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Cappelli

Cappelli, 31 Leg Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • Delicate art nouveau tiles in old-fangled Oswestry – note also swirly mosaic step hidden beneath doormat. Perhaps it was once a dairy or grocer; […]
Cappelli

The Swan Inn

The Swan Inn, Old Orchard, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Pub sited next to the famous Poole Pottery, who supplied the tiles in 1906. Locals mounted a fight against demolition a century later; the pub […]
The Swan Inn

Glenn’s Barbers

Glenn’s Barbers, 9 St John’s Road, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Great DIY lettering on this traditional red-and-white barber. It was still the same in 2014, except the decaying cafe sign […]
Glenn’s Barbers

Caffyns

Caffyns, Corner of King Street and Little King Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • A round-towered deco garage with mossy tiled clock eternally stuck at noon. Built by two local businessmen in 1935, this development […]
Caffyns

R.M.V. Double Glazing

R.M.V. Double Glazing, 77/78 Frederick Place, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • Ostensibly a fantastically grim and unpromising building, but there’s a bit of Edwardian lettering peeping through the […]
R.M.V. Double Glazing

Metro Test

Metro Test, 182 Hercules Road, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2006 • Beautiful hand-lettered sign (note alternating direction of shadows) on railway arch MOT centre, now demolished to create smart […]
Metro Test

The Silver Sixpence

The Silver Sixpence, 12 Catford Hill, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Whimsical name for a ramshackle door-stripper that looks pieced together from scrap. By 2015 it was even more derelict.
The Silver Sixpence

J.J. Lyons

J.J. Lyons, 1a Central Parade, Western Avenue, Perivale, Borough of Ealing, London UB6, 2006 • Tradition amidst grime at the foot of a shabby walkway over a thundering trunk road. Now houses the unfortunately-named Isis hair […]
J.J. Lyons

Isats

Isats, 309 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2015 • Decaying but still shiny black ‘Brilliant’-style Vitrolite cladding on what may once have been a smart shop, but now houses Isats, […]
Isats

Jimmy’s Cafe

Jimmy’s Cafe, 56 Townmead Road, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London SW6, 2003 • Traditional corner caff opposite a crumbling riverside warehouse, which both hung on (albeit closed down) until 2008 at […]
Jimmy’s Cafe

Harringtons

Harringtons, 5 Waterloo Road, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • Local baker whose brown 1970s frontage matches the handsome parade. It had gone by 2009 (as had a Leatherhead branch) and now houses a […]
Harringtons

Sean Brennan Racing

Sean Brennan Racing, 8 New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Stylishly symmetrical windows from the motherlode of superannuation that is Worthing. Creepy circus posters seem to denote closed businesses (circuses […]
Sean Brennan Racing

Marks Cleaning

Marks Cleaning, 15-16 New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • Really not a great name for a cleaner, especially with no apostrophe. Later housed a photographer,  then a chartered accountant.
Marks Cleaning

Reg the Veg

Reg the Veg, 6 Boyce’s Avenue, Clifton, Bristol, 2015 • Cute veg vendor in posh Clifton Village. Has a fine display when open for business.
Reg the Veg

Posies

Posies, 1a Union Road,Clapham North, Borough of Lambeth,  London SW4, 2005 • Functional ex-florist; despite its pretty name, a clinical facade giving equal billing to weddings and funerals isn’t very enticing. Later became a hairdresser.
Posies

Valerie Florists

Valerie Florists, 77 High Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, 2010 • Traditional corner florist established over 40 years, boasting a decayed painting of a bouquet. It was still open in 2011, but is now a Premier Food […]
Valerie Florists

Nursery Thyme, Rabbit

Nursery Thyme, Rabbit, 2 Bridge Street, Sunderland, 2013 • Unusual herby wordplay for a kids’ shop. Note sign for Rabbit (the upside-down R right of the centre window), an early mobile network that […]
Nursery Thyme, Rabbit

Rose-anne

Rose-anne, 95 High Street, Rye, East Sussex, 2015 • Rye is full of faux retro shops, but here’s a real one. It was once a genteel ladies’ outfitter, now it’s finis, […]
Rose-anne

J.H. Pepperell (Zack)

J.H. Pepperell (Zack), 63 Great Titchfield Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2008 • Early example of hipsterish-vintage-sign-revelation (not sure of the technical term for that). It was still there […]
J.H. Pepperell (Zack)

Radio Contact Service

Radio Contact Service, 12 The Parade, A217, Burgh Heath, Banstead, Surrey, 2001 • Tiny Christmas tree in stark industrial-style windowlet, an engineer’s attempt at festivity that resembles a contemporary art installation. The frontage was […]
Radio Contact Service

Blends

Blends, 16 High Street, Caterham, Surrey CR3, 2001 • Aaah, net curtains, condensation and fairy lights – essence of Christmas caff past. The business is still there, but the net is not.
Blends

Five Star Taxis

Five Star Taxis, 1a London Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2012 • Bright yet bleak seasonal message. The last online sighting was a bad review two years ago, and their website is cybersquatted, so […]
Five Star Taxis

HK House

HK House, 12a Russell Street, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2012 • Interesting building with functional festive offering. Apparently it was a good Chinese restaurant, but Tripadvisor reports it as closed – here it is […]
HK House

Superbuys

Superbuys, 66 High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Elephantiasis-afflicted Santa resting against a bargain store. Ho ho ho!
Superbuys

Bennetts

Bennetts, 117 High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Attractive deco shop unit, which actually looks like a Christmas tree – so much more welcoming with its curved entrance and warm, elegant windows than the […]
Bennetts

L. Fern & Co.

L. Fern & Co., 27 Rathbone Place, City of Westminster, London W1, 2001 • Oh, if only I had taken more than one snatched shot of this venerable coffee merchant, here sporting […]
L. Fern & Co.

