To The Weir, Lee’s Bakery, 107-109 Terrace Road, Walton on Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Enigmatic sign that’s not a reference to Virginia Woolf, but nearby Courage pub The Weir. It’s alongside […]
Gene Pearl (Buttons) Ltd., 2 Bridge Road, Willesden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2004 • Apt name for a buttoneer, which sounds like a rock’n’roll singer, and looks like concrete poetry. It was […]
Dane, JP Filtration Ltd, 133-135 High Street, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2007 • Doggy tiled ghost sign (incorporating graffiti fart) from an ink company specialising in fluorescents, which left […]
Strand Station, Kingston Show, Photos, 171 Strand, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2003 • Despite the name this was actually Aldwych tube station, which closed for good in 1994. It’s often used for filming […]
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; […]
Worlds Stores (Richmond House), 18 High Street, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Tiled ghost sign for a pre-supermarket chain of grocers. There’s an informative thread on Kent History here including a recentish […]
Sing Lee Fish & Chips, 39 Guildford Road, Brighton, East Sussex, 2004 • Tiled oriental chippie with vintage Cooper Black Italic sign, unchanged by 2015.
G. & K. Sanders Fish Merchant, 39 High Street, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, 2013 • Old tiled fish on a premises that’s been a fishmongers for 70 years. In 2015 G. & K. Sanders made […]
Fredk E. Gillett Ltd., 183 Vauxhall Bridge Road, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2007 • Ex-paint shop with illustrated tiles (see bottom pics) in prime central London, now presumably a […]
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 […]
Aysel & Aysel Souvenirs, St Anne’s Church, 67 Shaftesbury Avenue, […]
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 […]
National Westminster House, 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, 2014 • Fine brutalist pile with a sculpted metal portal based on the Natwest logo. Designed by John Madin, it opened in 1975 as a National […]
London Navaids, Playwell, Sheraton Business Centre, 33-34 Wadsworth Road, Perivale, Borough of Ealing, London UB6, 2006 • Angular spire on a decaying art deco business centre. The whole industrial estate is very […]
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 […]
The Robert Sinclair Tobacco Coy Ltd, Blenheim House, 245-7 Westgate Road, Newcastle, 2013 • Est 1836 and once a major firm, Sinclair’s was noted for blends such as Ladies Twist, […]
Tobacco & Cigars (Thirtyone), 31 Kingsbury, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, 2010 • Huge carcinogenic ghost sign, which remains in place while the restaurant below changes.
Rogers & Son Famous for Fish & Chips, 43 St Peter’s Road, Great Yarmouth, Suffolk, 2007 • Est 1923 and fame notwithstanding, this boastily bonkers emporium was boarded up when I passed by, so […]
The Posh Banger Boys, Borough Market, Stoney Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2015 • Doesn’t look that posh to me; and in fast-changing Borough Market, it’ll be something else […]
Insurelink Financial Services Ltd, 176 London Road North, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Grand green and white chambers, somewhat let down by utilitarian windows. Last spotted on Google in 2012.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
JS (Locksmiths) Ltd, 1 King Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Rustic frontage with thorny DIY logo. It’s still there, with brickwork now smartly painted yellow – how fab.
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
South Merstham Pharmacy., 55 Nutfield Road, Merstham, Surrey, 2002 • Cute and useful 1960s-throwback post office-cum-pharmacy. It’s now a bland Day Lewis pharmacy with no postie (although the mosaic remains).
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
Happy Shopper (J.R. Blanche), 74 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • And here, for the sake of completeness, is what the J.R. Blanche Happy Shopper looked like […]
Import & Export (J.R. Blanche), 76 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • This anonymous import-export business with brutal redactions is what J.R. Blanche looked like 15 years ago. […]
J.R. Blanche (Happy Shopper), 76 & 74 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2015 • Blimey, even minimarts are revealing hipsterish legacy signs now – believe it or not, this is part […]
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 […]
Ex-shop, corner Rennie Street and Stamford Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2001 • Abject festive window, incorporating faded giant wasps.
Christmas Store, Charlotte Place, City of Westminster, London W1, 2001 • Depressing post-Christmas sales ahoy!
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Superbuys, 66 High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Elephantiasis-afflicted Santa resting against a bargain store. Ho ho ho!
