Skip to content

Shopfront Elegy

A. Simmonds

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.
A. Simmonds

Alandra

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 […]
Alandra

Adana

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 […]
Adana

Sea Spray

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 […]
Sea Spray

Stockdales

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.
Stockdales

Chattoo& Co Ltd

Chattoo& Co Ltd, 176 Strand, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2003 & 2016 (bottom pic) • I always liked the specs door handle and blinds. Now closed down for redevelopment […]
Chattoo& Co Ltd

Coin Wash

Coin Wash, 195 East Street, Walworth, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Launderette with speed queens – wow. Now called Sussan Coin Wash, with plastic sign gone.
Coin Wash

Star of London

Star of London, Link Cars, 3 Parade, Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • For an appointment phone Mr Asha on his 01 ghost number. In 2016 […]
Star of London

SA Leatherwear

SA Leatherwear, 34 East Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Minimalist name for a leatherwear shop – can’t make out what the full title was.
SA Leatherwear

M.A.M. Auto

M.A.M. Auto • 23 Midland Road, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2002 • Garages down the side of St Pancras station, in its days ofgrimy pre-restoration grandeur.
M.A.M. Auto

H.W. Cooper

H.W. Cooper, Willow Walk, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Colourful sign collage on a glass and perspex works. By 2017 the wonky drainpipes were still there, but […]
H.W. Cooper

Pullman Motors

Pullman Motors, 142 Newport Street, Lambeth, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2015 (top) and 2016 • Self-styled “last garage in Vauxhall”, established 1948,  in what was once an entire row […]
Pullman Motors

R.M. Pugh & Co

R.M. Pugh & Co, 35 Hylton Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B18, 2005 • Pugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, in the immortal words of Trumpton. The jewellery display specialist is no longer […]
R.M. Pugh & Co

Poseidon

Poseidon, 102 High Road, Finchley, Borough of Barnet, London N2 • I always like it when ancient gods are namechecked. By 2008 this had expanded into the next shop and […]
Poseidon

R. Laucher

R. Laucher, 302 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Founded in 1954 by Roman Laucher, a Pole who learnt horology while serving with the British navy […]
R. Laucher

W.J. Cox & Sons

W.J. Cox & Sons, 37 High Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Battered tobacconist with ghost sign saying “Established 1863” and a deep arcade entrance. A contemporary gallery later moved in and […]
W.J. Cox & Sons

Roger K. Flatters

Roger K. Flatters, 35 Queen Street, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Flatters – what a wonderful name for an optician. The Eurostyle font, old phone number, mosaic fascia and marble surround […]
Roger K. Flatters

Khubsoorat

Khubsoorat, 540 North Circular Road, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Bollywood name in a Hollywood font. There’s a famous 1980 Bollywood film called Khubsoorat  – in which […]
Khubsoorat

Sal’s Bar

Sal’s Bar, 249 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Like a tiny little cottage amidst a sea of Lycamobile shops. It sounds American, but in fact […]
Sal’s Bar

Noko

Noko, 358 Neasden Lane North, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • African food business within a decomposing facade. Pluvera chicken, aka “hard” chicken, is for stewing. It’s described […]
Noko

Way 2 Save

Way 2 Save, 295-297 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Giant colourful shop of everything, open 24 hours.
Way 2 Save

Neasden Shopping

Neasden Shopping, 237 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Jam-packed array of international services under the peeling name of Neasden Shopping.
Neasden Shopping

Neasden Parade

Neasden Parade, Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Art deco parade that has seen better days. Even the ‘A’ is dropping off…
Neasden Parade

The Posada

The Posada, 48 Lichfield Street, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Fancy art nouveau tiled pub in a grade II listed row of shops. Pub History shows Kellys Directory recording it from 1912, […]
The Posada

Woks Wong

Woks Wong, The Mikado Buildings, 79 Elm Grove, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning Chinese takeaway in the aptly oriental Mikado Buildings, named after the Gilbert & Sullivan opera. The […]
Woks Wong

The French

The French, 190 Albert Road, Southsea, City ofPortsmouth, 2016 • Brightly shuttered ex-bakery with what looks like an original 1930s sign, possibly dating from the legend that reads: “Prop R.S. […]
The French

Embassy Ninja

Embassy Ninja, 147 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Curiously-named visa advisor, whose graffitied shutter is now closed for good.
Embassy Ninja

H. E. King

H. E. King, 26 Albert Road, Southsea, City ofPortsmouth, 2016 • Very old newsagents shuttered due to the death of its 87-year-old owner, Ray King – the shop had been […]
H. E. King

Pompey on a Roll

Pompey on a Roll, 210 Albert Road, Southsea, City of Portsmouth, 2016 • Punning eaterie with optimistic Portsmouth FC-themed name. No one seems to know why Portsmouth is called Pompey, […]
Pompey on a Roll

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