One of the great things about films that you use real world locations in their production is that the movie becomes a kind of time capsule for those places. We can see glimpses of 1920s Los Angeles in the works of the great silent comedies. The crumbling docks of 1950 New Orleans are immortalized in Elia Kazan’s noir classic Panic In The Streets while the late 1970s urban decay of New York City and Chicago are preserved in Taxi Driver and The Blues Brothers.
Another location that can now be visited only in the movies is the Travel Bookshop, the bookstore that serves as a central location in the 1999 romantic comedy Notting Hill. It was here that Julia Robert’s movie star character first meets bookseller Hugh Grant and where she begs his forgiveness towards the end of the film with the famous line “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.”
The shop was located on Portobello Road in the section of London from which the movie takes its name.
But despite having a high profile “role” in a popular film to help attract customers and tourists, the shop’s doors closed this past August after 32 years in business. The news comes from a story on Vanity Fair on the decline of independent booksellers in England, where retailers seem to be having as bad a time of it as their States-side counterparts.
The shop was apparently a victim of falling sales due to the bad economy and high rent.