New Happy Swan, 120 Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, Borough of Haringey, London N10, 2016 • Old happy paint job in Muswell Hill’s distinctive St James’s Parade, by Edwardian developer James […]
Hotel Splendide, 25 Mornington Crescent, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • You couldn’t make this up. But in fact it was made up, because according to the Shady Old Lady […]
New and S/Hand Tyres, 115 Dulwich Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE24, 2001 • Textures of yellow with beautiful old signwriting. Later moved upmarket to house “heritage inspired” clothes label […]
Sai News, 138 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Nameless ex-newsie with painterly pink palimpsest wall and elegant stroller who looks like he’s posing for a cavalier […]
Dino’s Travel & Holidays, 11 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • How times change – that bloke would be reading a phone today. Flyposting obliterates the name of this ex-Greek […]
Allworthy Bros, 13, 15 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • “Money advanced on pictures, bronzes, violins &c &c” says this wonderful old pawnbroker’s sign above a Dickensian-looking yard […]
F.T.T.D, Joiners Shopfitters Builders, 20 Tanner’s Hill, Deptford. Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Ex-shopfitter’s enlivened by a quaint Victorian-style pointing hand sign (aka a manicule). It was for now-defunct signmakers Find […]
Chapel Furnitures, 4 Browning Street, Walworth, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Giant hand sign on charming chapel for the unusually-pluralised Chapel Furnitures (maybe the singular version’s web domain had […]
Best Wishes, 13 Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Ex-gift shop, now ex-charity shop, whose ghost sign has – like yesterday’s shop – a rather Edwardian feel. Note crowns on door handle […]
Nameless chinoiserie shop, 29 Guildhall Street, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • This has a look of Edwardian chinoiserie about it, so I prefer to think it’s an ex-gown shop rather than a […]
The Duke of Cambridge, 26 Bloomfield Road, Plumstead, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • The pub has gone, but the sign remains. Here’s the block of flats that replaced it. It […]
Engineers Builders Merchants Ironfounders, Station Street, Brighton, West Sussex, 2004 and 2014 • Boarded up when I visited in 2004 and 2014, but with the beautiful tiled typography still intact. […]
Nameless record shop, 105 St James Street, Brighton, West Sussex, 2004 and 2014 • Rather mysterious nameless record shop which shortly after the 2014 photos were taken became Fairydust Bakery. In the […]
www uk, 280 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • I like the road number on the brackets. Whatever the www was, they didn’t want you to […]
Zenith Fancy Goods (A2Z Smoking Products Ltd), 42 Goulston Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2014 (top), 2010 (bottom) • Grand brackets and creepy graffiti for ex-fancy goods outlet […]
Eine F, Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • One of the original batch of shop shutter letters by Ben Eine, who later had a work […]
Nameless green Thai shop, 129 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2013, 2010, 2016 • A miscellany of painterly disguises have graced this anonymous storage unit for the Chinese and Thai restaurants on […]
Ex Singer & Singer, Fairfax House, Fairfax Place, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Now for some notable nameless shops. The integrated clock in this grand empty unit suggests it may once have […]
The Regent, 331 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Grand doorway somewhat let down by plastic canopy. Aptly, it’s flanked by a door shop. […]
Roletta Ltd, King Edward Hall, 335-337 Regents Park Road, Finchley Central, Borough of Barnet, London N3, 2016 • Rosy Art Nouveau transom lights in a rather Charles Rennie Mackintosh style, […]
Ex-shop with sunray windows, 161 Camberwell New Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE5, 2001 • Art deco transom lights are the only remnant of this shop, which was still the […]
376, 376 Forest Road, Walthamstow, Borough of Waltham Forest, London E17, 2004 • Only the net curtains remain in this traditional green shop, which I’d guess was once a cafe. […]
M.J. Davies, 10 New King Street, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Stripey ghost sign for what may have been a dairy (they often had Welsh names). Looks […]
Market Sweet Stores, 22 Wilcox Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW8, 2004 • Ghost sign for a sweet shop revealed in a traditional Portuguese enclave near Vauxhall. Now Ourivesaria Portugal, a jeweller.
