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Welcome to Shopfront Elegy, which has a new image added every other day. Menus are at the bottom; click on a tag – net curtains, arches or whatever – and you’ll get a grid of images on that topic. To see all places and years covered, use the drop-down category menu. Click any image for the full post plus comments etc.

H. Samuel (Manchester)

H. Samuel (Manchester), 7-7A upper Mall, Arndale Centre, High Street, Manchester, 2009 • Tiled 1970s bunker with missing letter – Manchester’s famous Arndale Centre, whose specially-commissioned beige ceramic facade was likened by Bill Bryson […]
H. Samuel (Manchester)

Familywear

Familywear, 10 Station Road, Redhill, Surrey, 1981 • A 1950s-looking shop closed down by the 1980s. And that’s the last ancient photo for now.
Familywear

Causette

Causette, circa Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, 1981 • Faded 1960s-style cafe facade rocking Profil font, and doubtless offering unappetising old-school espresso. I don’t know what’s there now, but it was […]
Causette

Cyber Café

Cyber Café, Unit 1, New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 1999 • Hand-painted digital type meets 1960s mosaic on this sad closed down internet cafe. By 2015 the unit housed Attic Solutions, […]
Cyber Café

Empire Milk Bar

Empire Milk Bar, Picadilly Circus Tube Station, City of Westminster, London W1, 1988 • True fact – there was a 1930s-style milk bar operational in the orange-columned depths of Piccadilly Circus tube […]
Empire Milk Bar

Olympia Dining Rooms

Olympia Dining Rooms, 5-6 Wincott Parade, Kennington Road, Kennington, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 1988 • An original ‘Dining Rooms’ photographed just as it was closing down. Who knew that […]
Olympia Dining Rooms

Woo Lot

Woo Lot, 592 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of WalthamForest, London E10, 2016 • Great name, great (literally) sign.
Woo Lot

Greggs (Leyton)

Greggs (Leyton), 857 High Road, Leyton, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E10, 2016 • I went all the way to Leyton to photograph this 1930s Greggs and it was closed! […]
Greggs (Leyton)

Floorcraft

Floorcraft, 20a Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • DIY sign-painting meets mini-grandeur. Now houses Oxford Street Books.
Floorcraft

Amazon Hair

Amazon Hair, 92 Fowler Street, South Shields, South Tyneside, 2013 • A hair-cutter who’s cut out their window. Brilliant! It’s still there but now painted brown and white. Hope the eponymous online book-selling […]
Amazon Hair

Famished Cafe

Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.  
Famished Cafe

Jacobean Corsetry

Jacobean Corsetry, 53 Virginia Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1, Scotland, 2010 • Giant golden ghost sign from a corsetry firm founded in 1946, whose wares have featured in Jack Vettriano paintings. Sales […]
Jacobean Corsetry

D’Posh

D’Posh, 103 Strand, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2011 • V posh Savoy surroundings for D’Posh clothes shop, which later became Laird Hatters.
D’Posh

G. Smith & Sons

G. Smith & Sons, 74 Charing Cross Road, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2011 • I thought this ancient snuff specialist would always be there, but it closed unceremoniously in 2011 with […]
G. Smith & Sons

Tony’s Hemp Corner

Tonys Hemp Corner, 10 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2010 • Creepy flower-child fascia for controversial cannabis cafe whose proprietor Tony Taylor supplied ‘medicinal’ marijuana to nearly 300 […]
Tony’s Hemp Corner

Johns the Baker

Johns the Baker, 5 Badcox, Frome, Somerset, 2008 • Ghost sign from the days when ‘golden brown’ didn’t mean heroin. The Hovis sign had gone by 2011, when it was still […]
Johns the Baker

The Love Shack

The Love Shack, corner of Old Hall Street and Goodson Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 2010 • A touch of gaudy grandeur amidst modernist monoliths in much-maligned Stoke, currently bidding to be the […]
The Love Shack

Tan’s Cafe

Tan’s Cafe, 3 Amersham Vale, New Cross, Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, 2010 • Gaudy mini-kingdom of breakfast opposite New Cross Station. Possibly the only greasy spoon with a loyalty […]
Tan’s Cafe

Kam Garden

Kam Garden, 14 Bouverie Road West, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Sweet green Chinese-style rooflet which stayed even after it went Indian as Copper and Spices.
Kam Garden

Pizza King

Pizza King, 115 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Incongruous in its grand portal despite the regal name. Now called Master Kebab.
Pizza King

Jan & Charlie’s

Jan & Charlie’s, 59 Old High Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • End of days for an old-school fishmonger. Ironically it looks more old-fashioned these days, as Frizbee clothing; the entire frontage […]
Jan & Charlie’s

