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Frank, 7 Toynbee Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • From the 1950s until his death in 1966 aged just 47, this was the base of Frank Conway (née Cohen), whose small business Conway Automatics dealt in vending machines, juke boxes and much else. The shop lay empty for over 35 years, and here its final sign, reading ‘Conway’, has fallen off to reveal the first, plain ‘Frank’ – for his original trading name of Frank, Warehouseman. In 2014 it was renovated, briefly housed a Jack the Ripper-themed pop-up, then became a smart nameless unit. It’s a neighbour of Conway Trading, here – which was run by Frank’s relatives. There has been a huge amount of interest in this old shop from many quarters, leading to the full story being told in a fascinating 2014 memoir, The Frank Conway Story, by Frank’s son, Alan (with help from Nigel Mercer). There’s also a brief but interesting blog called Finding Frank by Frank’s granddaughter Emily. And the social historian Alan Dein photographed the shop in 1988 then revisited it in 2012, which is documented here


2 replies »

  1. I remember seeing this empty shop when I was 7 or 8.
    There were rats running in and out of there faster than anything i had ever seen.

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