By Do Do Chan
On 15 June 2023, seven members of WiPS gathered at 6 Chancery Lane, the proud home of Lok Man Rare Books Limited. Walking into the shop was like walking into the common room of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Solid oak bookshelves lined the premises, complemented with squashy bespoke armchairs and warm lights. Although there was no fireplace, any absence was well compensated by the free flow of wine and cheese pairings!
Founded in 1989, Lok Man Rare Books has earned a strong reputation for expertise, integrity, and professionalism in the rare book industry. Owner Mr. Lorence Johnston shared with us how he started the business, his trade secret on matching customers, and his hunting adventures around the world for unique and rare antique books. By the end of the evening, he had also shared his knowledge of bookbinding; a lavish binding adds to the desirability of a book as a collectible and to the pleasure it brings! As Lorence spoke, members could sense his excitement in displaying his several newly acquired treasures, including Ian Fleming’s (writer of the James Bond series) travel journal, and also his obsession with his finest hand-picked books collection on sports, games, and recreation, such as “The Art of Golf” by Sir W.G. Simpson. In the past 34 years, Lok Man has organized numerous successful auctions and private sales of rare books and manuscripts, including many important and highly sought-after works. Indeed, Lorence leaves his mark on the antiquarian book world!
So next time you pass by Tai Kwun, the former Central Police Station Compound, be sure to make a short detour to the lane behind and discover this hidden gem that is Lok Man Rare Books. Lorence promises there are no spells in place and there is no need to answer any riddle in order to enter!