Kat-Man-Do

Kat-Man-Do, 2 South Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Weirdly-named ex-pub/club which has since been knocked down and replaced with flats.
Kat-Man-Do

Catford Mews

Catford Mews, Winslade Way, off Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Feline punning within the Catford Centre, featured yesterday. Catford Mews is an indoor market, as described in the […]
Catford Mews

Catford Centre

Catford Centre, Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Famous creepy cat, fronting brutalist mall the Catford Centre, developed by Owen Luder in 1974. Apparently it’s due for […]
Catford Centre

Jemerton Ltd

Jemerton Ltd, 68 Paul Street, Borough of Hackney, London EC2, 2008 • Picturesque decay plus cat graffiti, now turned into – what else – posh offices. A company search says Jemerton was […]
Jemerton Ltd

H. Tidiman

H. Tidiman, 57 Broadway Market, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2006 • Part of Ben ‘Eine‘ Flynn’s original 2005-6 shop shutter graffiti alphabet, in this case reading B for Butcher. You […]
H. Tidiman

Subway (Angel)

Subway, 69 Chapel Market, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • Boring fast food chain, lovely old door window. Actually I like the Subway logo, it’s an exuberant piece […]
Subway (Angel)

Sew Fantastic!, Tintype

Sew Fantastic!, Tintype, 107 Essex Road, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 and 2016 • Grubby but grand Sew Fantastic (top pic) is now scrubbed clean as Tintype art gallery (second pic). The punters […]
Sew Fantastic!, Tintype

S. Cohen

S. Cohen, 2 White Conduit Street, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • No name for the second-hand shop, but the original costumier’s facade is still proudly showing.
S. Cohen

W. Martyn

W. Martyn, 135 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Established in 1897 and still in the Martyn family, this is known as the Fortnum […]
W. Martyn

Broadway Hair Stylist

Broadway Hair Stylist, 344 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • A proper early 1960s hair stylist’s fascia, complete with modernist mosaic – very rare these days. […]
Broadway Hair Stylist

New Happy Swan

New Happy Swan, 120 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Old happy paint job in Muswell Hill’s distinctive St James’s Parade, by Edwardian developer James […]
New Happy Swan

Hotel Splendide

Hotel Splendide, 25 Mornington Crescent, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • You couldn’t make this up. But in fact it was made up, because according to the Shady Old Lady […]
Hotel Splendide

Sai News

Sai News, 138 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Nameless ex-newsie with painterly pink palimpsest wall and elegant stroller who looks like he’s posing for a cavalier […]
Sai News

Allworthy Bros

Allworthy Bros, 13, 15 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • “Money advanced on pictures, bronzes, violins &c &c” says this wonderful old pawnbroker’s sign above a Dickensian-looking yard […]
Allworthy Bros

Chapel Furnitures

Chapel Furnitures, 4 Browning Street, Walworth, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Giant hand sign on charming chapel for the unusually-pluralised Chapel Furnitures (maybe the singular version’s web domain had […]
Chapel Furnitures

Best Wishes

Best Wishes, 13 Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Ex-gift shop, now ex-charity shop, whose ghost sign has – like yesterday’s shop – a rather Edwardian feel. Note crowns on door handle […]
Best Wishes

www uk

www uk, 280 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • I like the road number on the brackets. Whatever the www was, they didn’t want you to […]
www uk

Eine F

Eine F, Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • One of the original batch of shop shutter letters by Ben Eine, who later had a work […]
Eine F

The Regent

The Regent, 331 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Grand doorway somewhat let down by plastic canopy. Aptly, it’s flanked by a door shop. […]
The Regent

Roletta Ltd

Roletta Ltd, King Edward Hall, 335-337 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Rosy Art Nouveau transom lights in a rather Charles Rennie Mackintosh style, […]
Roletta Ltd

376

376, 376 Forest Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Only the net curtains remain in this traditional green shop, which I’d guess was once a cafe. […]
376

M.J. Davies

M.J. Davies, 10 New King Street, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Stripey ghost sign for what may have been a dairy (they often had Welsh names). Looks […]
M.J. Davies

Market Sweet Stores

Market Sweet Stores, 22 Wilcox Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW8, 2004 • Ghost sign for a sweet shop revealed in a traditional Portuguese enclave near Vauxhall. Now Ourivesaria Portugal, a jeweller.
Market Sweet Stores

HSBC (Hockley)

