Hatchards, Londons oldest bookshop, has provided the annual crafted Christmas tree for St. Pancras International Station, in the style of a ziggurat tower of books. Hatchards, with its first outlet dating back to 1797 in St James, and believed to be the oldest bookstore in London.
The tree aims to rekindle the joy of reading, featuring a winding staircase that invites visitors to explore up to 270 bookshelves stacked with over 3,800 hand-painted books.
The almost 4,000 books in the tree have all been hand-painted and inscribed with Christmassy titles including Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol and C.S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The tree is inspired by the magical ability of both books and train travel to transport people to exciting new places.
At the base of the tree are also eight cosy-looking cubby holes, each having a spot where bibliophiles can stop, sit and read. In each booth, visitors can listen to a five-minute excerpt of an audiobook provided by Penguin Books from authors including Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Zadie Smith, Robin Stevens, Gabrielle Zevin, Alice Winn, Rick Riordan, Michael Morpurgo, Richard Osman and Tom Fletcher. Each booth has two options and guests will be able to choose from sixteen different audios.
Hatchards believes that this Christmas tree serves as a poignant reminder of the joys of reading, especially at a time when many are glued to their phones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the station, the holiday season provides an opportunity for people to slow down, either to enjoy a good read or simply to savour a few moments of listening to a captivating audiobook.