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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.

Imperial Pharmacy

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 Pharmacy

Imperial Works

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 Works

Imperial Wines

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 […]
Imperial Wines

W.J. Armstrong Ltd

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’ […]
W.J. Armstrong Ltd

New Star

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 […]
New Star

Wok Inn

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, […]
Wok Inn

Stride-In

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 […]
Stride-In

Sunfruit (Videotech)

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 […]
Sunfruit (Videotech)

Jesus Kingdom City

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 Kingdom City

Sainsbury’s (Reading)

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, […]
Sainsbury’s (Reading)

Jackson’s Corner

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 […]
Jackson’s Corner

HSBC (Hexham)

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 […]
HSBC (Hexham)

The Forum

The Forum, 8-9 Market Place, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Art deco cinema still in operation, complete with with cafe and built-in J.D. Wetherspoons. It’s Northumberland’s only full-time cinema, and has […]
The Forum

The Hexham Courant

The Hexham Courant, Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Historic name for a local rag, founded in 1864 and probably what the old lady at the bus stand in the previous post […]
The Hexham Courant

Hares of Hexham

Hares of Hexham, 45 Fore Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • A sign sellotaped to the door of this traditional tobacco / sweetie / shaving emporium says “closed until further notice”. Sadly, […]
Hares of Hexham

T.E. Liddell Ltd

T.E. Liddell Ltd, 9 Priestpopple, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Traditional fruiterer that looks older than it is – established 1985. Like the full stop after the surname (but not the […]
T.E. Liddell Ltd

Robson & Sons

Robson & Sons, 2 Meal Market, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Low-down script logo for 1864-founded family butcher, situated in the meal market where flour and grains were once sold. These days […]
Robson & Sons

White Stuff (Hexham)

20 Fore Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Incredibly ornate ex-pharmacy repurposed as fashion outlet. The early 20th century fascia is listed for its magnificent carved woodwork by the Belgian refugee M. Cullmans. Amazingly, it was […]
White Stuff (Hexham)

Jim’ll Mix It

Jim’ll Mix It, Unit 1, Lusty Industrial Estate, Empson Street, Bromley-by-Bow, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E3, 2012 • Unfortunate Jimmy Savile-inspired name, not helped by being based on the Lusty […]
Jim’ll Mix It

Roomes

Roomes, 41-49 Station Road, Upminster, Borough of Havering, London RM14, 2016 • Immense deco-tiled store still in operation. The homeware firm Roomes was founded in 1888 this is their 1927 branch […]
Roomes

Towers

Towers, 31 High Street, Hornchurch, Borough of Havering, London RM11, 2016 • Hard to believe, but this stunning 1935 ex-cinema is due for demolition. Lidl, who plan to replace it […]
Towers

Arthur Toms

Arthur Toms, 84 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, Borough of Hackney, London E5, 2011 • Until 2010 this was a Chinese takeaway called Friends, though clearly it had previously been an eel and […]
Arthur Toms

Jim’s Cafe

Jim’s Cafe, 59 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, Borough of Hackney, London E5, 2011 • Italian cafe from the 1960s that once housed an ice cream factory, and closed circa 2008 when the […]
Jim’s Cafe

JJ Williams

JJ Williams, 168 Kings Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW3, 2003 • Impressively large 3D zipper sign. The shop is still there and amazingly has the same lettering, but the zipper […]
JJ Williams

Daily News

Daily News, 616 Seven Sisters Road, Borough of Haringey, London N15, 2016 • According to Wikipedia, the Daily News was a radical left-leaning national newspaper founded in 1846 by Charles […]
Daily News

Urchin Shells

Urchin Shells, The Quay, St Mawes, Cornwall, 2012 • A colourful Cornish honesty box. I remember cleaning sea urchins out with bleach when I was a kid. Aaaah, the sweet […]
Urchin Shells

Oakville Care Centre

Oakville Care Centre, 3 Badcox, Frome, Somerset, 2015 • Beautiful old stone heads decorating a boring shop. Titles include Summer, Mirth, Peace, Plenty, and one that’s unreadable. It’s part of Badcox […]
Oakville Care Centre

Lamb and Fountain

Lamb and Fountain, 57 Castle Street, Frome, Somerset, 2015 • Historic hillside pub, with superb views and a trapdoor to 17th century ice wells beneath. In 2008, it had one of England’s […]
Lamb and Fountain

Wulfruna Coal Co.

Wulfruna Coal Co, Minerva Wharf, Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Quaint arts and crafts style building for a firm founded in 1850. Their name is one you see often around Wolverhampton, Wulfruna […]
Wulfruna Coal Co.

Ellis’s Tearoom

Ellis’s Tearoom, Rothley Station, Great Central Railway, Rothley, Leicestershire, 2016 • Restored ghostsign for a Coke, Corn and Cake Merchants, now just selling cake on this heritage steam railway.
Ellis’s Tearoom

Container Link

Container Link, Loughborough Central Station, Great Central Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • Peeling hand-painted logo for a superannuated container company in the  Grand Central steam railway’s picturesque goods yard.
Container Link

Griddle

Griddle, Loughborough Central Station, Great Central Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • One-time restaurant carriage with a wonderful name. There’s already a Griddle car operating on the Great Central heritage steam line, so this is […]
Griddle

Denhams

Denhams, 1 High Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • High street jeweller with grand golden mosaic (which is repeated round the corner). Denhams was there for 50 years, but recently taken over […]
Denhams

