Saturday, 3 February 2007

Thornton's Bookshop

John Thornton's bookshop on the Fulham Road is a veritable London Catholic icon, which has already featured in these pages. For well over 40 years it has specialised in secondhand Catholic books and Mr Thornton has had the melancholic (though for us consumers not completely unfortunate) task of buying the libraries of religious houses that are closing down.

Since the time I was a sixth former interested in learning more about the Faith (and beginning to think about the Sacred Priesthood) I have been a frequent visitor to their basement. Luckily, since most books were priced under £10 (and many under a fiver) it was even affordable as a University student and seminarian. Looking at my shelves, I owe at least 50% of my library to this shop - especially the hagiography, spirituality and Church history sections.

Alas, Thornton's is closing down in a few months time. The good news is that the entire stock (including the antiquarian books) is now selling at half price! I urge all my London readers to pay them a speedy visit - 455 Fulham Rd, SW10 9UZ (near the Servite church and the Fulham Rd entrance to Brompton Cemetery), tel: 020 7352 8810.

Happy shopping - but do leave a few items for me!

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1 Comments:

Blogger Hebdomadary said...

I am indeed sad to hear of of the passing from the scene of Thornton's shop. I too have spent many hours browsing, and more than a few quid in buying their seemingly inexhaustable stock. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Thornton and his always welcoming and helpful wife for a not insignificant part of my own library. They will be missed.

Incidentally, in about 1993 John had bought a load of Liber Usuali from a convent in Ireland, and they were stacked under the big round table in the basement, about forty or fifty of them, with a few up top for display. I rummaged through them and selected ten, for ten quid apiece, then went back to Canon (then Fr.) John McDonald at Maiden Lane, and told him of my discovery. I asked if he would put up 100 quid to stock the choir cabinet for the LMS Monday night mass. He readily disbursed, and I hustled back to Thornton's, boxed up the ensemble, and lugged them back to Corpus Christi during the afternoon rush. They still reside there, minus a couple of swaps and (no doubt just) pilferages, used quite regularly, but subject to the happy wear of regular thumbings. Those were perhaps my favourite acquisitions from Thoronton's, but I suspect London is dotted with similar contributions. They - the Thorntons and the Libers - have done noble service. I hope the Catholic press notices them before they go.

11:17 pm  

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