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grimness

Alandra

Alandra, 143 Shoreditch High Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2002 • Alandra – nice name for a grim-looking jewellery wholesaler, but it’s not there any more. By 2016 […]
Alandra

Noko

Noko, 358 Neasden Lane North, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • African food business within a decomposing facade. Pluvera chicken, aka “hard” chicken, is for stewing. It’s described […]
Noko

Neasden Shopping

Neasden Shopping, 237 Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Jam-packed array of international services under the peeling name of Neasden Shopping.
Neasden Shopping

Neasden Parade

Neasden Parade, Neasden Lane, Neasden, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2016 • Art deco parade that has seen better days. Even the ‘A’ is dropping off…
Neasden Parade

Sunfruit (Videotech)

Sunfruit, The Centre, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, 2002 • Sunny, yet grim. Not-entirely-convincing rebrand from videos to fruit that was part of a bleak, now-demolished 1960s mall, The Centre, which I think was replaced […]
Sunfruit (Videotech)

Jesus Kingdom City

Jesus Kingdom City, Cannon Street, Bristol BS1, 2013 • Ex-church school whose plaque reveals a Theseus’s Paradox of a history: “St James’ School. Instituted benevolent School 1790. Sunday school 1801. Reconstructed 1913. […]
Jesus Kingdom City

H.C. Pretty

H.C. Pretty, 101 Gwendolen Road, Leicester LE5, 2016 • What a great name, though the premises don’t exactly live up to it. It’s actually an engineering firm.
H.C. Pretty

Hanley Shopping Centre

Hanley Shopping Centre, East Precinct, East West Centre, Old Hall Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, 2010 • Classic grim 1960s new town-style shopping precinct, which by 2016 was completely derelict. There have been plans […]
Hanley Shopping Centre

Tony’s

Tony’s, 195-205 Union Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2011 • Not sure what service Tony offered – haircuts maybe – but the graffiti says, twice, that he’s a big […]
Tony’s

Poundland (Reading)

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 – […]
Poundland (Reading)

Funky Rooms

Funky Rooms, 499 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Grimly quaint concrete facade, which I originally thought housed a nightclub, but a commenter tells me was a furniture shop. […]
Funky Rooms

City Confectionery

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 […]
City Confectionery

H. Samuel (Manchester)

H. Samuel (Manchester), 7-7A upper Mall, Arndale Centre, High Street, Manchester, 2009 • Tiled 1970s bunker with missing letter – Manchester’s famous Arndale Centre, whose specially-commissioned beige ceramic facade was likened by Bill Bryson […]
H. Samuel (Manchester)

The Love Shack

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 […]
The Love Shack

Catford Mews

Catford Mews, Winslade Way, off Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Feline punning within the Catford Centre, featured yesterday. Catford Mews is an indoor market, as described in the […]
Catford Mews

Catford Centre

Catford Centre, Rushey Green, Catford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE6, 2010 • Famous creepy cat, fronting brutalist mall the Catford Centre, developed by Owen Luder in 1974. Apparently it’s due for […]
Catford Centre

Bransdon (CB News)

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 […]
Bransdon (CB News)

The Cleveland

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 […]
The Cleveland

The Nook

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 […]
The Nook

Antiques

Antiques, 130 Bold Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 (top) and 2014 • Ah, groovy Davida font. Amazing how much of central Liverpool is still derelict, this was the same in 2003 and […]
Antiques

The Commons

The Commons, 59 Plumstead Common Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • Grim-looking club whose name is a play on its politics and position – the local Conservative association and Plumstead Common, […]
The Commons

Trayman Solicitors

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 […]
Trayman Solicitors

Inter Biz

Inter Biz, 1d Blenheim Grove, Peckham, Borough of Southwark, London SE15, 2010 • Wonkily hand-painted one-stop shop for a bewildering array of financial services. A note on the door says ‘Am down the […]
Inter Biz

Nitters Needs

Nitters Needs, 36-38 Station Road, West Croydon, Borough of Croydon, London CR0, 2010 • Great name, with an even older sign peeping out behind it; the derelict shop still looked […]
Nitters Needs

W.C.R. Dies

W.C.R. Dies, JW Print Finishers, Quicksilver Ltd, Fox Finishers, 27 Wallis Road, Borough of Hackney, London E9, 2006 • Morbidly-named hive of industry which had gone by 2008, when Olympic projects swept into the area.
W.C.R. Dies

Grimwade Services

Grimwade Services, 262a Brixton Hill, Borough of Lambeth, London SW2, 2002 • Another Dickensian name from old Lambeth. I doubt there was much demand for ‘president’ signs.
Grimwade Services

G.J. Petts

G.J. Petts, 5 Westmoreland Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2001 • Unfortunate name for a butcher. Was still there in 2015, looking even more battered.
G.J. Petts

