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.
Mr Bagel’s, White Post Lane, Borough of Hackney, London E9, 2006 • Either inappropriate apostrophe use, or the property of Mister Bagel (discuss).
Dry Cleaning by Mister Sam, 516 Holloway Road, Borough of Islington, London N7, 2016 • Fantastically old school cleaner’s sign, which still appears to be there. (Although I bet Mister […]
Mr Woolpack Handicrafts, 73 High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Severe grey mosaic-clad crafting emporium in 1960s modernist style, about a million miles away from today’s Etsy-style whimsy. By 2017 […]
Mr Bongo, 44 Poland Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Long-departed record store, not to be confused with Um Bongo, that favourite beverage of the Congo. By 2017 […]
Mr P’s Classic Amusements, 10 High Street, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Depends on your definition of “classic” and “family entertainment”, really. The typeface is pure early 1990s (Remedy, designed by […]
Mr. Biggs, 77 Atlantic Road, Brixton, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2012 • Charming DIY / family portraits mash-up in deepest Brixton. Not sure what “From A Pinto A Anchor” […]
Mr. Li’s, 45-47 Springfield Road, Horsham, Surrey, 2003 • Intriguing hoarded and boarded upper windows (you can see a person’s arm through the open one). Still there, same curly-lettered sign, […]
Mr. Snob (Sutton), 224 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, 2002 • This branch has now gone, but there’s still one in Banstead, which I featured here. According to their website, the […]
Mr Wu, 28 Wardour Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002, 2015, 2016 (top to bottom) • Ever-present fixture in Soho’s Chinatown – even the writing on their window been […]
Mr. Ben, 128 East Street, Bristol BS3, 2017 • Logo looks to date from around the same time as the early 1970s kids’ TV series (which was spelled Mr Benn).
Mr Chippy Restaurant Griddle Bar, Falmouth or Truro, Cornwall, circa 1981 • Beautiful Vitrolite frontage photographed on long-ago family holiday. It was probably either in Truro or Falmouth, but no […]
Birchington Ice Cream Parlour & Patisserie, 11-13 Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, […]
Victoria’s Tea Rooms & Restaurant, 11-13 Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, 2006 • Lovely deco fan light doors and net curtain combo. This adjoined an equally retro ice cream parlour – I […]
The Victoria, 757 Woolwich Road (corner of Eastmoor Street), Borough of Greenwich, London SE7, 2005 • Grand from the front, and completely destroyed at the back. It’s still there, and […]
Victoria Tandoori, 318 Vauxhall Bridge Road, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • Grand yet gritty eaterie offering great signwriting and the “best curry in town”. By 2017 it was […]
Victoria Dock Tavern, 48 Great Union Street, Hull HU9, 2016 • They’re having a wiring party, and everyone’s invited. Beautiful light you get in Hull.
Victorian Restaurant, 16a Great Western Arcade, Colmore Row, Birmingham B2, 2016 • Charming beaux arts frontage in one of Birmingham’s grand arcades.
Victoria Off Licence, 184 Victoria Road, Swindon SN1, 2017 • Glad to see people are naming off licences after me, too. I liked the big bold booze windows on this.
Victoria Hotel, Waterloo Road and Oil Street, Liverpool L3, 2008 • Derelict pub in Liverpool’s docklands, named after me. By 2012 it had been demolished, and is now an empty […]
Victoria Chemist, 80-82 High Street, Banstead, Surrey, 2001 • Quite a fancy 1980s-style frontage for a chemist (and named after me, always a good thing). It’s still there, double the […]
Victoria Mobile, ex Victoria News, 19-20 Terminus Place, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2017 • Wiring fest in grand dilapidated building opposite Victoria Station, now being redeveloped.
Victoria Care (UK) Limited, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Mysterious-looking training centre, with windows almost like an art installation.
£+ Victoria Super Store, 127 Wilton Road, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • Not very super Super Store (named after me). The tiny exterior doormat is a thoughtful touch.
Victoria Jane, 54 North Street, Bristol BS3, 2017 • Shop named after me, as so many things are. I’m guessing from the mural that it’s a hairdresser.
Bob Carver’s, Corporation Chambers, 9 Trinity House Lane, Hull HU1, 2017 • Famed Hull fish and chip emporium set in grand surroundings. The building is proudly titled Corporation Chambers – […]
African Video Centre, 7 Balls Pond Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Niche dying market. By 2017 it was a wine bar called Aqua 7.
Redfort Furniture, 111 Redchurch Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • Nice Eine letter T, long since gone, although the shops were still boarded up ad graffiti-laden in […]
Dr. W.B. Clegg Charity Stall, 161 Church Street, Bishops Castle, Shropshire, 2016 • Wonderful veg-based honesty box in cute Shropshire town.
Mick Darnalds, Vauxhall Walk, Borough of Lambeth, London SW11, 2011 • Guess McDonald’s trademark enforcers never got this far.
