Leith’s largest and most idiosyncratic charity shop is shutting its doors.

Keith Tolstoy writes:

Leith’s largest and most idiosyncratic charity shop is shutting its doors.

Hidden away in Sandport Place between Plumbline and the Roseleaf, the Thrift Warehouse has never attracted the steady flow of customers it enjoyed at its old premises in Pilrig.

Now, sadly, the axe is falling, and the poor old warehouse will be wafted upwards to join the Edinburgh University Settlement shop (formerly in Great Junction Street) and the Roman Catholic Cathedral shop (late of Leith Walk) in the great dilapidated pedestrian precinct in the sky.

But it’s not gone yet, and book lovers need to get their asses down there smartish.

In these dark days when many charity shops seem to stock few books other than John Grisham, chick lit and The Da Vinci Code, the Thrift Warehouse has always offered a far wider range. Above all, it’s had no phobia about filling its shelves with – dare one say it? – books published before 1990.

And now nearly all the furniture’s gone, there’s space for all the books there was never room to display before. (All hardbacks are now £1; all paperbacks 50p.)


Okay, “display” may be too strong a word.

We’re not talking hours of labour by sweating window-dressers. We’re talking “large heap of dusty cardboard boxes in the centre of the floor.”

Probably a couple of dozen of them, plus the books on the shelves and in plastic baskets, and the little array of collectable ones behind glass at the back of the shop.

It may not sound like much, but working through them all took me more than two hours – and they were worth it.

At one end of the scale, there are some handsome old bound volumes that would be worth having just for their ornamental value; at the other, such contemporary masterpieces as The Idler Book of Crap Towns. In between – well, impossible to generalize. Old and new-ish, fiction and non-fiction, classics and I-don’t-know-why-you-keep-filling-the-house-with-that-rubbish. A diverse array, but plenty of good stuff in the mix.

Just wish my pockets were as deep as the holes in my credibility…

One Response

  1. […] above the door of an industrial unit. Turns out it’s the sign of a second-hand shop, the Thrift Warehouse – which, it seems, closed recently. I wonder if maybe the sign hadn’t been so obscure, […]

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