SHOPFRONT ELEGY: SAMPLER A themed compendium of vintage UK shop facades By Vici MacDonald / Foreword by Alan Dein • £14.95 from Amazon UK • $19.95 from Amazon USA • 96pp / Full colour […]
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.
Task 2000, 152 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Strange name for a clothes sweatshop – and one bound to date, despite the vast confident […]
Riddicks (and Racks), 22 Fowler Street, South Shields, South Tyneside NE33, 2013 • Grand local shoe shop founded in 1893, closed in 2014 – just one of several imposing premises in […]
Post Office (Adam’s Gift and Pound Shop), 163 Camberwell New […]
Post Office S.S., 8 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2004 • Mars Bars and bright graffiti couldn’t save it; postal duties had ceased by 2012 and it is […]
Post Shop, 115a Stoke Newington Road, Borough of Hackney, London N16, 2002 • Not the most reassuring-looking of post offices. It’s now been closed for a very long time and […]
Post Office (Southwark Park Road), 200 Southwark Park Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2002 • More non-standard postie branding. By 2017 it had become a fancy dress shop.
Post Office (Ashbourne Parade), 4 Ashbourne Parade, Borough of Ealing, London W5, 2006 • Randomly-branded postie with 1960s-looking logo in Franklin Gothic. Amazingly it’s still a post office, in the […]
South Street Post Office (Dorking), 45 South Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2006 • From the days when posties assumed they’d be there for so long that they glazed their name into […]
Cheap Fashion, 60 West Street, Bristol BS2, 2013 • Unequivocal if unglamorous branding. By 2017 it had become a minimart.
Sharpes Wholesale Ltd., 97 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Wig shop sign painted with a delicate hand, similar to many other local shops, such as […]
The Egg Shop, 49 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Long-standing egg emporium with far-flung full stop, probably lettered by yesterday’s sign painter. It finally disappeared […]
J.C. Smith, 63 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2003 • Beautiful hand lettered sign matched by calligraphic graffiti tag. The sign was still there in 2017, but […]
Brighton Motor Factors Ltd (& Hove), 74 St George’s Road, Brighton, East Sussex, 2010 • Love the way they squeezed a tiny afterthought “& Hove” at the bottom of their […]
Shepherd, Betterton Street, Covent Garden, Borough of Camden, London WC2, 2002 • No parking because there’s a load of sheep behind the door, perhaps. By 2017 it had become the […]
Swedish Strip, 24 Brewer Street, Soho, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Not a pine emporium but a peep show, now a dying genre in Soho. By 2017 it […]
Wash Spin Dry, 207 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Open very late with 60s styling. It still looked much the same in 2017, though renamed Hi […]
Welcome Shoes, 89 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Price range £2 to £5, very welcome. Nevertheless by 2017 it had become Adebayo beauty salon.
Brighton Foam (The Red Lion), Vine Street, Brighton, East Sussex, 2004 • Just what you need at the seaside, a foam shop. It soon got the chop and by 2017 […]
West Indian & Continental Grocers, 161 Battersea High Street, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Looks like their font was too big for their signboard…
Ice Cream Kiosk, Promenade, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, 2003 • Ah, the sunny south coast seaside (not).
South Bank Cards, 85 Lower Marsh. Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2002, 2015 • Colourful street market card shop (green in 2002 and blue in 2015, bottom). By 2017 it […]
Cardshops, 43 Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2001, 2003 • Shabby souvenir shop in prime West End, pictured in 2001 and 2003 (bottom). By 2017 it had become […]
Wiseman (The Card Shop), 40 Seaside, Eastbourne, East Sussex, 2015 • Nice old step logo, but I can’t find any info about what the shop sold. The arcade windows suggest […]
Sucklings, 15 Park Road, Norbiton, Borough of Kingston upon Thames, London KT2, 2002 • Best name ever, albeit more suited to a butcher than a baker. Even better, they had […]
Happy Swan, 39 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Borough of Croydon, London, 2001 • Classic plastic sign and festive plant hierarchy in window. Still exactly the same in 2017 (minus Christmas […]
Invisible Menders of Knightsbridge, 161 Gloucester Road, Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London SW7, 2015 • Mosaic madness in poshville. Not sure what’s going on inside, but it’s still a […]
Shortlands, 34 High Street, Banstead, Surrey, 2001 • Old-school shoe shop rationing the Christmas lights. Still exists 2017, and also has a branch in Cobham. The 1970s logo has been “modernised” […]
Marcel, 31 Chipstead Valley Road, Coulsdon, Borough of Croydon, London CR5, 2001 • Plucky festive cheer within peeling facade. Looks like a restaurant but, as its name suggests, is a […]
EuroBeuro, 175 High Street, Banstead, Surrey, 2001 • Santa wants his country back.
R.P. Metal Co. Ltd., 32 Station Road, Belmont, Sutton, Surrey, 2001 • Industrial festive cheer, part 3.
Taylor’s, 21 High Street, Merstham, Surrey, 2001 • Industrial festive cheer, part 2. This is a removals and storage business, which is still there.
