Stanfords is moving

By | Category: Travel news

The great man himself -Edward Stanford. Image © Stanfords

After 117 years, Stanfords is moving. The shop that every traveller who can get to London sooner or later visits (it just isn’t right only seeing it online) and which is home to the world’s largest collection of maps, travel books and globes is relocating to Mercer Walk which is just off Mercer Street.

Although there is a store in Bristol and an outlet in Manchester it is to London that serious travellers go.  the Long Acre shop in Covent Garden  has been where modern travelers went. In previous times people like David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale and Sherlock Holmes went to the Charing Cross shop whilst whilst Scott of the Antarctic and Ernest Shackleton probably went to Long Acre. Modern travellers like Jan Morris me, Michael Palin, me, Griff Rhys Jones, me, Ranulph Fiennes and me (perhaps I’m not in the same league) have also dropped by to collect essential travel gear before heading off on another journey into the wilds, the unknown or even places closer to home like the National Coastal Path. If you can’t get it at Stanfords then it probably doesn’t exist used to be the mantra and maybe it still is. If you even want your own map created, Stanfords is the place to go.

The shop will leave this building in the new year

If there had been a Stanfords around in 1492, Christopher Columbus might even have sailed another route to India instead of the Caribbean.

The move to Mercer Walk will be the fourth since the shop opened 165 years ago suggesting that Stanfords also like to see pastures new – just as long as they are only ever forty years or so. Moving shop like planning journeys takes time, consideration and shouldn’t be rushed!

Stanfords also attracts those who just like to sit and dream of voyages much like Deborah Kerr and Robert Donat did in the forties film, Perfect Strangers. If you can’t make a journey due to money, inclination or time then Stanfords is the next best thing.

The shop won’t move until January although the new site will have a Christmas fair at the new site.

and move here to Mercer Walk

It is much more than a supllier of maps although most of us think of that as its forte. Trunks, travel guides and that most importanct feature of modern travel – adaptors for your electronic thingummyjigs  – are all there.

Today the company sponsors annual Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards (and before you ask, no I haven’t won but then, neither have I entered) which celebrates the best travel writers in the world as well as book launches but the feature that I find interesting are its archives. Some of that material will be on show in the new year when letters from those Victorian explorers will be on display.

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