Brilliant bookstores

The Financial Times has a lovely gallery of "brilliant bookshops", each with a short but substantial caption about its history written by a nominated contributor.

Founded in 1879, Blackwell's has been selling books to Oxford students and residents since the first lightbulb was invented. The flagship store, which is set over four floors of a grand 18th-century building on historic Broad Street, began as an academic retailer, and has sold university reading materials to everyone from Margaret Thatcher to JRR Tolkien: Ulric van den Bogaerde, who manages the academic department, remembers standing in the middle of the travel section and "suddenly being surrounded by Secret Service men", before realising that Bill Clinton was strolling around the shop, reliving his days as an Oxford student.