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.
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.
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.