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.
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.
Booty Food & Wine, 272 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Great name – and it’s actually part of a chain.
Brookford Launderette, 243 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Part of a local chain, all with no-nonsense sans serif logos.
Khubsoorat, 540 North Circular Road, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Bollywood name in a Hollywood font. There’s a famous 1980 Bollywood film called Khubsoorat – in which […]
Charlie’s Inn, 240-242 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Irish bar submerged in foliage, amidst gritty concrete surrounds.
Sal’s Bar, 249 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Like a tiny little cottage amidst a sea of Lycamobile shops. It sounds American, but in fact […]
The Hairdressers, 282 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Generic name in old-school font on slatted 1960s-style signboard.
Norman Hart Optician, 6 Neasden Parade, 250 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Old school optician in grimy 1930s parade.
Capital Car Colours, 372 Neasden Lane North, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Scruffy car paint palimpsest with what looks like a brick wall inside the door.
Noko, 358 Neasden Lane North, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • African food business within a decomposing facade. Pluvera chicken, aka “hard” chicken, is for stewing. It’s described […]
Way 2 Save, 295-297 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Giant colourful shop of everything, open 24 hours.
Ambassador Bakery, 376 Neasden Lane North, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Cheerful Romanian bakery in a ruinous surround.
Neasden Halal Meat, 276 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • More like Neasden Bottled Water…
Neasden Shopping, 237 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Jam-packed array of international services under the peeling name of Neasden Shopping.
Neasden Parade, Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Art deco parade that has seen better days. Even the ‘A’ is dropping off…
Beatties (House of Fraser), 71-78 Victoria Sreet, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Beatties is a defunct Midlands store chain that grew from a drapery business founded in 1877; all branches have […]
The Posada, 48 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Fancy art nouveau tiled pub in a grade II listed row of shops. Pub History shows Kellys Directory recording it from 1912, […]
Woks Wong, The Mikado Buildings, 79 Elm Grove, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning Chinese takeaway in the aptly oriental Mikado Buildings, named after the Gilbert & Sullivan opera. The […]
The French, 190 Albert Road, Southsea, City ofPortsmouth, 2016 • Brightly shuttered ex-bakery with what looks like an original 1930s sign, possibly dating from the legend that reads: “Prop R.S. […]
Embassy Ninja, 147 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Curiously-named visa advisor, whose graffitied shutter is now closed for good.
H. E. King, 26 Albert Road, Southsea, City ofPortsmouth, 2016 • Very old newsagents shuttered due to the death of its 87-year-old owner, Ray King – the shop had been […]
James Henry (Hampel & Sons), Victoria Buildings, 171 Elm Grove, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • 1978-founded crimper beneath an even older ghost sign, in a grand tiled parade. Maybe […]
Nearly New Electrics, 97 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Colourful car key purveyor – one of many charming old-fashioned shopfronts on this stretch of road.
Pompey on a Roll, 210 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning eaterie with optimistic Portsmouth FC-themed name. No one seems to know why Portsmouth is called Pompey, […]
Pompey Hardware (Keys Kingdom), 92 Fawcett Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Completely brilliant shop themed in blue and white after Portsmouth’s football team, aka Pompey. The owner even […]
Imperial Cinema (Peugeot Crawley Down), 5 Brighton Road, Crawley, West Sussex, 2002 • Car showroom behind the facade of a 1928 movie theatre, which closed after WW2. The dealership has now gone […]
Imperial Pharmacy, 4 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 2014 • Grand drugstore in an 1804 Georgian bath house; a niche housing the chalybeate (iron-rich) spring that gave the town its […]
Imperial Dry Cleaners, 12 Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2016 • Newly-painted faux ghost signage in a regeneration area.
The Imperial Pearl Co, 24 Hatton Garden, Borough of Camden, London EC1, 2004 and 2012 • Neon sign in London’s faded jewellery quarter. Presumably it’s named after Imperial China, as […]
Imperial Works, Fountayne Road, South Tottenham, Borough of Haringey, London N15, 2016 • Once-great name for a graffitied complex that now houses artists’ workhops.
Imperial Wines, 2 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Strange pink mock Tudor building, with which this ornate Edwardian frontage was presumably contemporary. Amazingly by 2008 […]
W.J. Armstrong Ltd, 12 London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Classic Sandeman sign – port one side, sherry the other – featuring its famous fedora and cloak-clad ‘Don’ […]
Zoe’s Gobble & Go, Westgate Terrace, Folkestone, Kent, 2002 • Immobilised mobile snack bar with less-than-enticing name. I found it somewhere round here.
New Star, 8a Holmesdale Road, Reigate, Surrey, 2002 • Unusual ‘evening lunch’ offer meets impressive 1960s door handle at a matching angle. New Star’s DIY branding remained completely unchanged until 2014, and though the […]
Wok Inn, 88 High Street, Reigate, Surrey, 2002 • Always nice to see a pun on Wok. Later became Mexicode Fresh Mexican Kitchen, leaving the nearest wok outlet as Gourmet Wok, […]
Stride-In, 23 Octagon Parade, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, 2008 • Great name and 1970s-style wooden signboard for a men’s fashion shop undoubtedly specialising in ‘gear’ and ‘clobber’. Later moved and rebranded Stride […]
Sunfruit, The Centre, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Sunny, yet grim. Not-entirely-convincing rebrand from videos to fruit that was part of a bleak, now-demolished 1960s mall, The Centre, which I think was replaced […]
Jesus Kingdom City, Cannon Street, Bristol BS1, 2013 • Ex-church school whose plaque reveals a Theseus’s Paradox of a history: “St James’ School. Instituted benevolent School 1790. Sunday school 1801. Reconstructed 1913. […]
Jesus Mosque, Circa 86 Wrentham Street, Birmingham B5, 2016 • Decaying Victorian warehouse incorporating cross-faith centre. According to this 2008 article, a Jesus Mosque is either an attempt to encourage dialogue […]
Jesus Saves, Heals and Re, County Street, Elephant and Castle, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2012 • No idea what Jesus’s last action was, but regenerates would have been apt – […]
Devon & Exeter Jigsaw Puzzle Library, South Street Baptist Church Palace Gate Centre, 3 Palace Gate, Exeter, Devon, 2009 • Charming charity delivering gentle enjoyment to the time-rich since 1972, when it […]
Terry Discount Store, 51 High Street, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Large budget emporium offering “Most Products, Less And Bargain Price”. Who could ask for more?
Sainsbury’s (Reading), 52-55 Friar Street (and back entrance Greyfriars Road), Reading RG1, 2016 • Beautiful little ‘festival style’ supermarket building with fancy concrete screen, zig-zag canopy and all sorts of detailing, […]
Jackson’s Corner, 1-9 King’s Road, Reading RG1, 2016 (top), 2015 (bottom) • Famous Reading outfitters founded by Edward Jackson in 1875 (as discussed in the previous post), which closed down […]
Oxfam Book Shop, Bank Chambers, 8 High Street, Reading RG1, 2015 • Tiled and turreted folly which apparently housed the first shop – opened 1875 – of Edward Jackson, who later […]
Lloyds Bank, 147 High Street, Guildford, Surrey, 2016 • Superbly ornate old bank, which survives thanks to royalty: an inscription on the wall says: “Guildford Old Bank. Established 1765. This […]
HSBC, Fore Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Curious 1896 Italianate bank by George Dale Oliver, then county architect for Cumberland. The ornate red sandstone frieze (artist unknown) shows 16 putti holding swags […]