Barclays Bank (Temple Fortune), 802-806 Finchley Road, Borough of Barnet, London NW11, 2016 • Old-style marble and gold Barclays eagle on a branch with a name straight out of the Hobbit, in […]
Ex-Barclays Bank (Sutton), 238 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, 2002 • Aah, textures of grey and the ghost of an old-style Barclays Bank eagle logo.
HSBC (Hockley), 168 Warstone Lane, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B18, 2005 • Lovely little bank with Victorian sculpture above the door, which is still the same now. One source says it dates from 1892 […]
Jedediah Strutt shop, corner of Exchange Street and St Peters Street, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Empty Grade II listed former Boots building (info here) with statues of four notable locals. […]
Dawn Crystal, 3 HighStreet, Amblecote, Stourbridge, West Midlands, 2016 • Cute old shop opposite the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge, a West Midlands town that was once the world centre of the cut glass […]
RJ’s Barbers, 28 Hockley Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingam B18, 2005 • Traditional barber, back in 1 hour… and he’s still there, with good reviews on Google.
Repos, arch next to 26a Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5, 2014 • Fragment of beautiful signwriting revealed on palimpsest gate under imposing railway viaduct.
Tyres Tyres (FWR), 330 Kennington Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Unusual cross-shaped ghost sign for tyres, situated above motorcycle parts shop FWR. The sign had disappeared by 2008.
Green boarded shop, 294-292 Kennington Park Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Boarded-up shop, a symphony in greens. Now Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, part of Kennington’s ever-growing nest of […]
Cat & Cucumber Café, 182 Tower Bridge Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Nice name, wayward accent, grim rear aspect. Popular and still-extant greasy spoon once immortalised in […]
Gray and Lowe, 91 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Amazing giant sign with random letter spacing. Their “blog-site” says they’ve been going […]
Vivian Patisserie, 62 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Its patisserie identity seems to predate the Chinese cafe within. Back in 2008 it was […]
Bransdon (CB News), 86 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Identikit newsagent-cum-homeless shelter retaining ghost sign for a previous occupant; you can see […]
White Horse, 31 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Pub which has shrunk to its former saloon bar – the rest now being the supermarket […]
Shepherd and Flock, 84 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Built 1869, a traditional Irish sports pub hanging on in an area popular with […]
A. Cooke’s, Joe Coral (Fabric House Ltd), 48, 46 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Founded 1899, and located at this address since 1934, […]
S.G. Skinner, 14 Church Street, Hereford, Herefordshire, 2008 • No longer offering high class footwear repairs, this appears to be a charity shop dedicated to saving neolithic trackway the Rotherwas Ribbon. By […]
W.G. Miller, 93-95 Essex Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 • The kind of funeral parlour that does horse-drawn hearses. This handsome black facade would have been traditional even when […]
W.G. Pillar & Co., 1 Lower Street, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Like a souvenir shop newly minted from the 1950s – but still there 2015. Note stop sign incorporated into […]
Dartmouth Boating Centre, 6S Embankment, Dartmouth, Devon, 2013 • Classic old-school ‘flying clothes’ display and almost-but-not-quite Profil font. The letters continued falling off, and by 2015 it was called Artmouth Boating […]
Stuarts, 75 High Street Whitstable, Kent, 2002 (top) and 85 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent 2004 (bottom) • Flowery plastic branding carried all the way through their decor. The Whitstable branch […]
Grants, 32 Earlsdon Sreet, Coventry, Warwickshire, 2013 • Minimalistic plastic elegance for this 1960s-style hairdressing facade, still there in 2015.
