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Zak’s Snacks

Zak’s Snacks , 48 Rosebery Avenue, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2003 • Now a generic fast food place with the far less poetic name of Mix Grill.
Zak’s Snacks

Joy

Joy, 52 Broadway Market, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2006 • Eine, the bloke who graffitied this shutter, ended up with a painting (chosen by Sam Cam for Obama) in the […]
Joy

R. Cooke

R. Cooke, 84 The Cut, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2001 • Very popular old Waterloo caff which shut overnight “on doctor’s orders”. And I never set foot in there. Damn.
R. Cooke

The Bacon Shop

The Bacon Shop, 6 Cambridge Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, 2009 • A shop just for bacon! It closed in 2008 but there’s a nice Flickr set of its 1970-80s glory days here.
The Bacon Shop

Byrite

Byrite, 140 Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Remember the chain Mr Byrite? It started in 1912 as hat shop Levy & Son; and here is is in […]
Byrite

Beige Plus

Beige Plus, 7 Hoop Lane, Golders Green, Borough of Barnet, London NW11, 2003 • Nice logo, but possibly not the most enticing of advertising hoardings…
Beige Plus

James Gubb

James Gubb, 85 Leather Lane, Borough of Camden, London EC1, 2011 • Superb old-fashioned butcher with superb old-fashioned name, still going strong.
James Gubb

The Tyre Shop

The Tyre Shop, 100 Balls Pond Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Not a tyre in sight, but a nice hand-crafted two-tone paint job. Later became an office of […]
The Tyre Shop

Voltaire Motors

Voltaire Motors, 2-4 Voltaire Road, Clapham, Borough of Lambeth, London SW4, 2002 • As poetic as its name, and nearly as long-gone. Later became Secondo, a glass-fronted “vintage and retro cafe-bar”.
Voltaire Motors

Capital Taxi’s

Capital Taxi’s, 28 Great Suffolk Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2001 & 2010 (bottom) • Ah, the greengrocer’s apostrophe. By 2012 just a patch of striped wall remained and the […]
Capital Taxi’s

Battista’s

Battista’s, 135a Charing Cross Road, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2001 • An unusual sponsored Pepsi cafe sign in a Victorian display font. Whole block now demolished for Crossrail.
Battista’s

Y2K

Y2K, 33 Liverpool Street, City of London, London EC2, 2006 • A video library for the new millennium – how wrong can you get.
Y2K

W.J. Jenkins

W.J. Jenkins, 81a Rochester Row, Victoria, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2005 & 2013 (bottom) • Not all traditional watchmakers have disappeared – this was still there in 2013, complete with watches […]
W.J. Jenkins

Suzanne

Suzanne, 70 Brixton Road, Oval, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • It was a sad day when this 1950s dressing table-style hairdresser, with what looks like a jungle inside, became […]
Suzanne

Harman’s

Harman’s Post Office & Savings Bank, Sutton Lane North, Chiswick, Borough of Hounslow, London W4, 2010 • Offering remarkably varied services, this old sign was still on display in 2012, along […]
Harman’s

The China China

The China China, 13 Massets Road, Horley, Surrey, 2002 • A repetitive name matching the elegant symmetrical facade. By 2012 called New China, with paint peeling, and to let.
The China China

Mr Dandy

Mr Dandy, 78 Bolton Crescent, Kennington, Borough of Lambeth, London SE5, 2001 • Bonkers and brilliant old acrylic sign which is still there at time of writing.
Mr Dandy

Gents

Gents Hairdressing for Men, 10d East Street, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • A dangerously generic title; I like the way it has to qualify its function as non-gents-toilet…
Gents

Tonys Snacks

Tonys Snacks, 7 Meymott Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2001 • This usually ornate backstreet caff (shown both closed and open) was knocked down to make way for a hotel.
Tonys Snacks

Chemist

Chemist, 182 Jamaica Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • The word chemist is falling from use; this is now a pharmacy.
Chemist

C.R. Frost & Son

C.R. Frost & Son, 60-62 Clerkenwell Road, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2002 • One of Clerkenwell’s many lost watch and clock businesses, this later became a tile showroom.
C.R. Frost & Son

Alum Food Store

Alum Food Store, 100 Harper Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2001 • Splendid hand-made sign, though possibly misspelt as the name changed to Alom when they got a “proper” one.
Alum Food Store

Farey & Sons

Farey & Sons, 37 The Cut, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Became an army surplus store with yellow plastic sign – still old-school, but much less beautiful.
Farey & Sons