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 […]
Central Express Dry Cleaners, 151 Camberwell New Road,Borough of Southwark, London SE5, 2001 • Grim yet intrinsically Christmassy with its green and red colourway. By 2015 it was to let.
Capital Drycleaning, 5e High Street, Caterham, Surrey CR3, 2001 • Depressing, yet festive – clothes hangers as tinselly Christmas tree.
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 […]
Freshly Maid Cafe, 79 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2003 • Hot Nasty – yum. Last gasp of the retro-signaged Freshly Maid Cafe. This seemingly jinxed corner site has since been […]
Miss Selfridge, 36-38 Great Castle Street (viewed from Great Portland Street), City of Westminster, London W1, 2001 • Striking pink ‘Cool Britannia’ CD Union Jack window. The displays are much […]
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 […]
The Shorepairers The Dry Cleaners, 15 Berwick Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2002 • Not the world’s catchiest name. It later became simply Soho Dry Cleaners, and painted blue.
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.
Star Supply Stores (Raphael Crafts), 119 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Raphael Crafts have since restored the Star Supplies Store sign in black and gold – you can see it here. A […]
J.T.E. (PTRS) Engineers & Contractors, 311-314 Whapload Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Rustic-looking engineering premises in a row of old pink and grey warehouses. By 2012 they were all white and J.T.E. was, presumably, no […]
Red & White Laundries Laundrette, 59 The Cut, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2001 & 2006 • Pink sign for a Red & White Laundrette. The logo later got taped over (bottom […]
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.
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
The Old Bank (Cuban House Wildlife Rescue Charity Shop), High […]
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 […]
Yorkshire Bank (Middlesbrough), 303-7 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, 2013 • There’s nice steel detailing on this, which looks early 1960s. Yorkshire Bank is still going, though owned by National Australia Bank, who […]
Westminster Bank Limited, Kennington Park Road, Lambeth, London SE11, 2001 • Founded 1834, lasted till 1970 then became National Westminster. It’s still there, though the car isn’t – it’s my trusty […]
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 […]
Mark Fisher Man’s Shop, 26 The Centre, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • More Profil, in Walton’s now-demolished 1960s shopping mall – there’s a photo of it in context here, with some pics of The Centre […]
Croft & Maitland, The Balti Express, 44 & 46 High Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Every town needs its Profil sign, though it’s not there any more. Croft & Maitland […]
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 […]
W.E.H. Nunns Mens Wear, 16 Bridge Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • No-nonsense menswear emporium which looks like it had seen better days. Note classic lighted ‘ties’ sign inside. By 2009 it […]
Building Supplies Ltd, 49-51 High Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Classic fleapit-era tiled retail unit sold for redevelopment around 2015. You can see it still open in 2014 here.
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 […]
Allen Carpets, Fisher Hairdressing, Screaming Skull Tattoo & Body Piercing, […]
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 – […]
Alan’s Fruiterers, 9 South Street, Hull, 2013 • Immense and striking faux fruit machine frontage in Hull, famed (sort of) for its now-artsy fruit market district.
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 […]
Clifford Shirt M’f’g. Co. Ltd., 37-43 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • ‘Royal’, what an evocative area code! This is my last Liverpool shopfront for now, in the red and green […]
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 […]
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 […]
Rober L’Pool Ltd, 14 Cleveland Square, Liverpool L1, 2003 • A neighbour of of Hollinshead & Walker, with mysterious truncated name. Became stylish dog grooming parlour Dog One.
Hollinshead & Walker, Harry Haworth (Glassware) Ltd., 16-17 Cleveland Square, […]
Europleasure International Ltd, 2-8 Duke Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 and 2013 • A name, like The Lux Company, that’s straight out of James Bond. This was derelict for ages, and looked much the […]
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, […]
I.B.S. Merseyside Ltd, 72 Waterloo Road (between Regent Street and Porter Street), Liverpool L3, 2008 • Interesting hand lettering with Ws like upside-down Ms and an 18th-century look. Google reckons […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Nameless green Chinese shop, Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Attractive decaying paint job in lucky Chinese colours. Now a house.
Oriental Food Wholesale & Retail, 31 Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • I can’t find a 31 Nelson Street now, so maybe it got knocked down.
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 […]
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 […]