Beacon Bingo

Beacon Bingo, The Old Cinema, Baxter Gate, 37-40 Churchgate, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • Thank goodness for bingo halls keeping all these old art deco cinemas alive. This one has a carefully […]
Beacon Bingo

Platform Cafe

Platform Cafe, Leicester North Station, The Sidings, Leicester LE4, 2016 • Cute cafe signs in heritage station that sends steam engines along the main line to Loughborough’s defunct Central Station. […]
Platform Cafe

RPG

RPG, 93 Constance Road, Leicester LE5, 2016 • If you want your name to last, write it in stone. Can’t find any history on this deco small business centre, yet […]
RPG

Fashion House Ltd

Fashion House Ltd, Wakerley Centre, Margaret Road (off Gwendolen Road), Leicester LE5, 2016 • Bonkers mini-castle in a fascinating and unusual suburb developed by Leicester philanthropist/architect Arthur Wakerley, who pioneered council […]
Fashion House Ltd

H.C. Pretty

H.C. Pretty, 101 Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5, 2016 • What a great name, though the premises don’t exactly live up to it. It’s actually an engineering firm.
H.C. Pretty

Masjid-Noor-Ul-Islam

Masjid-Noor-Ul-Islam (Linden Street Education Centre), Linden House, Linden Street, Leicester LE5, 2016 • Streamlined art deco mini-liner that only became a mosque after 2014. I can’t find out what it originally was, but […]
Masjid-Noor-Ul-Islam

Hamidiye Camii

Hamidiye Camii, 16 Great Central Street, Leicester LE1 , 2016 • Attractive Victorian commercial building with later top floor, now housing a Turkish mosque. It’s near to grand ex-Central Street […]
Hamidiye Camii

Suit Yourself

Suit Yourself, 24 Belvoir Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Family firm in operation for around 40 years. Their modern website has a completely different logo, so maybe this old-school 3D plastic extravaganza is […]
Suit Yourself

Odeon Arcade

Odeon Arcade, Market Place, Leicester LE1, 2016 • As the name suggests, a former fleapit. First opened in 1924 as the City Cinema, by 1964 it was an Odeon, and – […]
Odeon Arcade

Blunts Shoes

Blunts Shoes, 128-132 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Immense deco bunker built in 1932 to house the Harris furniture store, and still with period fittings inside. Blunts (whose giant Shropshire signage […]
Blunts Shoes

John Lewis

John Lewis, Showcase Cinema, Highcross Shopping Centre, Vaughan Way (seen from All Saints, Highcross Street), Leicester LE1 • Leicester’s newest chunk of retail bling, by architects Foreign Office. It’s seen […]
John Lewis

The Turkey Cafe

The Turkey Cafe, 24 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Tiled turkey on 1901 art nouveau fantasia by important Leicester architect Arthur Wakerley (who, as we shall see, was a man of […]
The Turkey Cafe

Kingstone

Kingstone, 66-67 Belgrave Gate, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Modernist grade II listed 1937 furniture store with pink Vitrolite stripes, designed by Australian architect and glass fan Raymond McGrath. It’s only the second-known […]
Kingstone

Golden Horse, Weekes

Golden Horse, Weekes, 178 Fawcett Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Fantastical handcrafted takeaway next to unit with 1950s-looking ghost sign. There was a garage elsewhere in Southsea called Weekes […]
Golden Horse, Weekes

Percy Harrison

Percy Harrison, 117 Elm Grove, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • 1950s-style optician that looks too perfect to be real, but it is. I though it was closing down, but […]
Percy Harrison

Southern TV Services

Southern TV Services, 60 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Sunnily-signpainted TV shop, which like yesterday’s gem I first spotted via the Instagram feed of Steve Wilde (known as @SteveWild on both Instagram […]
Southern TV Services

W. Austin

W. Austin, 300 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW18, 2016 • I was alerted to this two-part wooden-shuttered lawnmower-cum-saw-sharpening gem by the excellent Instagram feed of Steve Wilde, aka @SteveWilde. […]
W. Austin

Michael de Carle

Michael de Carle, 75 Hook Road, Surbiton, Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, London KT6, 2916 • Beautiful yet sad coiffeur found via a tweet from Phil Day aka @HappyPlums. He also tweeted an image […]
Michael de Carle

Kenon

Kenon, 360 Old Kent Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2016 • Traditional plumber’s merchant with magnets in its logo (once a common hardware store motif), and an artistic display of […]
Kenon

Holy

Holy, 540 Holloway Road, Borough of Islington, London N7, 2016 • Unusual name for a Chinese takeaway – perhaps they meant divine. But it seemed a good option for Christmas day…
Holy

The Chocolate Box

The Chocolate Box, Farncombe Street, Farncombe, Godalming, Surrey, 2016 • Wooden-lettered ghost sign on what looks like a private house, but presumably used to be the local sweetshop. Love the way the car […]
The Chocolate Box

Nicholas

Nicholas, 147 Friar Street, Reading RG1, 2016 • Grand premises for an estate agent founded in 1882, but no longer resident. Note beautiful teak 1960s door handles in Profil font […]
Nicholas

Hanley Shopping Centre

Hanley Shopping Centre, East Precinct, East West Centre, Old Hall Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, 2010 • Classic grim 1960s new town-style shopping precinct, which by 2016 was completely derelict. There have been plans […]
Hanley Shopping Centre

Tony’s

Tony’s, 195-205 Union Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2011 • Not sure what service Tony offered – haircuts maybe – but the graffiti says, twice, that he’s a big […]
Tony’s