Surprise of Wanstead bookshops

Last week we wrote, while launching the all-new Wanstead Bookshop, that we didn’t think Wanstead had had its own bookshop before.

We were of course wrong. Lots of people who read Wansteadium have lived here for a very long time and know exactly what’s what. What’s slightly more embarrassing is that we actually had included a picture of one of these bookshops on a story we ran in 2016. It was called Vanes Library and was next to where Belgique is now.

Vane’s Library in Cambridge Park in January 1959

The photo was sent to us by reader Sharon, who told us at the time that her husband’s grandad owned the building and ran the shop – though she does say he ran it “as a stationery shop”.

Regular correspondent Kerry Renshaw wrote: “Vane’s was a stationer’s and bookshop, though in a small way. I remember ordering Biggles books for my birthday there in the 1950s.”

Gwen Marsh added: “Vane’s used to sell books, stationery and all sorts of wonderments and I used to spend a lot of time in there as a child happily. I remember both Vanes and Stockdales next door, that was luggage store if I remember correctly.”

We’ve also heard reports that there was a second bookshop on the High Street. We’re checking that – any further reports are welcome.

Meanwhile the new Wanstead Bookshop has had a pretty good first week, thanks for asking. There’s obviously plenty of interest and goodwill for Wanstead to have its own bookshop (once again). If you would like to sign up to stay in touch with the bookshop, send your details here.


    You will receive a sign-up confirmation from Wanstead Bookshop.

    And meanwhile these are some of the new books on offer this weekend.

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