HSBC (Hockley), 168 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B18, 2005 • Lovely little bank with Victorian sculpture above the door, which is still the same now. One source says it dates from 1892 […]
HSBC (Hockley)

Jedediah Strutt

Jedediah Strutt shop, corner of Exchange Street and St Peters Street, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Empty Grade II listed former Boots building (info here) with statues of four notable locals. […]
Jedediah Strutt

Dawn Crystal

Dawn Crystal, 3 HighStreet, Amblecote, Stourbridge, West Midlands, 2016 • Cute old shop opposite the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge, a West Midlands town that was once the world centre of the cut glass […]
Dawn Crystal

RJ’s Barbers

RJ’s Barbers, 28 Hockley Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingam B18, 2005 • Traditional barber, back in 1 hour… and he’s still there, with good reviews on Google.
RJ’s Barbers

Repos

Repos, arch next to 26a Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5, 2014 • Fragment of beautiful signwriting revealed on palimpsest gate under imposing railway viaduct.
Repos

Tyres Tyres (FWR)

Tyres Tyres (FWR), 330 Kennington Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Unusual cross-shaped ghost sign for tyres, situated above motorcycle parts shop FWR. The sign had disappeared by 2008.
Tyres Tyres (FWR)

Green boarded shop

Green boarded shop, 294-292 Kennington Park Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Boarded-up shop, a symphony in greens. Now Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, part of Kennington’s ever-growing nest of […]
Green boarded shop

Gray and Lowe

Gray and Lowe, 91 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Amazing giant sign with random letter spacing. Their “blog-site” says they’ve been going […]
Gray and Lowe

Vivian Patisserie

Vivian Patisserie, 62 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Its patisserie identity seems to predate the Chinese cafe within. Back in 2008 it was […]
Vivian Patisserie

Bransdon (CB News)

Bransdon (CB News), 86 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Identikit newsagent-cum-homeless shelter retaining ghost sign for a previous occupant; you can see […]
Bransdon (CB News)

Shepherd and Flock

Shepherd and Flock, 84 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Built 1869, a traditional Irish sports pub hanging on in an area popular with […]
Shepherd and Flock

S.G. Skinner

S.G. Skinner, 14 Church Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, 2008 • No longer offering high class footwear repairs, this appears to be a charity shop dedicated to saving neolithic trackway the Rotherwas Ribbon. By […]
S.G. Skinner

W.G. Miller

W.G. Miller, 93-95 Essex Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 • The kind of funeral parlour that does horse-drawn hearses. This handsome black facade would have been traditional even when […]
W.G. Miller

Dartmouth Boating Centre

Dartmouth Boating Centre, 6S Embankment, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Classic old-school ‘flying clothes’ display and almost-but-not-quite Profil font. The letters continued falling off, and by 2015 it was called Artmouth Boating […]
Dartmouth Boating Centre

Stuarts

Stuarts, 75 High Street Whitstable, Kent, 2002 (top) and 85 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent 2004 (bottom) • Flowery plastic branding carried all the way through their decor. The Whitstable branch […]
Stuarts

Grants

Grants, 32 Earlsdon Sreet, Coventry, Warwickshire, 2013 • Minimalistic plastic elegance for this 1960s-style hairdressing facade, still there in 2015.
Grants

Gio’s Kitchen

Gio’s Kitchen, 79 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2004 • The windows look like a Sarah Lucas artwork and the flag couldn’t save it. One of many short-lived cafes on this […]
Gio’s Kitchen

Giovanni’s Room

Giovanni’s Room Wine Bar, 42 Theobalds Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Faded 1970s chalet chic with name like a dodgy erotic novel – love the standalone door awning. I’ve already published its […]
Giovanni’s Room

Coe Electrical

Coe Electrical, 132 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Looks like the plug was pulled decades ago on this old-style electrical shop.  By 2015 it was unrecognisable as Sew Fabric.
Coe Electrical

Fenhams

Fenhams, 119 and 11c Grainger Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2005 • Beautiful 1960s sign for this electonics stall – not sure if it’s there any more.
Fenhams

John Turnbull

John Turnbull, 483 Anlaby Road, Kingston upon Hull, 2005 • Bullish old newsie with eponymous plastic illustration, seen from bus. Later became Babylon Supermarket.
John Turnbull

Book’s

Book’s, 230 High Street, Gateshead, Tyneside, 2005 • Not a bookshop or a typo, it’s a fashion shop run by someone named Book (and shot in the dark and rain). I […]
Book’s

Ian Munro

Ian Munro, 10 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Marble and script for a men’s outfitter founded in 1956. This would have been an expensive shopfront in its day; the labyrinthine […]
Ian Munro