Christian Caring

Christian Caring Ministries, 189 Old Kent Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Not sure if this is a church or a shop – God moves in mysterious ways. Now beauty […]
Christian Caring

LJ’s Beach Bar

LJ’s Beach Bar, Brooklands, Jaywick Sands, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, 2013 • That’s barbed wire on top. Part of Jaywick Sands, apparently one of Britain’s most deprived areas, albeit with a vast […]
LJ’s Beach Bar

Lifestyle

Lifestyle, 19 South Street, Worthing, West Sussex, 2003 • South coast aspirations – I like the shaking hands. Now houses South Street Trading, a house clearance emporium (a thriving sector in […]
Lifestyle

Thompson

Thompson, 5 Gloucester Road, Avonmouth, Bristol, 2009 • Nice type on old ex-bike repair shop (aka Thomson Bros) in the Bristol boondocks. Now completely boarded up.
Thompson

Valentine

Valentine, 171 Long Lane, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2011 • Scary pub squat with extreme name / appearance mismatch. It may have originally been called the Valentine & Orson, […]
Valentine

Nameless works

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.
Nameless works

Unique News

Unique News, 118 East Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE17, 2002 • Depressing news, more like it (note noose over door). It’s now, bizarrely, called Ozone Sauna Detoxification Booth – […]
Unique News

Ex-Drinks Cabin

Ex-Drinks Cabin, 498 Abbey Wood Road, Abbey Wood, Borough of Bexley, London SE2, 2014 • The black bottle speaks of a booze store, which internet research suggests was called Drinks Cabin. Google Street View shows it […]
Ex-Drinks Cabin

Ford Specialist

Ford Specialist, 123 Fairfield Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E3, 2010 • Mmm, I must buy a Ford so I can take it there. (Checks Google Street View.) Blimey! It’s […]
Ford Specialist

Broadleys

Broadleys, 34-40 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Genteel local department store, est 1896 and still there today. Can’t help thinking there’s something of the chemo ward about this window […]
Broadleys

Weisfelds (Goldbergs)

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 […]
Weisfelds (Goldbergs)

Waywest Cafe

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).
Waywest Cafe

The Beano Cafe

The Beano Cafe, 6 Caledonian Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 & 2003 • A tale of Kings Cross: in the course of a year, the Beano edged from decaying […]
The Beano Cafe

Eastern Computers

Eastern Computers, Dairy Product Specalist, 370 & 368 Neasden Lane North, Borough of Brent, London NW10, 2014 • Next door to yesterday’s Dairy Product, and equally weary. Together I thought […]
Eastern Computers

Bryce Lowe

Bryce Lowe, 228 Kingsland Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2002 • From the days (not so long ago) when Kingsland Road was scary rather than trendy. This ruinous immigration bureau later […]
Bryce Lowe

Paolina Thai

Paolina Thai Food Cafe & Takeaway, 181 Kings Cross Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Abject-looking takeaway with nice lettering on its pavement sign (bottom). It’s still there, […]
Paolina Thai

JacLen

JacLen, 18 Dockley Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • I love the typography on this DIY doorway, deep in a Dickensian Bermondsey viaduct. It’s presumably named after Jack and […]
JacLen

Dyer

Dyer, 32 North Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Photocopy centre and fax bureau – how quickly hi tech becomes quaint. Their website says Dyer was established 1916 and is now run […]
Dyer

Stoniers

Stoniers, Williamson Square, Liverpool, 2003 • Offering “a world of glass and china” no more, this famous Liverpool store once supplied crockery to the Titanic (and indeed the whole White Star Line, whose […]
Stoniers

Bills Cafe

Bills Cafe, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • No more bills to pay now. Part of an endangered quayside works, of which more tomorrow.
Bills Cafe

Cambridge Cafe

Cambridge Cafe, A23, Hooley, Coulsdon, Surrey, 2003 • Wooden slats again: I actually stopped off in the middle of a long drive (somewhere around here) to photograph this bleak slice of […]
Cambridge Cafe

Tadcars

Tadcars, The Avenue, Tadworth, Surrey, 2003 • Not wishing to diss wooden huts, but this looks like the set for a horror movie (note splatterproof curtains made of M&S carrier bags). It looked even less […]
Tadcars

Fair City Cars

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 […]
Fair City Cars

The Tap & Die Co

The Tap & Die Co, 445 West Green Road, Borough of Haringey, London N15, 2014 • Yikes – don’t tap that phone! According to the firm’s intricate website, they do indeed supply […]
The Tap & Die Co

Anne

Anne, 62 High Street, Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, 2014 • More genteel net, albeit in a rather minimalist setting.  
Anne

J & M Smith

J & M Smith, 64 North Street, Emsworth, Hampshire, 2003 • A very sad shop which suggested to me that its owner had died. Although I didn’t know it when […]
J & M Smith