A decline in crimeBMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39468.735648.47 (Published 24 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:221
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
What is the most characteristic British institution? The National Health Service, perhaps? No: it is the charity shop.
In no country in the world are there so many charity shops as in Great Britain. Is it because the British are so charitable? I leave it to others, more learned in political economy than I, to decide why we should have so many charity shops; suffice it to say that I rarely pass such a shop without glancing at the books for sale in them, for often, among the ranks of trashy paperback novels, is one book worth having.
Last week, for example, I went into a charity shop—one of many—in a dismal little town in Gloucestershire (also …