The space occupying number 266 on Lee High Road has always been home to some interesting and unique independent businesses. For years it was the incomparable Snapdragon, which, with its alluring sculptures, pottery and water basins (often complete with fish and water fountains), could captivate the attention of anyone that stepped inside for hours on end. Following Snapdragon’s long tenure, it was taken over by the vintage clothes and design company Ruby & Norm, who transformed the place into a chic, spacious hangout. Customers could relax with coffee and a paper among beautiful furniture and decorated features or trawl through their quirky vintage clothes selection.
This year has seen it switch hands again to become another unique independent business. Halcyon Books have been an established second-hand bookshop in Greenwich for just over 25 years, and earlier this year, after deciding that a new shop was on the agenda, they snapped up the lease on the building, seeing it as a fitting replacement to their well-established and highly reputed shop in Greenwich…
We caught up with Matt, the owner of Halcyon Books, to discuss the new site and what it would mean for the future of the business.
“It just seemed like the perfect move. We’d been at Greenwich for over 25 years and had become firmly established. As the online sales took precedence over the last 10 years, we were really struggling for space - the shop is fairly small and by the end there were piles of books 7 feet high and no where to put them! The size of the new shop has allowed us to offer a seating area, with coffee, tea and light snacks available too. My favourite feature is the window panes, which fill the whole shop front and let in lots of light, they really show the height and size of the shop inside too.”
With a good-sized garden at the back of the shop, Matt plans to start buying and selling plants for customers, in much the same way as his buy-and-sell offers on books, as well as offer outdoor seating. The shop has been open for just over a month now, and has already attracted the attention of many locals: people are trading in books, browsing for their favourite classics (of which the selection is impressive!), or gathering with friends for a relaxed afternoon coffee. Halcyon Books are offering Lewisham Card holders a 10% discount when you spend over £10 on books, so any bookworms out there with a new reading list ready to get stuck into, head to Halcyon and support them whilst saving some money!