RJS Heating, 26 Chipstead Station Parade, Chipstead, Surrey, 2001 • Industrial festive cheer, part 1.
Budget Tyres London Ltd, 338 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Gotta love the Michelin Man. Still there in 2017 (pictured 2012 here).
Rainford Hardware & DIY Supplies, 212 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • DIY sign advertising DIY shop.
Ernest Larner & Son Ltd, 117 Falcon Road, Battersea, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Got more run down, then was taken over by funeral group Dignity. They kept […]
House of Antoine, 89 Kingsland High Street, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2002 • I don’t know why, there was just something faintly disturbing about these child models.
A to Z Wedding Services, 123 Stoke Newington Road, Borough of Hackney, London N16, 2002 • Scariest wedding dance ever.
City Confectionary, 105 Shoreditch High Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2002 • Lovely quirky sign writing, with ‘confectionery’ spelled wrong on both sides.
S.H. Bargains, 2a Brookmill Road, Deptford, Borough of Greenwich, London SE8, 2002 • Nice sign writing, shame about the spelling. Became a hairdresser called Trio Style (2016), while the area […]
Cyclone, 6-8 Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • Not entirely convincing attempt at replicating a Greek temple. Later became a sports bar called Trilogy.
Dallas, 52 Battersea Park Road, Battersea, Borough of Wandsworth, LondonSW11, 2002 • Blue walker.
Frederick W. Paine, 78 Walton Road, East Molesey, Surrey, 2002 • Taken over circa 2012 by funeral group Dignity, who kept the name but covered over the blue glass hanging […]
Silvertown Motel, 1-3 Silvertown Way, Canning Town, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2002 • It looked even more depressing before they painted it blue. Long since knocked down and replace […]
Maysun Market, 869 Finchley Road, Golders Green, Borough of Barnet, London NW11, 2003 • Grimly green far east emporium.
Bensons for Beds, 79-80 Upper Mall, County Mall, Crawley, West Sussex, 2002 • New town modernism beset by pigeons (note hexagonal tiles beneath the netting).
Charles Benner & Son, 22 Brighton Road, Crawley, West Sussex, 2002 • Nice door, but I don’t think they’re doing oaths any more.
Lahoree House, Victoria House, 7 Wilton Road, Victoria, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • Slice of grungy old London in a historic head-lined building outside Victoria Station, now undergoing […]
Lazy Days, Mare Street, London Fields, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2003 • “Anything brought and sold”, and an almost aggressive approach to the grocer’s apostrophe. As an added touch […]
Spar (Battersea), 23-27 Falcon Road, Battersea, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Part of a large black marble art deco block, possibly an ex-Burtons. Later became a Tesco Express.
Peter Dicker, 3 Alma Parade, 108 Chaldon Road, Caterham, Surrey, 2001 • Final closure for a trad green greengrocer which, along with neighbour Avery Butcher, got replaced by a beauty […]
Colours Sports Club, 1a Throwley Way, Sutton, Borough of Sutton, London SM1, 2002 • Bright yet grim. Later added fake ionic pillars and rebranded as The Grand Hall.
ST Signs, 294 Grays Inn Road, Clerkenwell, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • Wonderful old school sign shop offering light boxes, neon, window etching etc. By 2012 half had […]
Worthing & District TV, 147 Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Seaside signwriting with grocer’s apostrophe. The 1959-founded TV shop became Simpson Electrical, and Setyres is still there.
Nina’s Gifts, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Rocking the Soviet kiosk look. It’s been suggested to me that this caravan-like affair is an ex-RAC edifice.
Secondhand Racers, 231 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2003 • Apparently that’s a Triumph Vitesse. By 2016 the building was not so colourful, and selling used taxi tyres.
Flakes Catering, 46 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Old geezer meets trad signwriting. Later became a Labour party office.
Eisenegger, The Plaza, 120 Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Outlet that was permanently “closing down”, and eventually did. With hindsight, the ISIS posters don’t read too […]
Alfies Antique Market, 13-25 Church St, Marylebone, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Old-fashioned haven of modernist lampshades and the like. Been there 40 years, “London’s Largest Indoor Market […]
Balti Raj, 142 Balls Pond Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Ah, the colourful confusion of London. By 2016 was the trendier-sounding Rusty Bike Kitchen.
Creations, Turnham Green Terrace, Borough of Hounslow, London W4, 2002 • There’s what looks like a Gouda cheese and half an old office chair balancing on the road sign – […]
Brodt Chemist, 30 Coombe Road, Norbiton, Borough of Kingston upon Thames, London KT2, 2002 • Closed-down pharmacy with old-school vending machine and Profil font on its empty shelving. By 2016 […]
Star Furnishing, 165-175 Stoke Newington Road, Borough of Hackney, London N16, 2002 • Mid-century signage on a vast furniture emporium that wouldn’t quite fit in my 2002 digital camera’s lens. […]
Spar Revitt, Alma Parade, 98 Chaldon Road, Caterham, Surrey, 2001 • Nice that they bothered with Christmas decorations.
