New Experience, 275 Eversholt Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • Probably quite an old experience. Now called Experience Massage (To Let), in what is still quite a run-down parade.
Hern Saddlers, 54 Middle Road, Brockham, Dorking, Surrey, 2005 • Maybe it originally said Southern Saddlers. It’s now a house with porch where the shopfront was.
Supercigs, 20 Richmond Street, Liverpool, 2003 • Now, more politically-correctly, called Supernews.
Stoniers, Williamson Square, Liverpool, 2003 • Offering “a world of glass and china” no more, this famous Liverpool store once supplied crockery to the Titanic (and indeed the whole White Star Line, whose old Liverpool HQ I featured here). Marks & Spencer purchased the premises in 2010, and by 2012 it was demolished. Plans for a futuristic M&S did not materialise, and there’s still controversy surrounding the whole square.
Brown, Muff & Co. Ltd., 4 Ivegate, Bradford, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Not a dubious “private shop” but the last remains of an oddly-named department store once known as the Harrods of the North. Founded 1814 by Elizabeth Brown, it was still expanding in the 1960s but in 1995 was shut down by its then-owner, House of Fraser. The 1870s building, designed by architects Knowles and Wilcock, is now split into units; this sign, I think, was part of a 2-day pop-up history project by the BBC in 2010, but has lingered on. There’s more history on Muff and other local department stores here and here.
Potter Bros (Holland Broadbridge), Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • The faded writing on the white wall (second picture) says: “Frankwell Works Established 1855 Potter Bros”. I know because of the image here. Astonishingly there are plans to tear down this historic industrial complex (last remnant of Shrewsbury’s river trade) and build a boutique hotel.
Syd’s (Hillary Caterers), corner of Calvert Avenue and Shoreditch High Street, Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2002 • Rus in urbe; note bespoke piping to lamp post. Founded by a Great War veteran in 1919 and still much the same today, though they’ve updated the sign (which was three years out at this point). There’s a good article about it in Spitalfields Life.
Cambridge Cafe, A23, Hooley, Coulsdon, Surrey, 2003 • Wooden slats again: I actually stopped off in the middle of a long drive (somewhere around here) to photograph this bleak slice of stockbroker-belt subtopia, more fool me.
J.A. Ibbotson, The Forge, 72 Walton Street, Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey, 2003 • Looks more like Herefordshire than Surrey. To quote in full: J.A. Ibbotson R.S.S. A.W.C.F. Smith. Farrier. Agricultural Engineer. And a very old ‘closed’ sign and phone number. The hut remains, its fading sign-board replaced by a ‘Blacksmith’ logo.
Tadcars, The Avenue, Tadworth, Surrey, 2003 • Not wishing to diss wooden huts, but this looks like the set for a horror movie (note splatterproof curtains made of M&S carrier bags). It looked even less welcoming by 2012.
Raynsford’s, 153 Battersea High Street, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Nice signwriting; still looked the same in 2012, not sure about now.
Stones, circa 22 Atlantic Road, Brixton, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2014 • 1920s-style ghost logo for a Brixton business that’s long, long gone. There’s a great picture history on the Urban75 blog here.
T.V. Video & Audio Sales & Service, 145 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Another prosaically-named emporium, looking as weary as the hulking TVs stacked inside. Recently became Isambard’s Cycles, which has retained the old-style shopfront.
Muslin, 256 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • A very specific offering. Later became Sterling de Vere, a posh-looking letting agent (albeit still in a ruinous row).
Smokers World, 344 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Fags, mags and net curtains – interesting mix. It was still there in 2012, not sure about now. Note bloke perusing small ads; these days, he’d probably be searching the internet.
Kebab Ranch Fish Bar, Salim Khan & Co Accountants, 24 Bradford Street, Walsall, West Midlands, 2005 • Colourful but confused food offering, with extra apostrophe and an built-in accountant. Now called New Kebab Ranch, with an illustration of a chef holding some unidentifiable pizza / loaf / kebab thing.
N. Davalou Carpets, 372 Edgware Road, City of Westminster, London W2, 2003 • This antique shop sold weird stuff, but I was more fascinated by the old garage gates next door, an unusual sight in central London. By 2014 it was Al-Gadeer Market, with the gates boarded over.
Avenue Garage, Next to 147b Earsdon Avenue North (side in Westwood Road), Coventry, 2013 • Another West Midlands garage with period typography (and fuel pumps). Flickr shows it recently, about to become a beauty salon apparently.
Railway Bell Hotel, Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, Worcsestershire, 2014 • Imposing pub opposite the Severn Valley Railway’s puffing locos and atmospheric rail museum in Kidderminster.
Fancy Fabric Stores, 109 Digbeth, Birmingham, 2005 • Finally from fascinating Digbeth, a glimpse of its more work-a-day side. This is still there, but they mended the sign.