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.
Bureau de Change, Praed Street, Earl’s Court, City of Westminster, London W2, 2010 • Tiny grand building with romantic decay and incongruous metal cladding, now boringly spruced up.
Marks and Spencer Ltd Original Penny Bazaar, Units 133-138, Grainger Market, Grainger Street, Newcastle NE1, 2016 • This is actually the oldest M&S in the world, still trading from its […]
H. Samuel (Manchester), 7-7A upper Mall, Arndale Centre, High Street, Manchester, 2009 • Tiled 1970s bunker with missing letter – Manchester’s famous Arndale Centre, whose specially-commissioned beige ceramic facade was likened by Bill Bryson […]
E. Watson & Son & Daughter, The Joiners Arms, 120 & 116-118 […]
Daniel Lewis & Son Ltd T/A W.H. Clark, 493-495 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Established in 1797 as Presland & Sons, and boasting a 19th century double-height […]
Familywear, 10 Station Road, Redhill, Surrey, 1981 • A 1950s-looking shop closed down by the 1980s. And that’s the last ancient photo for now.
Causette, circa Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, 1981 • Faded 1960s-style cafe facade rocking Profil font, and doubtless offering unappetising old-school espresso. I don’t know what’s there now, but it was […]
Cyber Café, Unit 1, New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 1999 • Hand-painted digital type meets 1960s mosaic on this sad closed down internet cafe. By 2015 the unit housed Attic Solutions, […]
Empire Milk Bar, Picadilly Circus Tube Station, City of Westminster, London W1, 1988 • True fact – there was a 1930s-style milk bar operational in the orange-columned depths of Piccadilly Circus tube […]
Olympia Dining Rooms, 5-6 Wincott Parade, Kennington Road, Kennington, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 1988 • An original ‘Dining Rooms’ photographed just as it was closing down. Who knew that […]
Ying Ho, London Shoe Rebuilder J. Poole, 232 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW15, 1981 • Now for a few really ancient shots I took from a bus […]
Woo Lot, 592 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of WalthamForest, London E10, 2016 • Great name, great (literally) sign.
Phoenix Snooker Club, 634 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E10, 2016 • Fancy buying a billiard hall? Free Profil font included. The quirky facades are part […]
Greggs (Leyton), 857 High Road, Leyton, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E10, 2016 • I went all the way to Leyton to photograph this 1930s Greggs and it was closed! […]
Floorcraft, 20a Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • DIY sign-painting meets mini-grandeur. Now houses Oxford Street Books.
Falcon Print Transport, 310 High Street, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Mini art deco print transport HQ, next to the fabulous West Ham Labour Party building. Now […]
Amazon Hair, 92 Fowler Street, South Shields, South Tyneside, 2013 • A hair-cutter who’s cut out their window. Brilliant! It’s still there but now painted brown and white. Hope the eponymous online book-selling […]
Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.
Jacobean Corsetry, 53 Virginia Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1, Scotland, 2010 • Giant golden ghost sign from a corsetry firm founded in 1946, whose wares have featured in Jack Vettriano paintings. Sales […]
D’Posh, 103 Strand, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2011 • V posh Savoy surroundings for D’Posh clothes shop, which later became Laird Hatters.
G. Smith & Sons, 74 Charing Cross Road, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2011 • I thought this ancient snuff specialist would always be there, but it closed unceremoniously in 2011 with […]
The Express Cleaning & Repairing Co., 10 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2011 • Ancient emporium briefly revealed after removal of Tony’s Hemp Corner sign (see […]
Tonys Hemp Corner, 10 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2010 • Creepy flower-child fascia for controversial cannabis cafe whose proprietor Tony Taylor supplied ‘medicinal’ marijuana to nearly 300 […]
Johns the Baker, 5 Badcox, Frome, Somerset, 2008 • Ghost sign from the days when ‘golden brown’ didn’t mean heroin. The Hovis sign had gone by 2011, when it was still […]
The Love Shack, corner of Old Hall Street and Goodson Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 2010 • A touch of gaudy grandeur amidst modernist monoliths in much-maligned Stoke, currently bidding to be the […]
Tan’s Cafe, 3 Amersham Vale, New Cross, Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, 2010 • Gaudy mini-kingdom of breakfast opposite New Cross Station. Possibly the only greasy spoon with a loyalty […]
Kam Garden, 14 Bouverie Road West, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Sweet green Chinese-style rooflet which stayed even after it went Indian as Copper and Spices.
