The Bull Ring Tavern

The Bull Ring Tavern, 1 Digbeth, Birmingham, 2005 • A Guinness pub in Digbeth that still stands. Its functionalist 1960s styling has a certain bleak grandeur, don’t you think? No? The couple in front are gawping at Brum’s “futuristic” silver-scaled Selfridges, which can be seen reflected in the windows of the bottom picture.

The Bull Ring Tavern

The Bull Ring Tavern

The Bull Ring Tavern

The Bull Ring Tavern

The Bull Ring Tavern

Fair City Cars

Fair City Cars, 125 Digbeth Road, Birmingham, 2005 • Poignant name and home-made chauffeur logo tacked onto a handsome premises which has since been demolished, along with the adjoining Hennessey’s Bar (which opened till 4am, hence presumably the need for taxis). The sturdy iron letterbox stating “The Lightfoot Refrigeration Co Ltd” gives a clue to its original occupants – it’s next door to the still-standing Digbeth Cold Storage warehouse.

Fair City Cars

Hennessey’s Bar

Hennessey’s Bar, 123 Digbeth High Street, Birmingham, 2005 • Guinness Time stopped here when the whole block got demolished circa 2010 - there’s an article about the redevelopment here. The splendid Irish gent (bottom) was a Hennessey’s regular, and can also be seen outside Digbeth Cold Storage (the large warehouse behind), waiting for a bus. The hugely popular Hennessey’s now lives on in an even uglier building down the road at 30-31 Allison Street.

Hennessey's Bar

Hennessey's Bar

Fair City Cars

White Swan

White Swan, 217 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Look, the net curtains have got swans on! ‘Smoking allowed throughout’, proclaim stickers in the windows. “The place could do with a clean up but it’s friendly enough, once they get over the initial stranger vibe,” advises a slightly terrifying 2009 review. By then the pub’s new owners had painted it green and covered the Guinness panels with big-screen TV ads; and by 2012 the net had swanned off too.

White Swan

White Swan

White Swan

Barrier Animal Care Clinic (Thames Barrier Arms)

Barrier Animal Care Clinic (Thames Barrier Arms), Eastmoor Place, Borough of Greenwich, London SE7, 2005 • Pet care in a Noted Stout House, aka The Roebuck Arms, aka Thames Barrier Arms (clearly a re-branding excercise that failed). It still looked much the same in 2012, but the vet’s has since smartened up considerably  and even has a decent website, should your pet feel poorly near the Thames Barrier.

Barrier Animal Care Clinic (Thames Barrier Arms)

Barrier Animal Care Clinic (Thames Barrier Arms)

The Rose of Denmark

The Rose of Denmark, 78 Shirley Street, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2002 • Looks more like the Rose of Beirut, but is in fact at the head of London’s once-sleepy Silvertown peninsula just prior to massive redevelopment brought on by the DLR. It closed in 1993, before which, being a dockside pub, it opened at 6am. There’s a picture of it at its original three-storey height here; it’s now the site of a carwash.  My top photo also features in the book Formerly (right), where the pub is immortalised in poem by Tamar Yoseloff.

The Rose of Denmark

The Rose of Denmark

The Rose of Denmark

The Rose of Denmark

The Graving Dock Tavern

The Graving Dock Tavern, 353 North Woolwich Road, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2012 • A graving dock is a dry dock for working on ships’ hulls – but it’s been a long time since these docks worked at all. According to the history here there was a pub on this spot since 1867. This one was built in 1960, and Google Street View shows it still derelict in 2014.

The Graving Dock Tavern

The Graving Dock Tavern

Smithfield Cafe

Smithfield Cafe, 59 Long Lane, Smithfield, City of London, EC1, 2004 • 24-hour pit-stop for Smithfield’s traders and, more recently, hipsters. I think it’s still there, though the area is changing swiftly. “Stepping into the cafe is like walking back in time to the Great Depression,” says Yelp, while Tripadvisor puts it in the top 35% of London restaurants (that’s #6,031 of 17,213).

