May’s Bookshop of the Month is the beautiful Heywood Hill Ltd. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, this renowned London institution sells new, old and antiquarian books, and played a significant role within London’s burgeoning literary scene in the 1940s. Today we pay a visit to one of the city’s most distinguished booksellers.
After more than seventy years in the picturesque Curzon Street in Mayfair, Heywood Hill Ltd is a remarkable survival, and a monument to London’s bohemian literary scene of yesteryear. This family-run bookseller stocks a comprehensive selection of titles from across the genre spectrum, with an emphasis on literature, history, architecture, biography and travel, as well as keeping a well-stocked children’s department.
The bookshop was founded by Heywood Hill and his wife Anne, both of whom took the lion’s share of store-running responsibilities in the shop’s early days. When Heywood was called up to fight in December 1942, the shop might have closed down had it not been for the contributions of novelist, essayist and historian Nancy Mitford, who had worked at the shop for a few months, alonside a small group of loyal helpers.
Nancy, the eldest of the six controversial Mitford sisters, remained firm friends with Heywood until her death in 1973. Nancy and Heywood wrote to one another regularly, and copies of these charming and witty letters can be purchased at Heywood Hill Ltd. in a paperback volume.
Haywood Hill Ltd. still plays an extremely active role in London’s literary scene, sponsoring the prestigious London Library Life in Literature Award (won this year by Philip Mansel).
As a bookshop, Heywood Hill’s reputation is second-to-none, and their enthusiastic staff can find you books in most categories from the esoteric and obscure to the very latest bestsellers. They also deliver books across the world, wherever you are.
To add to this already sterling reputation, Heywood Hill was selected as ‘One of 50 Reasons to Love Britain’ in The Sunday Telegraph. What more can we say!
How to find Heywood Hill
By tube: Green Park on the Victoria, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines is the nearest stop. Turn right out of the exit facing Green Park and walk down Piccadilly, towards Hyde Park Corner. Turn right into Half Moon Street. At the end of this street Heywood Hill is to be found on the opposite side of the road, to the left of Trumpers.
020 7629 0647
Monday – Friday: 9.00am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 9.00am – 4.30pm