Pizza King, 115 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Incongruous in its grand portal despite the regal name. Now called Master Kebab.
Jan & Charlie’s, 59 Old High Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • End of days for an old-school fishmonger. Ironically it looks more old-fashioned these days, as Frizbee clothing; the entire frontage […]
Famous Amusements Emporium (JG’s), 3-9 Tontine Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Classic neon ghost sign on what was once the street’s oldest boot and shoe shop – there’s a photo of that here. By […]
Kat-Man-Do, 2 South Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Weirdly-named ex-pub/club which has since been knocked down and replaced with flats.
Catford Mews, Winslade Way, off Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Feline punning within the Catford Centre, featured yesterday. Catford Mews is an indoor market, as described in the […]
Catford Centre, Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Famous creepy cat, fronting brutalist mall the Catford Centre, developed by Owen Luder in 1974. Apparently it’s due for […]
Jemerton Ltd, 68 Paul Street, Borough of Hackney, London EC2, 2008 • Picturesque decay plus cat graffiti, now turned into – what else – posh offices. A company search says Jemerton was […]
H. Tidiman, 57 Broadway Market, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2006 • Part of Ben ‘Eine‘ Flynn’s original 2005-6 shop shutter graffiti alphabet, in this case reading B for Butcher. You […]
Subway, 69 Chapel Market, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • Boring fast food chain, lovely old door window. Actually I like the Subway logo, it’s an exuberant piece […]
Milly’s Mini Mart, Angel City Cars, 49 Upper Street, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • I featured these ridiculously over-the-top console brackets back in 2014, when the shop was crumbly but colourful and appeared to be […]
Sew Fantastic!, Tintype, 107 Essex Road, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 and 2016 • Grubby but grand Sew Fantastic (top pic) is now scrubbed clean as Tintype art gallery (second pic). The punters […]
S. Cohen, 2 White Conduit Street, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • No name for the second-hand shop, but the original costumier’s facade is still proudly showing.
W. Martyn, 135 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Established in 1897 and still in the Martyn family, this is known as the Fortnum […]
Broadway Hair Stylist, 344 Muswell Hill Broadway, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • A proper early 1960s hair stylist’s fascia, complete with modernist mosaic – very rare these days. […]
New Happy Swan, 120 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Old happy paint job in Muswell Hill’s distinctive St James’s Parade, by Edwardian developer James […]
Hotel Splendide, 25 Mornington Crescent, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • You couldn’t make this up. But in fact it was made up, because according to the Shady Old Lady […]
New and S/Hand Tyres, 115 Dulwich Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE24, 2001 • Textures of yellow with beautiful old signwriting. Later moved upmarket to house “heritage inspired” clothes label […]
Sai News, 138 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Nameless ex-newsie with painterly pink palimpsest wall and elegant stroller who looks like he’s posing for a cavalier […]
Dino’s Travel & Holidays, 11 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • How times change – that bloke would be reading a phone today. Flyposting obliterates the name of this ex-Greek […]
Allworthy Bros, 13, 15 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • “Money advanced on pictures, bronzes, violins &c &c” says this wonderful old pawnbroker’s sign above a Dickensian-looking yard […]
F.T.T.D, Joiners Shopfitters Builders, 20 Tanner’s Hill, Deptford. Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Ex-shopfitter’s enlivened by a quaint Victorian-style pointing hand sign (aka a manicule). It was for now-defunct signmakers Find […]
Chapel Furnitures, 4 Browning Street, Walworth, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Giant hand sign on charming chapel for the unusually-pluralised Chapel Furnitures (maybe the singular version’s web domain had […]
Best Wishes, 13 Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Ex-gift shop, now ex-charity shop, whose ghost sign has – like yesterday’s shop – a rather Edwardian feel. Note crowns on door handle […]
