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.
Rent Here, Vote Sensibly, circa 407 Purley Way, Waddon, Borough of Croydon, London CR0, 2017 • Brilliant billboard intervention on the main London to Brighton highway, in an area which […]
Taylors, 22 Cleveland Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2005 • Giant button sign for a bespoke button emporium. It is still there today (though not looking so quaint), offering […]
M.E. Price, 5 High Street, Knighton, Powys, Wales, 2017 • Old-school toy shop with a tobacco ghost sign and farmyard alarm clocks in the window. It’s clearly related to yesterday’s group […]
W.E. Price, 25-27 High Street, Knighton, Powys, Wales, 2017 • Charming cluster of blue-and-white homewares shops in the steep town centre.
Robin G. Renée, 300 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Another example of classic 1960s wood slat and script signage, plus leafy wrought iron door grille. It later became Dorking […]
Rene Hair Fashions, 111 Essex Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Classic 1960s weatherboard sign with 071 number. It disappeared soon after, and by 2017 the unit housed […]
Francesco, 35 High Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, 2018 • Superb mid-century Vitrolite shopfront, in classic pale green and black. The Gentlemen’s Hairdresser sign is in 1950s period lettering, while the […]
Mercia News, 42 High Street, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, 2018 • Welcoming old-school newsie with window happily unobscured by cheap phone call posters. Mercia is an ancient name for the Midlands.
Rikki Lloyd, 39 High Street, Welshpool, Powys, Wales, 2017 • Gourmet meat purveyor with boyband name and abundant signage, that even explains which local farm’s lambs have ended up on […]
Mid Wales Domestic Appliances, 1 Mount Street, Welshpool, Powys, Wales, 2017 • Rustic timber-framed appliance emporium.
Flaxmill Maltings, Spring Gardens, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2017 • Important industrial relic from 1787, being restored (with EU money) under the aegis of Historic England. Originally a flax mill, it was […]
Round Market, Market Square, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, 2017 • Shabby but beautiful 1858 market hall in “Chinese Gothic” style, designed by architect James Cranston, also responsible for the town’s ornate […]
The Dolly Tub, 6 St James’s Street, Bath, Bath & North East Somerset, 2015 • Traditionally named launderette in a grand mini-arcade. You can find out about washing dollies here.
The Dolly Tub, 60 Aston Street, Wem, Shropshire, 2017 • Jaunty launderette sporting the old name for a galvanised washtub. The dolly was actually a wooden washing contraption, and the […]
E. Maund & Sons, 78-84 High Street, Wem, Shropshire, 2018 • Superb old-style garage with a modernist petrol awning outside, and a classic car inside.
J.E. Bailey, 67 Aston Street, Wem, Shropshire, 2017 • I started going to places in Shropshire just because of the weird names – Clun, Wem, New Invention (a real if […]
D.S. Britten – Ironmongers, 23 High Street, Clun, Shropshire, 2017 • Avoid the rush, book your chimney sweep now! (Well, so it says in the window.)
Bunner, Arthur Street, Montgomery, Powys, Wales, 2017 • Edwardian-fronted traditional ironmongers founded in 1892 and still run by the same family. Still a well-used local store, it’s jam-packed and museum-like […]
Tool Lodge, 71 Westbourne Grove, City of Westminster, London W2, 2017 • Sounds (and looks) like an ironic 1970s throwback hipster bar but is actually a genuine 1970s throwback hardware […]
Peace Mini-Market, 17 & 19-21 Leytonstone Road, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Love the name and teetering stacks of pans. It’s next door to yesterday’s fancy-fonted builder’s merchant, […]
C&S Builders Merchants, 15-17 Leytonstone Road, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Great mix of fancy fonts and trad sign painting here. Last spotted in 2012 and by […]
Robert Walker Cut Price Sweets Cigarettes, 75 Deptford High Street, Borough of Greenwich, London SE8, 2002 • Pastel-hued cheap fag emporium which had disappeared by 2014, and by 2017 was (bizarrely) […]
Silk Cut, 41 Dorset Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW8, 2018 • Brief ghost sign revelation for a once-lavishly advertised cigarette brand, on a backstreet shop that was previously Leena […]
Sidolis Buttery, 21 Store Street, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2002 • ‘Buttery’, that’s a cafe synonym you don’t often see. Classic Cafes says it was later renamed Lino’s, which […]
Top Value Drug Store, 299 Hale Lane, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • Giant purple plastic sign in plain Futura font – nice. By 2017 it was still […]
Robert Forsythe, 54 Wardour Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2017 • Brief revelation of a stunning art deco ghost sign for a theatrical tailor. The premises had previously been […]
Top Stitch, 92 St James’s Street, Brighton, East Sussex, 2004 • Dated by its giant landline phone logo, and a nice step too (bottom pic). Amazingly, by 2017 it was […]
Take Cover, 376 Edgware Road, City of Westminster, London W2, 2003 • Giant plastic curtain sign with accompanying essay. Possibly a relative of yesterday’s Take Cover, which was just round […]
Take Cover, 142 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Faded bed painting meets saggy awning, not a great advert for its services. By 2016 it had long […]
Suede Services, 18 Hoop Lane, Golders Green, Borough of Barnet, London NW11, 2003 • 3D orange slab serif lettering – who could ask for more? It’s on the shop’s tiny […]
Blustons, 213 Kentish Town Road, Borough of Camden, London NW5, 2015 • Art deco stunner opened in 1932 and closed down after 85 years of trading in April 2015. Sadly […]
F.W. Holroyd, 9-11 George Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1, 2012 • Dilapidated art gallery round the corner from yesterday’s demolished block. This was still there in 2017 and even tattier.
Loudon Upholstery, Circa 15 George Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1, 2012 • Colourful dereliction in the city centre, in a row that was demolished circa 2014. There was a ghost […]
Robbie’s Gents Hairdressers, 36 Page Street, Grosvenor Estate, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2014 • Lodge house barbershop on a stunning checkerboard council estate designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in […]
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Osnabruck Square, Albert Rd, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Coffee kiosk established in 1960 and named, bizarrely, after an 19th Century anti-slavery novel. Still there, despite rumours in […]
Station Cars, Station Road North, Merstham, Surrey, 2001 • Taxi rank or murder hut? Hard to tell, because the windows are blocked with taxi parts. Demolished sometime after 2008.
Newso (R&G Fabrications), 64-66 Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham B9. 2014 • Newso isn’t a company, but Brum graffiti artist Dan Newso. Nice signpainting – and just one of many street […]
Medcalf, 40 Exmouth Market, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2003 • Traditional butcher in the process of being turned into a trendy eaterie, which kept the name and signage. That […]
GMT Cafe, 38 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • Classic greasy spoon named after Greenwich Mean Time, which originates nearby. (Note also the naive cheery chef signboard, […]
Millennium Pizza, 119 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • That jellyfish in its 2000 logo is in fact the nearby Millennium Dome (as the O2 was once […]
The Greenwich Millennium, 44 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • A short-lived (and grubby) celebration of 2000, near Millennium Grill. The premises went on to have a […]
Millennium Charcoal Grill Kebabs, 30 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • Part of an entire row of Greenwich shops that named themselves after the 2000 millennium. Unusually, […]
Millennium Flowers, 45 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Ghost sign for booze meets soon-to-be-dated blooms. There’s a bit of info about the old pub here, […]
PS Prosonics 2000 Ltd, 48 Essex Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • A tech shop probably named when the millennium seemed futuristic, to judge by the phone logo. […]
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.