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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.

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

Camden £1 Shop

Camden £1 Shop, 35 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • Rush hour for £1 items, including toilettries and stationeries. Currently an ice cream-cum-phone shop.
Camden £1 Shop

Camera Care

Camera Care, 20 Hanway Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2005 • The number’s so old it’s got a burglar alarm stuck over it. Part of a hippyish enclave behind Oxford Street […]
Camera Care

Sunshine Cafe

Sunshine Cafe, 36 Hanway Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2003 • Cheerful back alley jerk joint hindered by London downpour. Later became Vinyl Bar, and developers knocked the other side […]
Sunshine Cafe

Biman

Biman, 49 Counduit Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2016 • A Mayfair airline office that’s still there, with classic 1960s-style sign – they’ve even got the regulation model plane.
Biman

Gulf Air

Gulf Air, 10 Albemarle Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2004 • Another ex-airline office dating from the pre-mega-bling era of Mayfair. By 2015 this one was a Paul Smith menswear shop.
Gulf Air

Olympic Airways

Olympic Airways, 11 Counduit Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2015 • Current state of a once-proud airline office, with classic plastic logo. Here it is open in 2008. There used to […]
Olympic Airways

Cafe Olympic

Cafe Olympic, 156 The Grove, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Pallid colours on their way out. It’s now Babylon Kebabs, but in 2014 you can see an […]
Cafe Olympic

Vinces Snack Bar

Vinces Snack Bar, 61 Red Lion Street, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2003 • Genuinely classic cafe, just crying out for an apostrophe. Apparently the period formica interior was ripped out […]
Vinces Snack Bar

Sima Tandoori

Sima Tandoori, 295 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • I’d love to know what the statue and neon figures represent – Hindu deities or just people offering greetings? By 2008 all […]
Sima Tandoori

Hel’s Kitchen

Hel’s Kitchen, Anchor Bay Industrial Estate, Manor Road, Erith, Kent, 2014 • Surely all food is hot in Hell? (Although it’s not that hellish, it’s got a food hygiene rating of […]
Hel’s Kitchen

Yes Win No Fee

Yes Win No Fee, 451-3 North Circular Road, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2014 • Hard-to-parse name for a dispiriting modern service. The heavily armoured door is a relic of previous occupant National […]
Yes Win No Fee

Avis Windscreens

Avis Windscreens, 1 Creekside, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • DIY hand-painted gate on the garage which hosted (and covered up) yesterday’s old Medina sign. It is now Greenwich MOT Centre, with […]
Avis Windscreens

Medina

Medina, 1 Creekside, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • A 1910s-looking typeface, advertising who knows what – but I’d guess auto related, as this is a long-standing garage site. […]
Medina

L. Lambert

L. Lambert, 23-25 Hoxton Street, Borough of Hackney, London N1, 2002 (top), 2011 (bottom) • Ex-timber merchant with ‘JFB 1892’ etched into the concrete brackets. By 2002 it was closed down, […]
L. Lambert

Bag Shop

Bag Shop, Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 2002 • Idiosyncratic and somewhat hippyish hand-made signs from the Isle of Wight – even the door gets labelled. Unusually I didn’t […]
Bag Shop

Whirlpool

Whirlpool, 124 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Still there but with ‘modern’ logo, boo hoo.  
Whirlpool

Tikis Hairdressers

Tikis Hairdressers, 49 Old Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • Wibbly hand-drawn sunbed text on local hair salon, next to yesterday’s Spotless cleaners. By 2015 it was […]
Tikis Hairdressers

Spotless

Spotless, 51 Old Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 (top), 2007 • Classic cleaner’s name in eccentric acrylic lettering. A year later it had a new look, although […]
Spotless

The Take-Away Bar

The Take-Away Bar, 84 Southwark Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Old-fashioned name in a grim 1960s block just behind Tate Modern, dating from the era when it was a backwater power station. […]
The Take-Away Bar

Tasty Café

Tasty Café, 72 St John Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Surely the greatest generic name of them all. Features somewhat unenthusiastically on Classic Cafes, while Food Urchin describes […]
Tasty Café

Thames Electronics

Thames Electronics, 244 Battersea Bridge Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Imposing haven of now-obsolete tech which by 2012 had modernised into a computer repairer, but was closed by 2015.
Thames Electronics