Nameless chinoiserie shop, 29 Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • This has a look of Edwardian chinoiserie about it, so I prefer to think it’s an ex-gown shop rather than a […]
The Duke of Cambridge, 26 Bloomfield Road, Plumstead, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • The pub has gone, but the sign remains. Here’s the block of flats that replaced it. It […]
Engineers Builders Merchants Ironfounders, Station Street, Brighton, West Sussex, 2004 and 2014 • Boarded up when I visited in 2004 and 2014, but with the beautiful tiled typography still intact. […]
Nameless record shop, 105 St James Street, Brighton, West Sussex, 2004 and 2014 • Rather mysterious nameless record shop which shortly after the 2014 photos were taken became Fairydust Bakery. In the […]
www uk, 280 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • I like the road number on the brackets. Whatever the www was, they didn’t want you to […]
Zenith Fancy Goods (A2Z Smoking Products Ltd), 42 Goulston Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2014 (top), 2010 (bottom) • Grand brackets and creepy graffiti for ex-fancy goods outlet […]
Eine F, Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • One of the original batch of shop shutter letters by Ben Eine, who later had a work […]
Nameless green Thai shop, 129 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2013, 2010, 2016 • A miscellany of painterly disguises have graced this anonymous storage unit for the Chinese and Thai restaurants on […]
Ex Singer & Singer, Fairfax House, Fairfax Place, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Now for some notable nameless shops. The integrated clock in this grand empty unit suggests it may once have […]
The Regent, 331 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Grand doorway somewhat let down by plastic canopy. Aptly, it’s flanked by a door shop. […]
Roletta Ltd, King Edward Hall, 335-337 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Rosy Art Nouveau transom lights in a rather Charles Rennie Mackintosh style, […]
Ex-shop with sunray windows, 161 Camberwell New Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE5, 2001 • Art deco transom lights are the only remnant of this shop, which was still the […]
376, 376 Forest Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Only the net curtains remain in this traditional green shop, which I’d guess was once a cafe. […]
M.J. Davies, 10 New King Street, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Stripey ghost sign for what may have been a dairy (they often had Welsh names). Looks […]
Market Sweet Stores, 22 Wilcox Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW8, 2004 • Ghost sign for a sweet shop revealed in a traditional Portuguese enclave near Vauxhall. Now Ourivesaria Portugal, a jeweller.
Barclays Bank (Temple Fortune), 802-806 Finchley Road, Borough of Barnet, London NW11, 2016 • Old-style marble and gold Barclays eagle on a branch with a name straight out of the Hobbit, in […]
Ex-Barclays Bank (Sutton), 238 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, 2002 • Aah, textures of grey and the ghost of an old-style Barclays Bank eagle logo.
HSBC (Hockley), 168 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B18, 2005 • Lovely little bank with Victorian sculpture above the door, which is still the same now. One source says it dates from 1892 […]
Jedediah Strutt shop, corner of Exchange Street and St Peters Street, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Empty Grade II listed former Boots building (info here) with statues of four notable locals. […]
Dawn Crystal, 3 HighStreet, Amblecote, Stourbridge, West Midlands, 2016 • Cute old shop opposite the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge, a West Midlands town that was once the world centre of the cut glass […]
RJ’s Barbers, 28 Hockley Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingam B18, 2005 • Traditional barber, back in 1 hour… and he’s still there, with good reviews on Google.
Repos, arch next to 26a Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5, 2014 • Fragment of beautiful signwriting revealed on palimpsest gate under imposing railway viaduct.
Tyres Tyres (FWR), 330 Kennington Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Unusual cross-shaped ghost sign for tyres, situated above motorcycle parts shop FWR. The sign had disappeared by 2008.