Fastway Fliers

Fastway Fliers, 301 Old Sreeet, Borough of Hackney, London EC1, 2002 • Some unusual, and appropriate, Letragraphica type. Later became Cay Tre Vietnamese Kitchen.
Fastway Fliers

Dolla

Dolla Cosmetics & Hair Salon, 75 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Nice old-fashioned typography, which later got replaced with a swirly purple logo.
Dolla

Notarianni & Sons

Notarianni & Sons, 142 Battersea High Street, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Exceptionally fine 1950s diner-style facade later mainly concealed  beneath a maroon Indian restaurant fascia.
Notarianni & Sons

Frake’s Ltd Mace

Frake’s Ltd Mace, 51 Leather Lane, Borough of Camden, London EC1, 2001 & 2013 (bottom) • There’s something so quintessentially 1950s about this Mace sign. By 2013 all the black letters […]
Frake’s Ltd Mace

Westminster Sauna

Westminster Sauna, 162 Westminster Bridge Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2002 • I like to think this was thronged to the net-curtained gunnels with MPs. Later demolished to make way […]
Westminster Sauna

The Lock Centre

The Lock Centre, 8 High Street, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, 2003 • Still there, but with beige walls and bland typography replacing this rich old-school signpainting.
The Lock Centre

Santana

Santana, 61 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • You don’t get many hardware stores named after Latin-American rock fusion bands. Now with far more boring logo.
Santana

Tudor Café

Tudor Café, 325 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, 2002 • Another Pepsi cafe with an unfeasably small accent. Now unrecognisable as the less delightful Cafe Delight.
Tudor Café

Firmback Works

Firmback Works, 43 Andrews Road, Cambridge Heath, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2003 • Splendidly named thanks to its past housing a manufacturer of traditional chairs. Frontage still intact in 2012.
Firmback Works

Oval Office

Oval Office, 10 Clapham Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2005 • Used to be Oval Post Office. Now one-third of an estate agent. So things go, in London anyway.
Oval Office

Whistling Kettle

Whistling Kettle, 10 Wincolmlee, Hull, East Yorkshire, 2004 • Only the wind whistles through it now… the redundant grille adds a finishing touch of Larkinesque gloom. By 2013 it had […]
Whistling Kettle

Rheidol Rooms

Rheidol Rooms, 16 Rheidol Terrace, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2003 • Another Pepsi cafe. Apparently still there, but somewhat repainted and without the venetian blinds.
Rheidol Rooms

C.E. Pound

C.E. Pound, 162 Trafalgar Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • This art deco-ish beauty may still lurk beneath current incumbent Mr Chung’s equally large sign.
C.E. Pound

Adel Hair Fashions

Adel Hair Fashions, 204 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • One of the most beautiful facades I ever found. Unrecognisable now as Chesney’s luxury fireplace emporium.
Adel Hair Fashions

Café – Restaurant

Café – Restaurant, 187 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Boasts ridiculously tiny accent on Café. Astonishingly, this still looked exactly the same (minus flags) in […]
Café – Restaurant

Fanny Adams Unisex

Fanny Adams Unisex, 10 West Lane, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • They probably didn’t know that Fanny Adams was an 8-year-old whose murderer tore her into pieces. […]
Fanny Adams Unisex

Costa’s Barbers.

Costa’s Barbers., 165 Battersea High Street, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Infinitely preferable to a Costa coffee shop, this appeared to be undergoing refurbishment in 2012.
Costa’s Barbers.

Comfit Ltd.

Comfit Ltd, 316-318 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Does anyone still use the word “slacks”? The sign has now gone, but the general decay remains.
Comfit Ltd.

C’mon In

C’mon In, Clyde Street (under railway bridge between Saltmarket and Bridgegate), Glasgow, 2010 • Hmmm, I won’t, thanks.
C’mon In

Nuit Cleaners

Nuit Cleaners, 72 Brixton Road, Oval, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • I keep expecting this superb name to disappear but stoically it remains.
Nuit Cleaners

Robinsons

Robinsons, 48 Old Jamaica Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • Another casualty of the monolithic Bermondsey Spa development (see below).
Robinsons

Jellies Walk-In

Jellies Walk-In, 12 New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • I have no idea what this means. Became TaxAssist accountants, bicycles still not allowed.
Jellies Walk-In

Colt Bookstore

Colt Bookstore, 3 Berwick Street, Soho, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Last redoubt of the plastic strip curtain. Demolished to make way for glossy new apartments / retail.
Colt Bookstore

Hong Kong Garden

Hong Kong Garden, 22 Woolwich Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE10, 2002 • Now says New Hong Kong Garden on a garish magenta sign, but the yellow stripes beneath remain.
Hong Kong Garden