Temple Fortune bookshop owner bows out after 25 years

PUBLISHED: 16:37 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:37 27 February 2018

Michael Joseph. Picture: MO RESSLER

Michael Joseph. Picture: MO RESSLER


The owner of an independent bookshop is bowing out after 25 years of inspiring customers with a love of art, literature and food.

Michael Joseph gave up a career in law and role at publishing firm Penguin to open Joseph’s Bookstore in Temple Fortune in 1994.

His original ambition was to combine world literature and Jewish culture in one shop, but over the year the store has branched out putting on art exhibitions, events and opening a restaurant next door.

Mr Joseph said: “It’s obviously going to be a wrench to leave something you’ve loved and spend a lot of time doing over 25 years. It’s going to be a slightly strange experience to not have the shop anymore.

“I will feel very happy that I did it, but sad I won’t be coming in again on a Monday and Tuesday morning with all the joy and aggravation the goes with running a bookshop,” he added.

Over the years scores of writers, artists and scientists have appeared at the Finchley Road store including Israeli writer Amos Oz and Canadian author Michael Ignatieff.

Explaining how his shop thrived in the face of “huge changes” with the onset of online retailers and ebooks, Mr Joseph said: “You’ve got to do more than just put a book on a shelf and sell it.

“A quick way to sell books is to have an author come in, but we went against the grain. We’ve never had a book signing. You want people to be there to ask questions. We provide something like a home for our customers.”

Whilst operating the book store Mr Joseph has also published books by author Sally Berkovic and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg.

Customers have told Mr Joseph, whose own taste in books includes “pretty much everything” apart from science fiction, they will be very upset to see the shop and restaurant go when the doors close in April.

Though for Mr Joseph, who lives with his wife of 44 years Mo Ressler in West Hampstead, retiring will give him more time to read, write and spend time with his five-month-old granddaughter Shohoshana.

However, Mr Joseph plans a few more events before closing with the latest being the launches of books by his daughter Kate Joseph and son-in-law Adam Karni Cohen.

He said: “That was a nice way of winding up my career here.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories


A workshop owner who engraves benches on Hampstead Heath was forced to break in to his own business to retrieve machinery after the landlord changed the locks and evicted him over unpaid rent.


Champagne corks were popped on Saturday as the well-known former Blustons clothes store in Kentish Town has been re-opened as a vintage charity shop.


A man has died after a fire broke out in a first floor flat on Brassey Road in West Hampstead.


Highgate’s historic Prince of Wales pub has temporarily closed for a £250,000 refurbishment but its new manager has moved to allay fears that the traditional boozer will lose its character.

Friday, November 16, 2018

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now