Williams Brothers of Sheffield (Williams Fasteners), Green Lane and Dun Fields, Kelham Island, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010
• After closing in 1997, this works became popular with urban explorers, who reported a plethora of cupboards. Established in 1870, the firm still exists on the outskirts of Sheffield, though it parted ways with the Williams family in 2005.
White Star Cafe, Harland & Wolff Ltd Shipbuilding and Engineering Works, circa 56 Regent Road, Liverpool L3, 2008
• Transport cafe in former Liverpool HQ of the firm that built the Titanic; it sold a eponymous breakfast, and was often visited by nostalgic former workers. The cafe closed in 2013, so the building could be demolished to make way for a container depot – the full shocking story is here.
The Black Horse, 257 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 2014
• First licenced to sell beer in 1843, this ivy-capped wreck was once (reputedly) a major smuggling inn. By 1988 it was The Black Horse Antiques, as shown here (see the “Gallery” page, and note old horse plaque above door which is now hidden by foliage). The premises currently has a planning application and a digger in the back yard, so is doubtless due to be tarted up.
Dreamland, Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent, 2014
• I couldn’t leave Margate without photographing this famed old amusement park, which was nearly destroyed by arson in 2008. It’s currently shuttered, but is now subject of a serious restoration project, so hopefully the inside with its historic wooden switchback will be open again one day.
Marina Cafe, 24 Marine Drive, Margate, Kent, 2014
• Every seaside town needs a Marina Cafe. The orange lighting is courtesy of Margate’s beautiful sunsets (as better immortalised by one-time local artist JMW Turner).
H.B. Smith, 28-30 King Street, Margate, Kent, 2014
• This used to be the dowdy Ye Old Town Launderette (featured here), but now has the original “Tailor and Breeches Maker” sign revealed – maybe the channeled letters were the backing of a gilded glass sign.
Boss, 4 Criterion Buildongs, Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, 2002
• Looked for the chop in 2002 but is still there, now with a new sign but retaining those nice old windows (which so often get replaced with flat plate glass).
The Walton Road Garage, 34 Walton Road, East Molesey, Surrey, 2002
• Part of a big old garage complex with a logo that looks like it dates from the 1920s, and happily still there.
D.R. Warehouse Ltd, Crowngate House, 60-64 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham, 2013
• One of many magnificent Jewellery Quarter buildings, a grade II listed ex-factory by Dunn, Dallas & Lloyd circa 1912. Currently houses a knitwear merchant, but I couldn’t find out what it originally made. The new shopfronts certainly un-enhance it; apparently it looks best from Well Street. There’s some scanty info here and a hard-to-read article about it and nine other great Brum buildings here.
Thistle Do Nicely, 97 High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2012
• Closing down sale for the punningest souvenir emporium on the tourist-clogged rat-run of tuneless bagpipes and tartan tat that is Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Later replaced by Whisky & Wine.
Parkers, 13 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002
• None of those namby-pamby filter tips for the salty seadogs of Folkestone. The gallery next door shows which way the wind was blowing; Parkers, which I think used to be a confectioner or small grocer, is now a craft jewellery gallery (and they don’t dispay their wares in a cigarette machine).
Brian Mellor Fishing Tackle, 30-32 Brunswick Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 2010
• Now has a flashy new sign with a leaping fish, though I prefer this wonky stick man, with his fishing rod that’s caught a tiddler. Looks like they don’t declutter much upstairs.
Frederick Pratt & Son, 32 Brighton Road, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, 2002
• Good old-fashioned name, but now even the car in front is knackered. Founded 1948 and shuttered 2003, it used to be a well-known bike shop which manufactured its own frames – there are articles about it here and here. It’s now a kebab shop.
Wozencroft, 59 Osmaston Road, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010
• Lovely old script for Wozencroft, an Anglo Saxon name associated with Woolstencroft in Cheshire. Established in 1956, the shop is still there, and on Google Street View you can even go inside it to admire the nice mid-century wood panelling.
Hawkes, 99b High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004
• High quality 1960s frontage, complete with a tiled hawk sign on the floor (just visible) and some French onions outside. Once the largest store on Poole High Street, Hawkes the Bootmaker was founded 1847 and closed for good in 2005, with its original fittings ending up in the local museum. There’s some more info here, an oral history by the ex-manageress here, and a blog about historic Poole High Street here.
Wicker Pharmacy, 55-59 Wicker, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010
• More 1960s marble on a building which started life as a Midland Bank. The pharmacy, founded by a consortium of local chemists in 1952 and open every day since, moved into the bank in 2004 due to a road replacing their old premises – there’s a history here.
H. Stain Ltd, 207 Victoria Street, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004
• What a pity marble shopfronts like this went out of fashion; happily this magnificent 1960s-style jewellers lives on still, just round the corner from yesterday’s sadder example.