Smithfield Cafe

Smithfield Cafe

Catering Meats (Smithfield)

Catering Meats (Smithfield), 308 London Central Markets, Smithfield, Charterhouse Street, London EC1, City of London, 2004 • A more utilitarian but no less period Smithfied frontage than yesterday’s. This one’s still there set in Smithfield aspic, as planning disputes rage on re knocking down or retaining this fantastic old London meat market. Currently, it looks like the retainers may just have won.

Catering Meats (Smithfield)

Edmund Martin Ltd

Edmund Martin Ltd, 3 Lindsey Street, Smithfield, City of London, EC1, 2004 • Sigh, you don’t see many tripe dressers around these days. It’s now a giant hole in the ground surrounded by hoardings, having been knocked down in 2010, officially as part of the eastern ticket hall for Farringdon Crossrail, but probably just for development greed. As the wider shot below shows, it had a weird ricketty hut on the roof and was handily close to a loo.

Edmund Martin Ltd

Edmund Martin Ltd

N.H. Pearson,

N.H. Pearson, 75 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Now there’s character: a comma at the end of its name, and brief technical notes in the minimalist window display. Norman’s business didn’t make its centenary: there’s a picture of it closed in 2013 here  and a well-researched history here, which says “in the right light you can determine that the N. H. has been painted over a previous H. J. (Harold) – his father”.

N.H. Pearson,

N.H. Pearson,

Footfall, Seconds Ahead

Footfall, Seconds Ahead, 16 & 12a Cross Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • Footfall is an organisation that creatively re-occupies defunct shops; Seconds Ahead is a vintage clothes store, which may also be defunct. This and yesterday’s Sports Direct are at the back of the town’s Old Regal Cinema, which a local designer wants to convert to a happening arts venue – something this handsome but fraying town could surely use.

Footfall, Seconds Ahead

Burton (Antique Warehouse)

Burton (Antique Warehouse), 9-14 Depford Broadway, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • This grille, which I spotted at ground level,  alerted me to photograph the shop above it, but if I’d stepped back I’d have seen the whole building was magnificent. By 2012, the neatly-reworded cartouches were covered and the building empty. For more on Burton’s architecture see this article on the Newark Branch, and the National Archives has a good general history.

Burton (Antique Warehouse)

Burton (Antique Warehouse)

Burton (Antique Warehouse)

Burton (Abergavenny)

Burton, 16-17 High Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, 2014 • A classic Burton that’s still in use, albeit somewhat grimy and with inferior modern logo tacked on. The company’s founder Montague Burton (born Moshe Osinsky in Lithuania) had 333 shops by 1933, and all were elegant buildings which attempted to evoke a gentlemen’s club. Some even housed billiard halls or dancing schools, and all are still recognisable today – there’s a Flickr group here

Burton (Abergavenny)

Burton (Abergavenny)

Burton (Abergavenny)

Burton (Abergavenny)

Burton (Royal Victoria Place)

Burton, Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, circa 29 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 2014 • According to the article here the local council refused permission to demolish this frontage and made the developer take it down and rebuild it. I bet the ground floor facade was beautiful when intact – indeed, it may still be lurking beneath the boxy shopping centre entrance.

Burton (Royal Victoria Place)

R. Jackson & Sons

R. Jackson & Sons, 20 Slater Street, Liverpool, 2014 • Art materials shop that’s been at various premises in Slater Street since 1866. Looks like a newer sign got taken off; in fact the whole thing looks rather closed down, though the fact that they have a regularly-updated website suggests it’s still operational. 

R. Jackson & Sons

Picart Gallery

Picart Gallery, 27 The Old High Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Spotted during Folkestone’s first art Triennial, when the town seemed to have a programme of revealing the original signs on disused and creatively re-let shops. Nice for me, but a slightly downbeat effect en masse.

Picart Gallery