A Review of Chartwell Bookseller


55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY

This small shop is set off from the lobby of a polished midtown Manhattan building by a black marble hallway lined with photos of Winston Churchill, who is heavily featured in this bookshop. They sell books by him, about him, about World War II, British history, and other books Anglophiles would love. With recent films about Churchill’s era (Dunkirk and Darkest Hour, to name a couple) proving his time in power is still intriguing to us, this shop is perfectly situated to fulfill your every Churchill curiosity.  

It’s small, just one room, but if you browse slowly and poke about at all the historical texts, it’s an enjoyable visit. The books are shelved on light woods set off from red plush carpeting, giving the shop a cultured feel, especially after walking through the chic lobby and window displays of first editions to get to the shop. There are plenty of older, rare books in displays meant for collectors rather than casual browsers, but they also have a healthy selection of new Churchill titles up front.


Included in all the Churchill tomes are sections of typical fiction, nonfiction, and children’s offerings, and a few gifts here and there too. But this small niche shop is there to serve a very specific purpose: offer books about the British Bulldog in a quaint little shop stacked with ornate, rare titles. Hop in for a quick visit, but just know what you’re going to see when you get there. If British culture isn’t your thing, this may not be your new favorite shop. But hey, you never know. Enjoy!     

Atmosphere — Small, niche bookshop set off within an upscale lobby that features primarily books by or about Winston Churchill. Wood and glass cases, red plush carpeting, and plenty of rare and antique books.       

Quality — The books are both new and old but all are in exceptional condition, especially the rare, antique editions protected in cases.

Quantity ­­— It’s a very small shop but they pack it full of books so it should keep you busy for a small browsing session.        

Diversity — As stated, the shop focuses on books by or about Winston Churchill, WWII, and British history, but there’s also a small children’s section and general fiction and nonfiction, although those sections are quite small.       


Affordability — I didn’t see anything you’d call a “great deal” if you’re looking for a bargain, but this is the kind of shop you go to for a specific book that you’re willing to pay for.  

Amenities — There was a bench, and just outside down the lobby hall was a café, so you’re not far from a place to lounge.

Location — A small bookshop set off from a polished lobby in a midtown Manhattan building. It’s down a side hallway and was tough to find for a half minute but they also have a few cool window displays. Enjoy the browsing.  

Customer Service — There were two staffers there (the owners, possibly) who greeted me but let me be as I quickly browsed. I think they knew I wasn’t really there for their extensive rarities collections. 

Overall — This small, unique shop is there for a reason and so are you—Winston Churchill. It’s a cool little shop but don’t go there expecting a feast of discounted books to sift through. But if you’re in the neighborhood, check it out. It’s a one of a kind shop and perfect for anglophiles and history buffs.