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Olympic Airways

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 Airways

Cafe Olympic

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 […]
Cafe Olympic

Vinces Snack Bar

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 […]
Vinces Snack Bar

Sima Tandoori

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 […]
Sima Tandoori

Hel’s Kitchen

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 […]
Hel’s Kitchen

Yes Win No Fee

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 […]
Yes Win No Fee

Avis Windscreens

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 […]
Avis Windscreens

Medina

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. […]
Medina

L. Lambert

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, […]
L. Lambert

Bag Shop

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 […]
Bag Shop

Whirlpool

Whirlpool, 124 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Still there but with ‘modern’ logo, boo hoo.  
Whirlpool

Tikis Hairdressers

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 […]
Tikis Hairdressers

About the blog

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

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 […]
Spotless

The Take-Away Bar

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. […]
The Take-Away Bar

Tasty Café

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 […]
Tasty Café

Thames Electronics

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.
Thames Electronics

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