King’s Cross barge bookshop to stay afloat after reaching crowdfunding target

Paddy Screech at Word On The Water, London's only floating book shop. Picture: Polly Hancock

Paddy Screech at Word On The Water, London's only floating book shop. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The owners of a floating bookshop that has become a much-loved feature of London’s waterways have smashed their fundraising target of £4,000 – allowing them to take up permanent residence in King’s Cross.

Word on the Water has been meandering along the capital’s canals on a 1920s Dutch barge for the past four years, gaining a loyal army of fans.

Its cheap books, live jazz, poetry slams and dog-in-residence “Star” has seen it listed by the Guardian newspaper in its top ten world’s best independent bookshops.

While a year campaigning saw the barge offered a permanent home in Granary Square, King’s Cross, the planning and engineering costs, safety certificates and urgent repairs to the barge saw the owners turn to the community to raise £4,000 to stay afloat.

After just 23 days – and some 160 people donating – the bookshop broke through its target, now having raised more than £4,600.


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Co-owners Paddy Screech and John Privett wrote on their crowdfunding page: “We love you all so much. It means the world that you have helped our little independent bookshop. Please all go and have a superb day and eat some cake.”

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