Grant’s Fish Bar, 14 Upper High Street, Epsom, Surrey, 2002 • Notable for its mutant fish illustration. By 2015 it was chicken joint Maxy Express.
Nanny Janet’s, 22 Milton Road, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Unusual family-based name for a burger bar.
Granny’s Kitchen, 38 Westoe Road, South Shields, 2013 • Shiny black plastic for Granny. What a pity the shutters were down on the day I passed by, it’s all curtained […]
Gio’s Kitchen, 79 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2004 • The windows look like a Sarah Lucas artwork and the flag couldn’t save it. One of many short-lived cafes on this […]
Giovanni’s Room Wine Bar, 42 Theobalds Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Faded 1970s chalet chic with name like a dodgy erotic novel – love the standalone door awning. I’ve already published its […]
Giovanni Hair Artiste, Cosmo Chicken Bar, 936, 934 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Ambitious titles meet random plastic typography and very old coke branding. Still there in 2015, though it […]
Collins & Jervie, 32 Sycamore Road, Amersham, Buckinghamshire • There are some interesting modernist houses around Amersham so I hoped it would be a trove of old shop signs. But […]
Coe Electrical, 132 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Looks like the plug was pulled decades ago on this old-style electrical shop. By 2015 it was unrecognisable as Sew Fabric.
Fenhams, 119 and 11c Grainger Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2005 • Beautiful 1960s sign for this electonics stall – not sure if it’s there any more.
John Turnbull, 483 Anlaby Road, Kingston upon Hull, 2005 • Bullish old newsie with eponymous plastic illustration, seen from bus. Later became Babylon Supermarket.
Book’s, 230 High Street, Gateshead, Tyneside, 2005 • Not a bookshop or a typo, it’s a fashion shop run by someone named Book (and shot in the dark and rain). I […]
Ian Munro, 10 High Street, Dorking, Surrey, 2002 • Marble and script for a men’s outfitter founded in 1956. This would have been an expensive shopfront in its day; the labyrinthine […]
Welcome to Super Azarbayjan, 65 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2007 • Surely one of the best shop names ever. By 2012 it was a hip-looking shop with […]
Camden £1 Shop, 35 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • Rush hour for £1 items, including toilettries and stationeries. Currently an ice cream-cum-phone shop.
Camera Care, 20 Hanway Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2005 • The number’s so old it’s got a burglar alarm stuck over it. Part of a hippyish enclave behind Oxford Street […]
Sunshine Cafe, 36 Hanway Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2003 • Cheerful back alley jerk joint hindered by London downpour. Later became Vinyl Bar, and developers knocked the other side […]
Biman, 49 Counduit Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2016 • A Mayfair airline office that’s still there, with classic 1960s-style sign – they’ve even got the regulation model plane.
Gulf Air, 10 Albemarle Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2004 • Another ex-airline office dating from the pre-mega-bling era of Mayfair. By 2015 this one was a Paul Smith menswear shop.
Olympic Airways, 11 Conduit Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2015 • Current state of a once-proud airline office, with classic plastic logo. Here it is open in 2008. There used to […]
Olympic Private Hire, 153 Kingston Road, Borough of Merton, London SW19, 2010 • The kind of business that Uber is now seeing off. By 2015 it was a closed-down florist.
