Book Fairs | March 12, 2018

Sir David Attenborough to Open ABA Rare Book Fair London at New Venue in Battersea Park

Sir David Attenborough, the much-loved and admired veteran naturalist and television presenter, is an avid collector of rare books and will be opening the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABA) flagship 61st Fair, which takes place this May in Battersea. For the last 20 years the Fair, which is one of the largest and most prestigious rare book fairs in the world, has taken place at Olympia but this summer it is moving to its new home - the attractive Battersea Evolution venue in Battersea Park. 

As Sir David Attenborough says “You could say that, after so many years at Olympia, the Fair has indeed evolved. Most living organisms do.” 

Sir David Attenborough will open the Fair at 12pm on Thursday 24th May 

The 160 plus British and international exhibitors will be showcasing a wide range of rare books, manuscripts, maps, prints, ephemera and original artwork which will include Medieval museum quality manuscripts to modern day first editions such as Harry Potter. Prices will range from tens of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds, and the ABA are sure there will be something which will appeal to everyone from serious collectors to those who are new to book collecting. 

Visitors of all ages, who wish to buy and sell books, are expected to come from all over the British Isles, Europe and the world to visit the three-day long Fair for which admission is free of charge.

Exhibition Highlights 

Some of the exhibition highlights include an original, signed and inscribed illustration by EH Shepard which was first used for AA Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner, a first edition of The Federalist essays by Alexander Hamilton, a collection of theatre designs by Eugene Berman for Don Giovanni performed by the Metropolitan Opera and an inscribed copy of Grace and Favour by Loelia Duchess of Westminster with forward by Noel Coward. 

Sir David Attenborough 

Sir David is an Honorary member of the ABA and as he says in the introduction of this year’s Fair catalogue: 

“For me, a book brings more than the cumulative meaning of its sentences. It can seduce me by the feel of its paper and the smell of its binding. I delight in recognising whether or not the copy I hold was the work’s first appearance and treasure the misprints or bound-in advertisements that tell me whether or not that was so. And I rejoice if I can discover who once owned it and whose eyes once scanned the printed lines just as mine do.” 

Fair Sponsorship - NEW Vintage Corner 

For the second year running AbeBooks will be sponsoring the Fair as well as Vintage Corner which is new for the 2018 Fair. In Vintage Corner visitors can find out what makes a book rare, listen to talks on all aspects of book-collecting, be signposted around the Fair to the subjects of their choice and meet for Guided Tours of the Fair. 

Live Book Craft Demonstrations 

Visitors will also be able to take part in a series of hands-on workshops in fine printing, book binding and calligraphy run by craftspeople, some of which will be suitable for children. 


The Fair is being held at Battersea Evolution, Chelsea Bridge Gate, Battersea Park, London SW11 which is just over Chelsea Bridge in Battersea. 

There will be frequent shuttle buses from Sloane Square tube station and Pay & Display parking in and around Battersea Park. 

Opening Hours 

The Fair will be open on Thursday 24th May from 12pm - 8pm; on Friday 25th May from 10am-7pm; on Saturday 26th May from 10am - 5pm.