20 Fore Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Incredibly ornate ex-pharmacy repurposed as fashion outlet. The early 20th century fascia is listed for its magnificent carved woodwork by the Belgian refugee M. Cullmans. Amazingly, it was […]
Roomes, 41-49 Station Road, Upminster, Borough of Havering, London RM14, 2016 • Immense deco-tiled store still in operation. The homeware firm Roomes was founded in 1888 this is their 1927 branch […]
Towers, 31 High Street, Hornchurch, Borough of Havering, London RM11, 2016 • Hard to believe, but this stunning 1935 ex-cinema is due for demolition. Lidl, who plan to replace it […]
Oakville Care Centre, 3 Badcox, Frome, Somerset, 2015 • Beautiful old stone heads decorating a boring shop. Titles include Summer, Mirth, Peace, Plenty, and one that’s unreadable. It’s part of Badcox […]
Denhams, 1 High Street, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • High street jeweller with grand golden mosaic (which is repeated round the corner). Denhams was there for 50 years, but recently taken over […]
Barclays (Loughborough), 3 Market Place, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • Stern Stalinist-style neoclassical eagle plaque for proud local financial hub. I just love bespoke old bank buildings.
Wildt Mellor Bromley (Roti House), c.431 St. Saviours Road, Leicester LE5, 2016 • Imposing deco edifice that was once home to one of the world’s largest knitting machine manufacturers, which hit […]
Corona Machine Tool Works, 300 St. Saviours Road, Leicester LE5, 2016 • There’s no one left to raise the flags at this ornate works, sadly. Built in 1911 to a design by […]
Fashion House Ltd, Wakerley Centre, Margaret Road (off Gwendolen Road), Leicester LE5, 2016 • Bonkers mini-castle in a fascinating and unusual suburb developed by Leicester philanthropist/architect Arthur Wakerley, who pioneered council […]
Hamidiye Camii, 16 Great Central Street, Leicester LE1 , 2016 • Attractive Victorian commercial building with later top floor, now housing a Turkish mosque. It’s near to grand ex-Central Street […]
Odeon Arcade, Market Place, Leicester LE1, 2016 • As the name suggests, a former fleapit. First opened in 1924 as the City Cinema, by 1964 it was an Odeon, and – […]
The Clothing Alterations Company, 5 St Martins Walk, Leicester LE1 • Ridiculously grand dry cleaner featuring Bacchus, Roman god of wine; the shop was once wine merchants John Sarson & Son, […]
Karate, USA Nails (former Singer Building), Coronation Building, 82 High Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Dilapidated grandeur, tiled with images of empire. Designed by Leicester architect Arthur Wakerley, it was the Singer […]
Blunts Shoes, 128-132 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Immense deco bunker built in 1932 to house the Harris furniture store, and still with period fittings inside. Blunts (whose giant Shropshire signage […]
Work Partnership (former Temperance Hotel), 125 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Prosaic palimpsest in a derelict 1853 portal that once led to the empire of travel agency pioneer Thomas Cook, who started […]
Midland Auction Mart (Stan James), 16 Market Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • From grand auctioneer to closed-down bookie. Designed in the Italianate style by Millican and Smith in 1876 (you […]
John Lewis, Showcase Cinema, Highcross Shopping Centre, Vaughan Way (seen from All Saints, Highcross Street), Leicester LE1 • Leicester’s newest chunk of retail bling, by architects Foreign Office. It’s seen […]
Wetherspoons, The Corn Exchange, Market Place South, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Leicester’s most striking commercial building – the former Corn Exchange – is now a pub. And there’s plenty more faded grandeur […]
Nicholas, 147 Friar Street, Reading RG1, 2016 • Grand premises for an estate agent founded in 1882, but no longer resident. Note beautiful teak 1960s door handles in Profil font […]
Poundland (Reading), 118-119 Friar Street, Reading, Berrkshire, 2015 • Unusual arts and crafts-cum-brutalist building, an incongruous setting for a Poundland (apart from the weeds). It has an ecclesiastical look – […]
The Porthole, 11 New Quay, Duke Street, North Shields, 2013 • Striking listed real ale pub, once called The Golden Fleece. The venue later closed for good was turned into an architects’ office (article […]
City Motors, 7 Wadsworth Road, Perivale, Borough of Ealing, London UB6, 2006 • Classical portal for car wreck specialist. The door is still there, but the sign has gone, and […]
V&P Fox Master Locksmiths, 91a St Martin’s Lane, City of Westminster, London WC2, 2015 • Tiny trad locksmith (est 1969) in big grand entrance.
