1897 - 1990s
George Orwell's favourite bookshop in Rangoon
room United Kingdom
“Oh the joy of those Rangoon trips. The visit to Smart & Mookderdum's bookshop for the new novels out from England..." - George Orwell
The old Smart & Mookderdum bookshop on Sule Pagoda Road was a really special place. It was the city's preeminent English-language bookshop and a favourite of George Orwell (Eric Blair) as well as several generations of Burmese including U Aung San, U Thant, and U Nu. Smart & Mookerdum was first established in 1897 in the Sofaer building (at the corner of Merchant and Phayre), then moved to Barr Street before finding its final home on Sule Pagoda Road near the corner of Montgomery Street (where the Shangri-la is now). It was nationalized in the 1960s and went downhill soon afterward. The building itself was destroyed in the 1990s. A future downtown Yangon, cleaner and greener, with excellent bookshops, would be a very nice thing.
Photo credit: The Smart & Mookerdum Collection
Explore more in British Burma (1826-1942)