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Charing Corpse Road
Report by urban75 editor, Feb 2004

Money-grabbing landlords are destroying one of London's most famous streets, replacing long-established, small independent bookshops with bland, faceless shops.

Charing Cross Road is world famous for its second hand and specialist bookshops - in fact there's even been a film and a book about the street, 84 Charing Cross Road (1986).

But all that looks to change as greedy landlords look set to put the bookstores out of business with punitive rent increases.

Recently, rents have increased from anything between 65% to 218%, with greedy landlords seeking to raise rents even further in a fresh round of 'negotiations'.

Shipley Specialist Art Booksellers, 70, Charing Cross Road, London WC2
Shipley Specialist Art Booksellers, 70, Charing Cross Road, London WC2

In December 2001, Waterstones closed, shortly followed by Silver Moon, a world famous bookstore, specialising in books by and for women (Silver Moon is now exiled in Foyles bookstore).

Zwemmers art shop has also closed and staff at the remaining Zwemmers Design bookstore recently found themselves locked out by the landlord over a rent dispute.

Ian of Shipley Books has been running his shop for over 20 years but now fears for its future

If proof were ever needed of just how serious the situation has become, ponder this depressing fact: the famous bookstore at 84 Charing Cross Rd is now part of the ghastly 'All Bar One' pub chain.

So what can you do to help keep the independent bookstores on Charing Cross Road alive?

The answer is simple! Support them! Don't spend your money at enormo-corporate giants like Borders - shop at independent bookstores instead!

You can also write to the landlords and the Mayor to voice your deep concern about this piece of London history being destroyed by greed:

The landlords:
Mr Simon Sellens
Soho Housing Association
16 Hanway Street
London W1P 9DD

Mayor for London:
Ken Livingstone
Greater London Authority
City Hall
London SE1 2AA

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