D.C. Auto Electrics, 429 Hornsey Road, Borough of Islington, London N19, 2010 • Grand pillars, graphic colour scheme, and a well-signposted post box. Still there, too.
Guardian Assurance Building, 21-23 Clare Street, Bristol BS1, 2015 • Not sure what lies behind this impressive marble and steel portal now, but it’s not insurance firm Guardian Assurance, which was established […]
Bureau de Change, Praed Street, Earl’s Court, City of Westminster, London W2, 2010 • Tiny grand building with romantic decay and incongruous metal cladding, now boringly spruced up.
Floorcraft, 20a Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • DIY sign-painting meets mini-grandeur. Now houses Oxford Street Books.
Jacobean Corsetry, 53 Virginia Street, Merchant City, Glasgow G1, Scotland, 2010 • Giant golden ghost sign from a corsetry firm founded in 1946, whose wares have featured in Jack Vettriano paintings. Sales […]
The Love Shack, corner of Old Hall Street and Goodson Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 2010 • A touch of gaudy grandeur amidst modernist monoliths in much-maligned Stoke, currently bidding to be the […]
Pizza King, 115 Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 • Incongruous in its grand portal despite the regal name. Now called Master Kebab.
Milly’s Mini Mart, Angel City Cars, 49 Upper Street, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • I featured these ridiculously over-the-top console brackets back in 2014, when the shop was crumbly but colourful and appeared to be […]
Sew Fantastic!, Tintype, 107 Essex Road, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2012 and 2016 • Grubby but grand Sew Fantastic (top pic) is now scrubbed clean as Tintype art gallery (second pic). The punters […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
Allen Carpets, Fisher Hairdressing, Screaming Skull Tattoo & Body Piercing, […]
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 […]
Hollinshead & Walker, Harry Haworth (Glassware) Ltd., 16-17 Cleveland Square, […]
Open, 48-56 Church Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Tiny Elvis impersonator in front of grand clothes shop building, now a Primark.
Lewis’s, 40 Ranelagh Street, Liverpool, 2003 and 2010 • Grubby city centre monolith, slated to become a Lidl, featuring an imposing male nude statue (apparently known locally as Dickie Lewis) by […]
ABC Cinema, corner of Lime Street and Elliot Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Right opposite Liverpool’s main train station, a grubby Grade 2 listed disused deco cinema built in 1931. It’s not […]
Futurist, Lime Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 and 2010 • Famous Liverpool cinema from 1912 that’s been decaying since it closed in 1982 and is now in danger of destruction. Shown […]
Trayman Solicitors, 247 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Rather beautiful in an understated, random way: Doric portal, bathroom tiles, bottleglass windows, vintage street number […]
David Greig, 232 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2015 • More beautiful, if less useful than when it was open – it used to be a Futon […]
Nameless works, Unit 1a, Bordesley Street, Birmingham, 2014 • Curious neoclassical portal leading to a lowly industrial unit. A while back, it housed an Auto Valet Centre.
Denture-Care Clinic, 32 Church Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, 2012 • Possibly England’s cutest denture emporium.
Sainsbury’s Local (Stratford-upon-Avon), 8-9 Bridge Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, 2012 • Very similar to yesterday’s mystery art deco facade. It also features in this engrossing compendium of art deco buildings, but […]
Retail Therapy, 80 High Street, Poole, Dorest, 2004 • A very distinctive art deco frontage – I wonder if this used to be a Burtons?
