It was a pleasure to meet John and Dawn Hatchard at the end of their walk in Roland's Wood late this afternoon, just as the sun was going down...
I said I'd have no problem remembering that surname - John Hatchard is a descendent of the John Hatchard who founded Hatchard's bookshop of Picadilly, London which is where I worked when on my OE in London in the 1980s and happily met my bookseller husband, Kevin.
Hatchards is a special and wonderful bookshop - for reasons as well as romance! It was founded in 1797, and is still going today - London's oldest bookshop, 5 floors of books in an old building, paperbacks "below stairs", children's books on the top floor, with staff who all read and love books... It is next door to a very smart "grocer's shop" - Fortnum and Mason, and across the road from the Royal Academy.
Read more about Hatchards here from Wikipedia - "Its origins were founded through a bought collection of merchandise
from Simon Vandenbergh, a bookseller of the 18th century. Simon
Vandenbergh's grandson, John Vandenbergh Quick was the inventor of the
first pop up book and his grandson created the images of Sherlock Holmes
and Mother Goose as we know them today in wood carvings."
and here is a link to the (not very exciting) website.
Many of Hatchards customers were rather old school, and one of my favourite stories was from Simon Bainbridge, Front Shop Manager, who had a customer, an old codger in tweeds up to London from the country, doing errands for his wife... He came into the shop, and reading from his list, asked, "Have you got Face Cream by Elizabeth Arden?" Bless.