I do love what the book trade calls ephemera: magazines; letters; all those other bits and pieces of paper that add to one's store of knowledge. In the copy of The Horse in Action I wrote about yesterday was a copy of the original bill, for £2 6 3, and bought on February 21st 1955.

J A Allen were famed as equestrian publishers and booksellers. Established in 1926, they had a shop in Lower Grosvenor Place, selling books both new and old. J A Allen were taken over in 1999 by Robert Hale. The imprint still exists. The shop, alas, no longer does: it is one of my lasting regrets that I never got to visit it, but its unique savour is marvellously described by Caroline Baldock, who worked there.


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