84 Charing Cross Road Plaque

Three years ago I arrived in London and almost immediately set off for Charing Cross Road to find no. 84.

For you who don’t know, 84 Charing Cross Road is a book, and later made into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins, about correspondences between a London bookseller and an American writer (the author) in post-war time.

True story. Not fiction. And the bookstore was located at 84 Charing Cross Road.

At the time I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I knew the bookstore was no longer there, but I still wanted to see what happened to the spot. I couldn’t find anything. Later on I found out that there is a plaque, which is what I was supposed to look for.

Fast forward three years, on a very sunny evening after work, just last week actually, I suddenly remembered about the unfinished mission, so I set off for Charing Cross Road again. No. 82 is very clear, but there’s no plaque anywhere near it. I was walking up and down Charing Cross, and to the back alley, examining all the buildings nearby. WHERE is the plaque? WHERE?

I was googling a few times as well on my phone, but all the posts about the plaque seem out of date. Is it still here in 2014?

Finally I decided to cross the big intersection to the other part of Charing Cross Road. Lo and behold!

84 Charing Cross Road Plaque

“84 Charing Cross Road – The Booksellers Marks & Co. were on this site which became world renowned through the book by Helene Hanff”

84 Charing Cross Road, London

84 Charing Cross Road plaque is just on the wall, next to this Belgian cafe

So there you go, I saw this plaque in May 2014, and it is still there, hopefully will be for a very long time. Hope this post could help all of you kindred spirits out there wanting to find this spot.

One thing to note, no. 82 is very visible (big numbers), but somehow the building next to it in the corner is NOT no. 84 (maybe no. 83?). You need to go across the intersection to the other part of Charing Cross Road for no. 84.

It was a pretty lonely plaque, but I loved it that there was no flock of people surrounding it. It was like finding a secret spot that I only I knew. Just me and the plaque.

I was standing there for a while, contemplating, remembering, and wondering, about how I got stranded in London. Words like Charing Cross, Piccadilly, Pimlico, Bloomsbury, Kensington, were all the little things that pulled me here. I wanted to see them, I wanted to be there, I wanted to breath the same air as these people who have created such good things in the world.

And I walked away, smiling, knowing that there are still tons of them yet to be discovered in this magical city.

“I remember years ago a guy I knew told me that people going to England find exactly what they go looking for. I said I’d go looking for the England of English literature, and he nodded and said: ‘It’s there.’” ~ 84 Charing Cross Road, pg 91

 

 

 

mee
The Traveling Reader
I left home when I was 17 and never stop exploring the world since. Most days I'm a digital technician at one of the London's biggest visual effects studio. My alternate persona writes and travels and dreams of doing these as a living. I alternately call myself Indonesian or Australian whichever is more beneficial at the time, and I've been a Londoner since 2011.