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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Shop the Looters Ignored
The bookshop that looters didn't even touch.
Location: 70-72 St John's Road, Clapham, SW11 1PT
Description: On the worst night of 2011 London rioting almost every shop in Clapham High Street was looted by rioters - except, remarkably, one - the bookshop.
In one of the most telling images of the summer, looters stole TVs, camouflage shorts and iPods, but the Waterstone's branch in Clapham was left completely untouched.
The joke the next day was that the rioters do not know how to read. Simon, the manager of camping shop Blacks, watched it all from an upstairs window across the road, hiding in terror as hundreds of looters plundered his shop and the street outside.
They smashed our window, ripped the plasma TVs off our walls, took all our jackets and rucksacks. I saw them go into Claire's Accessories, break into NatWest, liberate our neighbours Toni & Guy of hair products. They carted off iPods from Currys, clothes from Debenhams, mobile phones from Carphone Warehouse. I was horrified.
But Waterstone's, directly opposite us was untouched. For the looters it was as if it did not exist.
When Waterstone's deputy manager Alicia Baiger arrived next day to a street littered with broken glass and debris, she was amazed to find that her shop - with its 199 Sony eReaders and three-for-two 10 paperbacks - had suffered not even a scratch.
What this free-for-all revealed better than any consumer behaviour poll could, is that many young people have no desire for books. Not even when they are apparently free.
Tagged in this Tour: The London Riots Tour