Avery Butchers, Peter Dicker, 2-3 Alma Parade, 106-108 Chaldon Road, Caterham, Surrey CR3, 2001 • A shop Local campaign that clearly failed. Both parts (Avery at left & Dicker at […]
A. Simmonds, 94 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Chain of Kent jewellers with an attractive Edwardian style of logo that predates their founding around 40 years ago.
Alandra, 143 Shoreditch High Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2002 • Alandra – nice name for a grim-looking jewellery wholesaler, but it’s not there any more. By 2016 […]
Adana, 162 Grays Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2001 (top two images) & 2013. Beautiful art deco glass sign for Adana, a make of printer. It was retained […]
Fidan Kebab, St George’s Circus, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • That’s some fat kebab.
Concourse Burger Bar, Concourse House, Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Hand-drawn mixed messages on Scouse burger bar. The entire building was demolished to build new offices some time after […]
Sea Spray, 18 High Street, St Margarets Buildings, Rottingdean, East Sussex, 2004 • Classic seaside caff facade with deck chair fabric awnings and lone Scottie dog tile. In business for 67 years […]
Stockdales, 403 Stratford High Street, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Remnants of a classic Vitrolite frontage, founded 1867. By 2016 was Dar Marrakech, a Moroccan restaurant.
Late Bland (M&R Meats), 399 St John Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2002 • Tiled ghost sign on traditional butcher. By 2014 it was called Turner & George.
Central Exchange Hotel and Central Arcade, Goods Entrance, Grainger Street, Newcastle NE1, 2015 • Another grand portal to Central Arcade, featured yesterday.
Central Arcade, Grainger Street, Newcastle NE1, 2005 • Grand portal to a stunningly tiled interior.
S.&V. Knitwear, L. London & Sons, Alie Street, Shoreditch, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • Beautiful art deco-looking ghost clock on a derelict knitwear factory, which has since […]
Chattoo& Co Ltd, 176 Strand, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2003 & 2016 (bottom pic) • I always liked the specs door handle and blinds. Now closed down for redevelopment […]
Johnsons Shoes, 28 High Street, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Always like a pigeon spike.
More Shoe Upstairs, Wardour Street, Soho, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • It must have been a very big shoe…
Triplesave (Chemist) Ltd, 8 MacDonald Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Classic plastic sign for drugs.
Coin Wash, 195 East Street, Walworth, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Launderette with speed queens – wow. Now called Sussan Coin Wash, with plastic sign gone.
Launderette, Lidlington Place, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • Grimly decorative washeteria.
Star of London, Link Cars, 3 Parade, Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • For an appointment phone Mr Asha on his 01 ghost number. In 2016 […]
Wax Unlimited, 9 Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, Borough of Hackney, London N16, 2002 • Palimpsest of obsolete formats.
SA Leatherwear, 34 East Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Minimalist name for a leatherwear shop – can’t make out what the full title was.
Booty Wine, 17 KentishTown Road, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2015 • Gotta love a shop called Booty.
M.A.M. Auto • 23 Midland Road, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2002 • Garages down the side of St Pancras station, in its days ofgrimy pre-restoration grandeur.
Post Office (Wolverhampton), 16 Darlington Street, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Charming little carved corner shop, in what I think is a faux-Jacobean style. It’s enhanced by the Post Office’s current […]
Anon Records Basement, 101 High Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • So anon the name has gone – a defunct mixture of records, typewriter supplies and publishing (according to tiny writing […]
H.W. Cooper, Willow Walk, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Colourful sign collage on a glass and perspex works. By 2017 the wonky drainpipes were still there, but […]
Pullman Motors, 142 Newport Street, Lambeth, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2015 (top) and 2016 • Self-styled “last garage in Vauxhall”, established 1948, in what was once an entire row […]
R.M. Pugh & Co, 35 Hylton Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B18, 2005 • Pugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, in the immortal words of Trumpton. The jewellery display specialist is no longer […]
Neal’s Corner Sandwich Shop, 1 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, Borough of Camden, London WC2, 2003 • Named after Neal Street, not a bloke called Neal. In fact, this entire corner […]
Poseidon, 102 High Road, Finchley, Borough of Barnet, London N2 • I always like it when ancient gods are namechecked. By 2008 this had expanded into the next shop and […]
Caf´e Paradise, 116 Chingford Mount Road, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E4, 2016 • Divine accent intervention.
Emerald Express Dry Cleaners, 789 Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Old-school plastic plus shaky self-promotion by someone called Steven Randall.
R. Laucher, 302 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Founded in 1954 by Roman Laucher, a Pole who learnt horology while serving with the British navy […]
W.J. Cox & Sons, 37 High Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Battered tobacconist with ghost sign saying “Established 1863” and a deep arcade entrance. A contemporary gallery later moved in and […]
Roger K. Flatters, 35 Queen Street, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Flatters – what a wonderful name for an optician. The Eurostyle font, old phone number, mosaic fascia and marble surround […]
Roger of Finchley, 5 Fortis Green, Finchley, Borough of Barnet, London N2, 2003 • Fnarr fnarr. By 2008 it was called The Retreat, which it still is.
Yank Pizza, 28 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Unfortunate name.