Rainbow, Kababish

Rainbow, Kababish, 1161, 1163 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Colourful and quirky frontages punctuating Govan’s endless grubby redstone, part of a Creative Shop Fronts Project by local improvement […]
Rainbow, Kababish

Roslyn

Roslyn, 42 Nutfield Road, Merstham, Surrey, 2002 • Rosy deco-pilastered coiffeuse, possibly run by Ros and Lyn. By 2008 it had become the boringly blue and curtain-less Affinity Hair & Beauty.
Roslyn

Pink

Pink, 44 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2005 • In case you hadn’t guessed, the current mini-theme is … pink. This roseate boutique later became eau-de-nil eaterie Café del Marsh.
Pink

Little House

Little House, 545 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • A little pink house with 29 window panes and seven golden lights, though by 2008 they were tarnished and tumbling. […]
Little House

The Old Calcutta

The Old Calcutta, 64a Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • Old-school pink Indian; sadly this ornate style seems to have fallen from favour. It’s now the blank-faced Oval […]
The Old Calcutta

Rasa Samudra

Rasa Samudra, 5 Charlotte Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Bearing out a famous quote by Vogue fashion editor Diana Vreeland, who in 1962 stated “Pink is the navy blue […]
Rasa Samudra

C&W Global Ltd

C&W Global Ltd, 283 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2011 • Lovely pink baggage emporium with once-grand entrance, now bland white and hidden by massive plastic sign saying Angel Bags.
C&W Global Ltd

English West Indian

English West Indian, 227 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Nice old glass number, which is still there, though the business isn’t. The frontage is now green with net […]
English West Indian

Bank of Baroda

Bank of Baroda, 30B Commercial Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • Functional bank facade with nice 1960s-style logo (bottom). By 2008 it had a plasticky new orange livery but […]
Bank of Baroda

Northern Rock

Northern Rock, 214-216 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • This seemed boring at the time but I was attracted by the neglected-looking logo. Who could have guessed that such  faded suburban dullness […]
Northern Rock

Englishman’s Castle

Englishman’s Castle, 9-17 Church Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Purveyor of Surrey-style furnishings for over 50 years, and still there, albeit with updated logo.  There’s a vid of the interior […]
Englishman’s Castle

Alan’s

Alan’s, 61 High Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Nice hand-made type for traditional florist. They have a website, but it says “Alan’s Florist Shop … is currently closed after many years […]
Alan’s

Alans Naturally

Alans Naturally, 13 South Street, Hull, 2013 • Old-school loose goods purveyor next door to yesterday’s Alan’s Fruiterers, and presumably the same Alan, albeit without apostrophe. Both shops are still there – […]
Alans Naturally

J. Hull & Co.

J. Hull & Co., 128 Kingsland High Street, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2004 • Traditional net shop which only disappeared in 2014 – you can see its closing down sale here. Reflecting the area’s […]
J. Hull & Co.

The Cleveland

The Cleveland, corner of Paradise Street and Price Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Next to the Seamen’s Dispensary (gone) and opposite the Gordon Smith Institute for Seamen (to be redeveloped), this functional boozer catered to a salty […]
The Cleveland

Nameless 1882 shop

Nameless 1882 shop, 15 Cleveland Square, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Completing the Cleveland Square triumvirate of Rober L’Pool Ltd and Hollinshead & Walker, this handsomely dilapidated Victorian building was in […]
Nameless 1882 shop

R. Savage

R. Savage, Vandries Street (back of 5-7 Vulcan Street), Liverpool L3, 2008 • Wonderful names – Savage! Vulcan! – in a bit of Merseyside docklands that’s still relatively intact. This remains unchanged, […]
R. Savage

Cafe

Cafe, corner of Henry Street and Suffolk Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Wonky hand-lettering for this generic cafe, which was still a derelict corner in 2014, despite being almost in the city […]
Cafe

Sans’ Cafe

Sans’ Cafe, 2 Lightbody Street, Liverpool 3, 2008 • A famous greasy spoon for 40 years, albeit sans apostrophe knowledge. Owner Tseng Chikhao died in 2014; there’s a great article here. The […]
Sans’ Cafe

San-San

San-San, 59 Lime Street, Liverpool, 2003 • My last example of neon from Liverpool Chinatown’s traditional restaurants – a breed that are slipping away, as they have done in London. This one […]
San-San

China City

China City, 48 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Austere by Chinatown standards, but I like the plasticky faux marble. These days it has no neon, looks even more functional, […]
China City

Chow’s House

Chow’s House, 26 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Traditional neon welcome that was still the same in 2014, but there are no reviews on Tripadvisor so the restaurant has presumably closed down.
Chow’s House

North Garden Restaurant

North Garden Restaurant, 30 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Liverpool’s Chinatown used to have decorative frontages with nice neon, but signage has got more functional over the years. This restaurant is still there, but the neon […]
North Garden Restaurant

The Nook

The Nook, 7 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Blimey, there’s a light on in there. Once renowned as Britain’s only ‘Chinese’ pub (interesting memoir by a 1960s bartender here), this scary-looking boozer […]
The Nook

Ma Bo

Ma Bo, 16 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Legendary old-school restaurant in Liverpool’s Chinatown, which has been going over 40 years and still looks the same. It gets generally excellent reviews for […]
Ma Bo

The Lux Company

The Lux Company, 50 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Name redolent of a 1980s new romantic pop group and design redolent of a 1980s Time Out travel ad. The internet means […]
The Lux Company

Donor Kebab House

Donor Kebab House, 36 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • There’s something rather delicate about this sign, it looks more like a knitting shop. Now, I think, Hot Chillis halal […]
Donor Kebab House