The trove of treasures otherwise known as Osterley Bookshop is a few minutes from the beautiful National Trust Osterley park and house in West London and a convenient 10 minute walk from Osterley tube station. It’s a shop I had previously come across via its stall at an end of summer fete near to my home in Ealing over a year ago. I had been meaning to pay a visit ever since. A blissful sunny Saturday a few weeks ago with not very much planned I finally managed it.This bookshop is a curiosity, so much so, it feels as if it might have worked its way out of the pages of its own books. Shelves, from the uneven floors to the dusty ceilings are piled high with an eclectic mix of old books, very old books and a smattering of contemporary fiction. Extended browsing is the only way to tackle it. It’s the kind of book shop where you just come upon things. Books tumble over one another. Stacks of books fill the floor, books are doubled up on creaking shelves and can even be found hanging from the ceiling. There may well be some order to it but I couldn’t find it, and in fact wouldn’t even recommend attempting to do so. The great joy here is making unexpected discoveries.Despite the apparent chaos I loved the attention to detail, in the labels and signs around the shop and the owners clearly have a sense of humour and concern for their customers wellbeing!This is a shop where the owners expect you to browse. I loved the box of spectacles and despite being a fully fledged contact lens wearer, I was very tempted to pick up a pair of specs to further enhance my browsing experience.When I visited, the bookshop was coming to the end of its ‘Great September Sale’ with 2 books for the princely sum of £3.50. It was here I picked up one of my favourite finds of the year. ‘The bookshop’ by Penelope Fitzgerald seemed like a highly appropriate purchase. I also bought a book by Tessa Hadley which I shall look forward to reading and reviewing on these pages soon.The book seller appeared from time to time in the manner of the shop keeper from Mr Benn, (one minute he was there, the next he wasn’t, disappearing through a small doorway) but for the most part I was left to browse alone and unwatched, nosing my way along the shelves, picking up and putting down.
I can’t quite imagine how this bookshop sustains it self, in a largely residential area with a limited amount of passing trade. However it is unique and I imagine it’s reputation goes before it. If you happen to be leaving the Piccadilly line at Osterley do stop by. Who knows what you may discover?