Olympic Internet Cafe, 24 West Ham Lane, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Not the most exciting shopfront, but a nice hand-painted sign with old-style phone. And just look at […]
Cafe Olympic, 156 The Grove, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Pallid colours on their way out. It’s now Babylon Kebabs, but in 2014 you can see an […]
Olympic Bar Sandwich Restaurant, 130 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2003 (top), 2010 (middle), 2011 (bottom) • Chinese take-away boasting various wonky title hierarchies over the years: Olympic Bar Sandwich Restaurant (or […]
Vassos Shoe Repairs, 47 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Talk about waiting for the other shoe to drop; this was still there in 2015 but with right shoe gone, […]
Vinces Snack Bar, 61 Red Lion Street, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2003 • Genuinely classic cafe, just crying out for an apostrophe. Apparently the period formica interior was ripped out […]
Sima Tandoori, 295 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • I’d love to know what the statue and neon figures represent – Hindu deities or just people offering greetings? By 2008 all […]
Hel’s Kitchen, Anchor Bay Industrial Estate, Manor Road, Erith, Kent, 2014 • Surely all food is hot in Hell? (Although it’s not that hellish, it’s got a food hygiene rating of […]
Marks & Spencer Simply Fool, Moto, Pinewood Service Station, Reading Road, Reading, Berkshire, 2011 • A simple but effective jape. Still makes me laugh when I see that sign, even […]
Yes Win No Fee, 451-3 North Circular Road, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2014 • Hard-to-parse name for a dispiriting modern service. The heavily armoured door is a relic of previous occupant National […]
Avis Windscreens, 1 Creekside, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • DIY hand-painted gate on the garage which hosted (and covered up) yesterday’s old Medina sign. It is now Greenwich MOT Centre, with […]
Medina, 1 Creekside, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • A 1910s-looking typeface, advertising who knows what – but I’d guess auto related, as this is a long-standing garage site. […]
L. Lambert, 23-25 Hoxton Street, Borough of Hackney, London N1, 2002 (top), 2011 (bottom) • Ex-timber merchant with ‘JFB 1892’ etched into the concrete brackets. By 2002 it was closed down, […]
Victory Telecom The Phone Shop, 1 Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 2002 • Remains of a painted confectionery / tobaccos sign on anonymous premises that my researches suggest is Victory Telecom The […]
Bag Shop, Union Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 2002 • Idiosyncratic and somewhat hippyish hand-made signs from the Isle of Wight – even the door gets labelled. Unusually I didn’t […]
Whirlpool, 124 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Still there but with ‘modern’ logo, boo hoo.
Stretched Fabric Systems, 68a Compton Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2008 • Not sure what this means, but now it’s gone: by 2012 it was Whistle Dry Cleaners.
MF Design, Miracle Signs and Wonders Ministries, White Hart Lane, […]
Tikis Hairdressers, 49 Old Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 • Wibbly hand-drawn sunbed text on local hair salon, next to yesterday’s Spotless cleaners. By 2015 it was […]
Welcome to Shopfront Elegy, which has a new image added every other day. Menus are at the bottom; click on a tag – net curtains, arches or whatever – and you’ll get a grid of images on that topic. To see all places and years covered, use the drop-down category menu. Click any image for the full post plus comments etc.
Spotless, 51 Old Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2006 (top), 2007 • Classic cleaner’s name in eccentric acrylic lettering. A year later it had a new look, although […]
Worthing Lido Coffee Bar, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, 2002 • Hand-painted signs from the days when no-one had a mobile phone, which also reveal a transition from ‘Coffee Bar’ (presumably too […]
The Take-Away Bar, 84 Southwark Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2003 • Old-fashioned name in a grim 1960s block just behind Tate Modern, dating from the era when it was a backwater power station. […]
Tasty Café, 72 St John Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Surely the greatest generic name of them all. Features somewhat unenthusiastically on Classic Cafes, while Food Urchin describes […]
Web Sites £100 N Up, circa 246 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Websites sold via lamp post, four years before Facebook opened to the public. No […]
Designer Web Site’s, circa 26 Kingsland Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2002 • Ah, the heady days when websites (or should that be web site’s) were sold via flyposters […]
Thames Electronics, 244 Battersea Bridge Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Imposing haven of now-obsolete tech which by 2012 had modernised into a computer repairer, but was closed by 2015.
The Sir John Franklin, 269 East India Dock Road, Poplar, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E14, 2006 • Unlovely boozer built near Blackwall Tunnel’s hell-mouth in 1963; this Manns sign looks […]
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.