Global London College (Ryman), 149 Fleet Street, City of London, EC4, 2015 • Maybe it’s a play on GLC (Greater London Council), a body which was abolished in 1986. This […]
Pret A Manger (Fleet Street), 143 Fleet Street, City of London, London EC4, 2015 • An executed Caledonian queen gazes down on hasty diners – for this building is Mary Queen […]
Weisfelds (Goldbergs), Trongate, Glasgow, Scotland, 2008 • A portion of the once-beloved department store Goldbergs, which closed in 1991 and re-opened as cheapo clothes outlet Weisfelds in 1994. The Weisfelds […]
Yorkshire Bank (Peterborough), 10 Church Street, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, 2015 • Nice cartouche!
Post Office & Savings Bank (Oakham), 2 Market Place, Oakham, Rutland, 2015 • Grand post office in England’s smallest county. It closed in 2014 and services moved into the local newsagent’s – which, unlike […]
Waywest Cafe, A1 Southbound, Darrington, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, 2015 • How strange, a crumbling neoclassical cafe at a bleak service station. Looks more like Italy than Yorkshire (apart from the weather).
Servowarm (East Kent) Ltd, 174 Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, Kent, 2004 • Modest unit taking the decorative Dutch gable to bonkers heights; even the side entrance (below) boasts a curved pediment. Sadly […]
A.Z. Halal. Butchers, 83 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Huge wavy pediment dwarfing a mini meat emporium.
Sheffield Engine Services Ltd, 100 Catch Bar Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010 • Arched facade in classic fleapit cinema style, with added flagpole antennae. It’s next to the lovely Edwardian-style William Confection ghost […]
Purbeck Pottery, The Quay, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Fantastical quayside roofline for this 1966-founded pottery, which makes stoneware using clay from the nearby Purbeck Hills.
Quay Amusements, 25 The Quay, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • Multi-angled quayside roofline providing a switchback for seagulls. It’s now just called Amusements.
Dougal & Co, 260 Southwark Park Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2002 • Incongruous in a dull suburban street, a pointy oriental-style facade of a type more familiar on seaside parades. It later […]
Lloyds Bank (Shrewsbury), 1 Pride Hill, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • Elegant brutalist building in a mainly olde-worlde town. Note triangular Civic Trust award, I think it says 1969.
Lloyds TSB, 55 High Street, Rottingdean, East Sussex, 2004 • Grand entrance for a small-town bank, although given the amount of money banks were flinging around at this point, they could […]
Railway Bell Hotel, Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, Worcsestershire, 2014 • Imposing pub opposite the Severn Valley Railway’s puffing locos and atmospheric rail museum in Kidderminster.
The Smithfield Garage Ltd, opposite 38 Meriden Street, Birmingham, 2005 • According to the history here this was built by Harry Weedon, an architect known for Art Deco factories and […]
G. Makepeace (Dance Music Finder), Makepeace House, 136 Digbeth, Birmingham, 2005 • Dance music found via fax departs, but the original occupant lives on. According to Andy Foster’s Pevsner Architectural Guides: […]
Fair City Cars, 125 Digbeth Road, Birmingham, 2005 • Poignant name and home-made chauffeur logo tacked onto a handsome premises which has since been demolished, along with the adjoining Hennessey’s Bar (which […]
Footfall, Seconds Ahead, 16 & 12a Cross Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • Footfall is an organisation that creatively re-occupies defunct shops; Seconds Ahead is a vintage clothes store, which may […]
Sports Direct.com, 12-15 Cross Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • Another re-used facade from Oswestry, which seems to specialise in downmarket shops in grand crumbly buildings. This one looks like it […]
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, 12 Cross Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, 2014 • A market hall by Thomas Penson, built in 1842 (more info here) and demolished in the 1960s except for this […]
Burton, 16-17 High Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, 2014 • A classic Burton that’s still in use, albeit somewhat grimy and with inferior modern logo tacked on. The company’s founder Montague […]
Burton, Royal Victoria Place Shopping Centre, circa 29 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 2014 • According to the article here the local council refused permission to demolish this frontage and made the developer take […]
Keys, 42 Theobalds Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2008 • Not a key shop but a cafe, next to an ornate doorway. Became a badly-reviewed Ethiopian restaurant called, no less surreally, […]
The Emperor Stores, 48a Gloucester Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7, 2005 • Not as regal looking as its wonderful name. It’s still there, but now with a […]
Bridge Hotel, Castle Garth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2013 • Forbidding but fantastic pub built into Newcastle’s old town walls and perched high above the river Tyne, bracketed by two of the city’s spectacular bridges. […]
Samiez Leathers, 140 Trongate, Townhead, Glasgow G1, 2008 • I just like this because it’s colourful, 1970s-looking, and in a decaying old building. Under new management, says a note in […]
Wine & Co., 20-22 Bridge End, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Accountant with built-in timer – useful!
