simpsons of Piccadilly. At the time it was the largest menswear store in the country and continued trading as such until 1999.

When Waterstones purchased the building and turned it into their flagship store. Waterstones Piccadilly is Europe's largest bookshop with over 8 miles of bookshelves, containing over 200,000 titles, spread across six floors. 

Besides all of your standard fare of new releases, bestsellers, cooking, sport, travel, art, fiction, history, children's, et cetera, they also have a First Editions section.

There is a cafe on the lower floor, where you can grab a coffee as you peruse the books.

Or, you can travel up to the fifth floor where the aptly named 5th View Restaurant & Bar is situated. And with its floor to ceiling windows, that look southward, there are some unique views to see, while you indulge in something from the menu, or try a cocktail. A nice place to meet for a morning coffee although, later in the day, reservations are required.

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