Lucky Fish Bar, 338 Kennington Lane, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2015 • Superb old school frontage and name. In 2017 it was updated, but is still very traditional looking […]
Top Quality Fish & Hamburger Bar, c.1 Decima Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Upper crust bubbling fish logo and multi-arrowed wall sign, now totally gone. By 2012 […]
Top Nosh, Scuola Guida Italiana, 176, 178 Clerkenwell Road, Borough of Camcen, London EC1, 2004 • Ornate international mash-up in the Italian enclave of Clerkenwell. By 2015 Top Nosh had […]
Hot Munchies, 30 Southwark Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2004, 2011, 2016 • Cheekily named arch cafe amidst sea of dirty viaduct tiles. Still there in 2018, as all […]
Wright’s Bar, 5 Houghton Street, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2005 & 2015 • Classic 1960s-looking logo and finger sign, next to the London School of Economics. It’s shown below […]
H’s Cafe, 82 Neptune Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2010 • Well-regarded backstreet greasy spoon with wonky hand made sign. Run by a bloke called H and his two […]
Dino’s Ristorante, 117 Gloucester Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7, 2005 • Apparently the novelist Iris Murdoch used to dine here (Iris Murdoch as I Knew Her, A.N. […]
Dino’s Restaurant, 1-3 Pelham Street, Borough od Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7, 2005 • Huge Italian caff that featured in the movie Repulsion. It used to dominate South Kensington, and […]
Coronation Cafe, 190 Coronation Road, Bristol BS3, 2011 & 2017 • Traditional caff that reinvented itself as a curry house – you can see it announcing the transformation in 2012 […]
Tanyas, Fish Bar, 39b Barnes High Street, Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London SW13, 2006 • Rogue comma alert (and the letter spacing is pretty wonky too). By 2012 they […]
Belly Busters, Lord Byron, 20-22 Bridge Street East, Middlesbrough TS2, 2012 • Not two names you’d normally associate together, it is in fact Belly Busters cafe at the Lord Byron […]
Belly Busters Eating House, 5 Central Avenue, West Molesey, Surrey, 2002 • Full-bodied name in full-bodied 1970s font. Still appeared to be there, and looking the same, in 2017. It gets […]
The Proud Potato, 182 Middlewood Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010 • 1970s-looking happy tattie, though it’s probably much more recent. Google shows it still there in 2016, the most recent […]
Cafe, The Albatross Club, c.15 Marina Arcade, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, 2009 • Part of a superb Chinese gothic seaside complex. The cafe has since gone, The Albatross Club remains.
Silver Sea House, 62 Exeter Road, Exmouth, Devon, 2009 • Lovely name and sign on frontage obscured by red van (possibly owned by bloke waiting inside). It was unchanged by […]
Popular Cafe, 85 Lever Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Once popular, here closed down and up for sale. It was soon back in business as before (repainted, […]
Matteo’s Sandwich Bar, 32 Tottenham Street, Borough of Camden, London W1, 2005 • Urban legend had it that someone once found a sliced-off-fingertip in the coleslaw here. Part of the […]
Cafe Restaurant, 25 St Cross Street, Borough of Camden, London EC1, 2001 • Wonderful old Italian caff shot with dreadful old digital camera – both long gone. According to a […]
The Brothers Fish Bar, 4 Tramway Avenue, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Fence above, rug in front, and helpful sign round corner. By 2017 it was called […]
Franklin Barnes, Blueschool Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, 2017 • Profil font and stylized flower sculpture by Trevor Worton on an early 1960s store, now defunct. It was designed by architects Cecil Corey and Harry Bettington […]
The Sign Shop, 392 Forest Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Palimpsest of sign shop signage. By 2008 it had been turned into a house (2015, […]
Sell 4 You, 51 Exeter Road, Exmouth, Devon, 2009 • Psychedelic seaside sign, still there in 2017 but very sunbleached.
The Spar, 1c Braganza Street, Kennington, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Colourful yet grim, with a DIY awning logo. It lasted till 2016 and was then redeveloped into […]
B&B. Wines, 63 West Ham Lane, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Grand and grubby pillars plus an extra full stop. By 2017 it was called Global Food […]
B&B Project Space, 14 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2017 • Curious little gallery with barely-visible Profil font logo. Presumably named after the possibly defunct B&B sign on the side door.
B.S.O. Solicitors New Tower Centre (Plaza), 181 Tower Bridge Road (from Druid Street), Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Grubby yet grand (note mini-pillar) legal outpost in giant railway […]
The Barber Room, Steve’s Garage Ltd, 90-91 Plender Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • DIY signage meets groovy graffiti. By 2008 the whole block had been demolished and […]
Sandwiches Again, 230 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Colourful cafe with ornate tiled pilasters. By 2017 it was Caffetino cafe.
Khyber Pass, 54 Terrace Road, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Established 1983 and still around. By 2017 it had lost its green tent and 3D logo, but gained five stars on Tripadvisor.
Khyber Pass, 304 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Old school name, represented in plastic. By 2017 it was still mountainous as Sunshine Peak Caribbean Restaurant.
Noodle King, 36 Deptford Broadway, Borough of Greenwich, London SE8, 2002 • Noodling along with nice sign writing. No longer there.
The China Chef, 108 London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Nice mix of vernaculars. By 2017 it was still a Chinese, called Tim Ley.
Tung Hing, 16 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2017 • Melancholy old-school Chinese.
Full Measure (ex), 175 Cleveland Street, Hull HU8, 2017 • Humble dwelling with ghost tiles from an 1870s tavern called the Full Measure (latterly the White Room club), which according […]
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 […]