Watkins Books: The Oldest Esoteric Bookshop In London

Watkins BooksAccording to Wikipedia.org, “Watkins Books is London’s oldest esoteric bookshop specializing in esotericism, mysticism, occultism, oriental religion and contemporary spirituality. The book store was established by John M. Watkins, a friend of Madame Blavatsky, in 1897 at 26 Charing Cross. John Watkins had already been selling books via a catalog that he began publishing in March of 1893. The first biography of Aleister Crowley mentions that Crowley made all of the books in Watkins disappear, and magically reappear.

Geoffrey Watkins (1896-1981) owned and managed the store after his father. It has been suggested that Geoffrey Watkins was Churchill’s astrologer; he was also an author and publisher, with notable books including first publishing Carl Gustav Jung’s 1925 edition of “VII Sermones ad Mortuos”.

In 1901, Watkins Books moved to 21 Cecil Court where it has been continuously trading ever since. It publishes a magazine called the Watkins Review, which has featured leading authors from mind-body-spirit and esoteric fields. The February 2011 issue of the Watkins Review, ranks the worlds top 100 most spiritually influential living people. Watkins Books has been owned by Etan Ilfeld since March of 2010. Since then, a new website has been launched, and the store has regularly hosts book launches and signings for leading figures in the MBS field. Additionally, the Watkins website has integrated a spiritual map of London that everyone is invited to contribute to.”

Blavatsky News writes: “Watkins Books, the oldest esoteric bookshop in London, has been trading since 1897, but was forced to close on February 23rd, 2010 after being placed in administration. The London Evening Standard reports that with falling sales caused by the Internet and a loss of trade during the bad weather this winter, the store at 19-21 Cecil Court was further crippled by a £500,000 tax bill inherited from the previous ownership.” Etan Ilfeld - Photo by Alistair KleeBauerWest End Extra tells us, “Luckily Etan Ilfeld, who owns two galleries opposite the shop in Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road, was on hand to buy the business….Mr Ilfeld, an American film producer who moved to London in 2007, had to beat off a number of rival bidders, including one who intended to turn the bookshop into an online-only business.

The shop was able to reopen on March 13, 2010 to a surprised public, with two customers bringing bottles of champagne to celebrate.”

Don’t live in England? Please visit www.watkinsbooks.com and browse their website!

My Holistic Map & Watkins Books by Merryn Jose

Works Cited: Blavatsky News- http://blavatskynews.blogspot.com/2010/04/watkins-bookshop-saved-from-closure.html West End Extra- www.westendextra.com/news/2010/apr/us-film-producer-supplies-magic-save-occult-bookshop Wikipedia.org- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watkins_Books Watkins Books – www.watkinsbooks.com

by Reviewer
Located right in the middle of London's "Theatre Land", Watkins Books is very easy to reach and find. Coming by tube the closest stop is Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly lines): take a Charing Cross Road exit and turn in the direction of Trafalgar Square. After a short walk you will find Cecil Court on your left and our shop half way down this famous pedestrian alley. Our address: 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ www.watkinsbooks.com