Are you a book lover? Well, in that case, if you’re ever in London there’s somewhere that you simply must visit. Daunt Books is situated in a stunning Edwardian building, 83 Marylebone High Street. Daunt Books was founded in 1990 by James Daunt but the premises itself was a book shop long before that.
Originally, it was home to antiquarian booksellers, Francis Edwards established in 1910. Francis Edwards claims to be the first custom-built bookshop in the world.
The legacy of Francis Edwards can still be felt in Daunt Books today through its stunning interiors which stayed true to the original building. The heart of the bookshop is filled by a long galleried main room which is spectacularly decorated with a beautiful arched window. The window is also partially glazed with stained glass, adding to the grandeur of the room. The whole shop is comprised of long oak galleries and airy skylight windows. As well as being decorated by huge shelves full of books, you’ll also find artwork by William Morris.
Daunt Books is extremely popular with book-lovers and Marylebone is one of six locations across London. So, what do we know about the Founder of London’s favourite bookshop?
James Daunt was born in 1963 and was schooled at Sherborne School, an independent boarding school for boys based in Dorset. He then attended Pembroke College at Cambridge University where he read history. Daunt’s first job after leaving university was as a Purser for Carnival Cruise Lines. He then moved to the US where he became a banker for JP Morgan before founding Daunt Books in London. Daunt is a key figure in the literary circle. He is widely regarded as the man who saved Waterstones from falling victim to the digital age. In 2011, Daunt was appointed Managing Director of the then failing high street chain. He was also elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017.
To start with, Daunt Books specialised in travel, before expanding their collection in the late 90s. Now, it houses several different genres, appealing to a diverse audience. Daunt Books also has other stores located at Marylebone, Haverstock Hill in Belsize Park, South End Road in Hampstead, Holland Park, Fulham Road in Chelsea and in Cheapside, next to Bow Church.
The independent chain is loved because of its originality and personable service.
Feel free to visit Aubaine for refreshments afterward: https://aubaine.co.uk/our-restaurants/marylebone/
Next up: The Royal Society of Medicine