Green boarded shop, 294-292 Kennington Park Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Boarded-up shop, a symphony in greens. Now Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, part of Kennington’s ever-growing nest of […]
Cat & Cucumber Café, 182 Tower Bridge Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Nice name, wayward accent, grim rear aspect. Popular and still-extant greasy spoon once immortalised in […]
Gray and Lowe, 91 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Amazing giant sign with random letter spacing. Their “blog-site” says they’ve been going […]
Vivian Patisserie, 62 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Its patisserie identity seems to predate the Chinese cafe within. Back in 2008 it was […]
Bransdon (CB News), 86 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Identikit newsagent-cum-homeless shelter retaining ghost sign for a previous occupant; you can see […]
White Horse, 31 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Pub which has shrunk to its former saloon bar – the rest now being the supermarket […]
Shepherd and Flock, 84 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Built 1869, a traditional Irish sports pub hanging on in an area popular with […]
A. Cooke’s, Joe Coral (Fabric House Ltd), 48, 46 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Founded 1899, and located at this address since 1934, […]
S.G. Skinner, 14 Church Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, 2008 • No longer offering high class footwear repairs, this appears to be a charity shop dedicated to saving neolithic trackway the Rotherwas Ribbon. By […]
W.G. Miller, 93-95 Essex Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 • The kind of funeral parlour that does horse-drawn hearses. This handsome black facade would have been traditional even when […]
W.G. Pillar & Co., 1 Lower Street, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Like a souvenir shop newly minted from the 1950s – but still there 2015. Note stop sign incorporated into […]
Dartmouth Boating Centre, 6S Embankment, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Classic old-school ‘flying clothes’ display and almost-but-not-quite Profil font. The letters continued falling off, and by 2015 it was called Artmouth Boating […]
Stuarts, 75 High Street Whitstable, Kent, 2002 (top) and 85 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent 2004 (bottom) • Flowery plastic branding carried all the way through their decor. The Whitstable branch […]
Grants, 32 Earlsdon Sreet, Coventry, Warwickshire, 2013 • Minimalistic plastic elegance for this 1960s-style hairdressing facade, still there in 2015.
Grant’s Fish Bar, 14 Upper High Street, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • Notable for its mutant fish illustration. By 2015 it was chicken joint Maxy Express.
Nanny Janet’s, 22 Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Unusual family-based name for a burger bar.
Granny’s Kitchen, 38 Westoe Road, South Shields, 2013 • Shiny black plastic for Granny. What a pity the shutters were down on the day I passed by, it’s all curtained […]
Gio’s Kitchen, 79 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2004 • The windows look like a Sarah Lucas artwork and the flag couldn’t save it. One of many short-lived cafes on this […]
Giovanni’s Room Wine Bar, 42 Theobalds Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Faded 1970s chalet chic with name like a dodgy erotic novel – love the standalone door awning. I’ve already published its […]
Giovanni Hair Artiste, Cosmo Chicken Bar, 936, 934 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Ambitious titles meet random plastic typography and very old coke branding. Still there in 2015, though it […]
Collins & Jervie, 32 Sycamore Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire • There are some interesting modernist houses around Amersham so I hoped it would be a trove of old shop signs. But […]
Coe Electrical, 132 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Looks like the plug was pulled decades ago on this old-style electrical shop. By 2015 it was unrecognisable as Sew Fabric.
Fenhams, 119 and 11c Grainger Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2005 • Beautiful 1960s sign for this electonics stall – not sure if it’s there any more.
John Turnbull, 483 Anlaby Road, Kingston upon Hull, 2005 • Bullish old newsie with eponymous plastic illustration, seen from bus. Later became Babylon Supermarket.
Book’s, 230 High Street, Gateshead, Tyneside, 2005 • Not a bookshop or a typo, it’s a fashion shop run by someone named Book (and shot in the dark and rain). I […]
Ian Munro, 10 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Marble and script for a men’s outfitter founded in 1956. This would have been an expensive shopfront in its day; the labyrinthine […]