Book shop ‘mystery’ solved

The Northwood ‘scrapbooks’ of Francis Edwards

If any of you love searching for second hand books in London, you will know these two shops – Daunt Books (83-84, Marylebone High Street) and Francis Edwards (72, Charing Cross Road). I have been a regular patron myself for many years.



We hold at Hillingdon Local Studies the six finely bound scrapbooks of a Northwood bookseller also called Francis Edwards covering mainly the 1900s and 1910s. The scrapbooks – over 700 pages of them – are a fascinating insight into his interests and the life of early suburbia. Two volumes are devoted to the First World War.




We had always thought his business was a Northwood one. But one single document reveal’s his shop’s address as 83a, Marylebone High Street. A quick Google Image search revealed that Daunt Books, with its unique interior, was once Francis Edwards’ shop. The window in the older photo suggests the shop was opened in 1855 – the very year that the current Francis Edwards business, now in Charing Cross Road, began. Apparently our Francis Edwards was no minor local book dealer but the founder of a minor antiquarian book ’empire’ – and we would never have known if we hadn’t stumbled on that address.

Check out Francis’s scrapbooks for yourself at Hillingdon Local Studies, 1-5 weekdays, 9.30-5.30 Saturdays, no appointment needed.

By Paul – Local Studies






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