Richer Sounds, 74 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Looks like a baddie’s castle, but is in fact a budget hi-fi store in a former public dispensary.
O’Neills, 26 George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Leeds is full of huge Victorian buildings, but this is unusual – a faux Irish pub in a neo-gothic ex-Masonic hall.
Thornton & Co Ltd, 50-51 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Next door to M&S is this re-purposed HQ of an India rubber manufacturer. Moral: cast your name in stone if you […]
Marks & Spencer, 49 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Having expanded somewhat from yesterday’s stall, M&S now resides in this rather austere black marble art deco edifice – there’s a […]
Market News, 14 Market Hall, Kirkgate Market, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Semi-circular hole-in-wall bracketing the entrance to Leeds’ wonderful Kirkgate Market.
Jeeves & Jericho, Corn Exchange, Corn Exchange, Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • 1920s flat-cap geezer meets 1990s Mancs baggy in cartoon collision of two tea-pouring Northern stereotypes. And […]
The Winding House Tea Rooms, Bridgnorth Cliff Railway, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 2014 • Cute but closed tea-room with amazing funicular attached (England’s oldest and steepest, opened 1892). There’s a gallery of […]
Post Office, 63 High Street, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 2014 • So many post offices have departed their impressive original buildings, but here’s one still occupying its purpose-built 1901 Arts and Crafts […]
Ball Hotel, Castle Terrace (back of 30-31 East Castle Street), Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 2014 • Ghost-lettering on the back entrance of one of Bridgnorth’s oldest pubs, licenced in 1750. It latterly […]
Costa, 1 Postern Gate, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 2014 • Costa occupies the bonkers Italianate New Market Hall which looms over narrow Bridgnorth. It was built in the 1855 but the market traders never […]
Morris Lubricants, circa 68 Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • Beautiful Victorian HQ for this long-lived business, founded in 1869 and still speeding the plough (there’s a history on their website here). […]
Waterstones, The Wool Exchange, Hustlergate, Bradford, West Yorkshire, 2014 • I assumed this was an ex-church, but in fact it’s Bradford’s old wool exchange. Now that bookshops are going the way […]
Olives, 200 Blackfriars Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2014 • Tiny and ever-changing hole-in-the-wall in a defunct railway station. My fave incarnation was the Toast Office, but I can’t find […]
Sons of Temperance Friendly Society, 176-177 Blackfriars Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2014 • Former HQ of a 19th-century financial co-operative for teetotallers, now being wound down; they sold the […]
Food & Wine, 49 Upper Street, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2011 • Colourful generic minimart with oversized finials suggesting a grander past.
White Star Cafe, Harland & Wolff Ltd Shipbuilding and Engineering Works, circa 56 Regent Road, Liverpool L3, 2008 • Transport cafe in former Liverpool HQ of the firm that built the Titanic; […]
Dreamland, Marine Terrace, Margate, Kent, 2014 • I couldn’t leave Margate without photographing this famed old amusement park, which was nearly destroyed by arson in 2008. It’s currently shuttered, but is […]
F.L. Pettman Ltd. Depository, 52 Athelstan Road, Margate, Kent, 2014 • Now for a week of finds from Margate, a once-wealthy town which still has many interesting buildings, such as this grand […]
D.R. Warehouse Ltd, Crowngate House, 60-64 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham, 2013 • One of many magnificent Jewellery Quarter buildings, a grade II listed ex-factory by Dunn, Dallas & Lloyd circa 1912. Currently […]