Cappelli

Cappelli, 31 Leg Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • Delicate art nouveau tiles in old-fangled Oswestry – note also swirly mosaic step hidden beneath doormat. Perhaps it was once a dairy or grocer; […]
Cappelli

The Swan Inn

The Swan Inn, Old Orchard, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Pub sited next to the famous Poole Pottery, who supplied the tiles in 1906. Locals mounted a fight against demolition a century later; the pub […]
The Swan Inn

Glenn’s Barbers

Glenn’s Barbers, 9 St John’s Road, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Great DIY lettering on this traditional red-and-white barber. It was still the same in 2014, except the decaying cafe sign […]
Glenn’s Barbers

Caffyns

Caffyns, Corner of King Street and Little King Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • A round-towered deco garage with mossy tiled clock eternally stuck at noon. Built by two local businessmen in 1935, this development […]
Caffyns

R.M.V. Double Glazing

R.M.V. Double Glazing, 77/78 Frederick Place, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • Ostensibly a fantastically grim and unpromising building, but there’s a bit of Edwardian lettering peeping through the […]
R.M.V. Double Glazing

Metro Test

Metro Test, 182 Hercules Road, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2006 • Beautiful hand-lettered sign (note alternating direction of shadows) on railway arch MOT centre, now demolished to create smart […]
Metro Test

The Silver Sixpence

The Silver Sixpence, 12 Catford Hill, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Whimsical name for a ramshackle door-stripper that looks pieced together from scrap. By 2015 it was even more derelict.
The Silver Sixpence

J.J. Lyons

J.J. Lyons, 1a Central Parade, Western Avenue, Perivale, Borough of Ealing, London UB6, 2006 • Tradition amidst grime at the foot of a shabby walkway over a thundering trunk road. Now houses the unfortunately-named Isis hair […]
J.J. Lyons

Isats

Isats, 309 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2015 • Decaying but still shiny black ‘Brilliant’-style Vitrolite cladding on what may once have been a smart shop, but now houses Isats, […]
Isats

Jimmy’s Cafe

Jimmy’s Cafe, 56 Townmead Road, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London SW6, 2003 • Traditional corner caff opposite a crumbling riverside warehouse, which both hung on (albeit closed down) until 2008 at […]
Jimmy’s Cafe

Harringtons

Harringtons, 5 Waterloo Road, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • Local baker whose brown 1970s frontage matches the handsome parade. It had gone by 2009 (as had a Leatherhead branch) and now houses a […]
Harringtons

Sean Brennan Racing

Sean Brennan Racing, 8 New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Stylishly symmetrical windows from the motherlode of superannuation that is Worthing. Creepy circus posters seem to denote closed businesses (circuses […]
Sean Brennan Racing

Marks Cleaning

Marks Cleaning, 15-16 New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Really not a great name for a cleaner, especially with no apostrophe. Later housed a photographer,  then a chartered accountant.
Marks Cleaning

Reg the Veg

Reg the Veg, 6 Boyce’s Avenue, Clifton, Bristol, 2015 • Cute veg vendor in posh Clifton Village. Has a fine display when open for business.
Reg the Veg

Posies

Posies, 1a Union Road,Clapham North, Borough of Lambeth,  London SW4, 2005 • Functional ex-florist; despite its pretty name, a clinical facade giving equal billing to weddings and funerals isn’t very enticing. Later became a hairdresser.
Posies

Valerie Florists

Valerie Florists, 77 High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, 2010 • Traditional corner florist established over 40 years, boasting a decayed painting of a bouquet. It was still open in 2011, but is now a Premier Food […]
Valerie Florists

Nursery Thyme, Rabbit

Nursery Thyme, Rabbit, 2 Bridge Street, Sunderland, 2013 • Unusual herby wordplay for a kids’ shop. Note sign for Rabbit (the upside-down R right of the centre window), an early mobile network that […]
Nursery Thyme, Rabbit

Rose-anne

Rose-anne, 95 High Street, Rye, East Sussex, 2015 • Rye is full of faux retro shops, but here’s a real one. It was once a genteel ladies’ outfitter, now it’s finis, […]
Rose-anne
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