Cecil Court is the home of Goldsboro Books and it is a unique street for book lovers. Located in the very heart of London, a moment's walk from Leicester Square Tube Station, Cecil Court is a picturesque late Victorian thoroughfare linking Charing Cross Road and St Martin's Lane, pedestrianised and seemingly immune from the bustle of the great city which surrounds it.
The shopfronts have not been altered in more than a century and the traditional hanging signs announce specialists in rare and antiquarian books, maps and prints and all manner of related printed material including stamps and banknotes.
Dickens’ “eternal tread” could apply to any London street, but is especially true of a place like Cecil Court. Located in the heart of Theatreland, Cecil Court is a matter of a few yards from the cinemas of Leicester Square, close to the Coliseum and Royal Opera House, the boutiques of Covent Garden and galleries of Trafalgar Square, and it is only a few minutes’ walk from Parliament in one direction and the Royal Courts in another. Actors, lawyers and politicians mingle with tour groups looking at the site of the ‘antique shop murder’ and possible inspiration for ‘Diagon Alley’, and there’s no reason to suppose that the mix of humanity has ever been greatly different, or any less interesting. It doesn’t take any great leap of imagination to picture Hogarth using Cecil Court as a shortcut between his house in Leicester Square and his Academy in St Martin’s Lane, or Johnson and Boswell hurrying the other way, from Old Slaughter’s Coffee House to a meeting of the Club on Gerrard Street. On Tuesdays, in the years before the First World War, a group of poets including W.H. Davies, Rupert Brooke, Edwin Thomas, Walter de la Mare, and Robert Frost would lunch at Mont Blanc restaurant on Gerrard Street before taking tea at St George’s Café on St Martin’s Lane, adjacent to the Coliseum: a gaggle of far from starving poets could have been a regular Tuesday sight for the shopkeepers of Cecil Court, as they passed through.