Silvertown Motel, 1-3 Silvertown Way, Canning Town, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2002 • It looked even more depressing before they painted it blue. Long since knocked down and replace […]
Peter Dicker, 3 Alma Parade, 108 Chaldon Road, Caterham, Surrey, 2001 • Final closure for a trad green greengrocer which, along with neighbour Avery Butcher, got replaced by a beauty […]
ST Signs, 294 Grays Inn Road, Clerkenwell, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • Wonderful old school sign shop offering light boxes, neon, window etching etc. By 2012 half had […]
Secondhand Racers, 231 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2003 • Apparently that’s a Triumph Vitesse. By 2016 the building was not so colourful, and selling used taxi tyres.
Flakes Catering, 46 Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Old geezer meets trad signwriting. Later became a Labour party office.
Star Furnishing, 165-175 Stoke Newington Road, Borough of Hackney, London N16, 2002 • Mid-century signage on a vast furniture emporium that wouldn’t quite fit in my 2002 digital camera’s lens. […]
Concourse Burger Bar, Concourse House, Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Hand-drawn mixed messages on Scouse burger bar. The entire building was demolished to build new offices some time after […]
Sea Spray, 18 High Street, St Margarets Buildings, Rottingdean, East Sussex, 2004 • Classic seaside caff facade with deck chair fabric awnings and lone Scottie dog tile. In business for 67 years […]
Late Bland (M&R Meats), 399 St John Street, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2002 • Tiled ghost sign on traditional butcher. By 2014 it was called Turner & George.
S.&V. Knitwear, L. London & Sons, Alie Street, Shoreditch, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • Beautiful art deco-looking ghost clock on a derelict knitwear factory, which has since […]
M.A.M. Auto • 23 Midland Road, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2002 • Garages down the side of St Pancras station, in its days ofgrimy pre-restoration grandeur.
H.W. Cooper, Willow Walk, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Colourful sign collage on a glass and perspex works. By 2017 the wonky drainpipes were still there, but […]
Neal’s Corner Sandwich Shop, 1 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, Borough of Camden, London WC2, 2003 • Named after Neal Street, not a bloke called Neal. In fact, this entire corner […]
W.J. Cox & Sons, 37 High Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Battered tobacconist with ghost sign saying “Established 1863” and a deep arcade entrance. A contemporary gallery later moved in and […]
Beatties (House of Fraser), 71-78 Victoria Sreet, Wolverhampton WV1, 2016 • Beatties is a defunct Midlands store chain that grew from a drapery business founded in 1877; all branches have […]
Imperial Cinema (Peugeot Crawley Down), 5 Brighton Road, Crawley, West Sussex, 2002 • Car showroom behind the facade of a 1928 movie theatre, which closed after WW2. The dealership has now gone […]
Imperial Wines, 2 Battersea Park Road, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW11, 2002 • Strange pink mock Tudor building, with which this ornate Edwardian frontage was presumably contemporary. Amazingly by 2008 […]
Luigi of Mayfair, 55 High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, 2005 • Luigi of Mayfair of Shoreham, complete with random word-spacing – the essence of 1950s gentility. Not surprisingly it’s long-gone; […]
City Confectionery, 105 Shoreditch High Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2006 & 2002 • Maybe the flat-dweller crept in under the angled shutter. The top photo is from 2006, when it […]
Odds & Sods, 81 Goldsmiths Row, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Amusingly uncompromising name, with the qualification that “almost” anything is traded (including E.C.T.) – that’s quite a get-out […]
E. Watson & Son & Daughter, The Joiners Arms, 120 & 116-118 […]
Daniel Lewis & Son Ltd T/A W.H. Clark, 493-495 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Established in 1797 as Presland & Sons, and boasting a 19th century double-height […]
Familywear, 10 Station Road, Redhill, Surrey, 1981 • A 1950s-looking shop closed down by the 1980s. And that’s the last ancient photo for now.
Causette, circa Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, 1981 • Faded 1960s-style cafe facade rocking Profil font, and doubtless offering unappetising old-school espresso. I don’t know what’s there now, but it was […]
Cyber Café, Unit 1, New Broadway, Tarring Road, Worthing, West Sussex, 1999 • Hand-painted digital type meets 1960s mosaic on this sad closed down internet cafe. By 2015 the unit housed Attic Solutions, […]
Empire Milk Bar, Picadilly Circus Tube Station, City of Westminster, London W1, 1988 • True fact – there was a 1930s-style milk bar operational in the orange-columned depths of Piccadilly Circus tube […]
Olympia Dining Rooms, 5-6 Wincott Parade, Kennington Road, Kennington, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 1988 • An original ‘Dining Rooms’ photographed just as it was closing down. Who knew that […]
Floorcraft, 20a Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • DIY sign-painting meets mini-grandeur. Now houses Oxford Street Books.
Falcon Print Transport, 310 High Street, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • Mini art deco print transport HQ, next to the fabulous West Ham Labour Party building. Now […]
Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.
G. Smith & Sons, 74 Charing Cross Road, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2011 • I thought this ancient snuff specialist would always be there, but it closed unceremoniously in 2011 with […]
H. Tidiman, 57 Broadway Market, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2006 • Part of Ben ‘Eine‘ Flynn’s original 2005-6 shop shutter graffiti alphabet, in this case reading B for Butcher. You […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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, […]
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. […]
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!
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 green Chinese shop, Nelson Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Attractive decaying paint job in lucky Chinese colours. Now a house.