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.
Afro Supermarket, 87 Gravel Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Multicultural modernist tiling in the brutalist quarter of this fascinating city.
Philip J. Hammond & Sons, 47 Friar Lane, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Grimly stylish marbled throwback, rocking the Barcelona Pavilion look.
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 […]
New Peking Inn (Playpaint), Milroy Walk, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2011 (top) and 2001 (bottom two) • From Chinese food to fine art in grim 1970s precinct that’s now […]
Woolworths, Pizza Hut (Glasgow), 199-201 Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland, 2008 • Jaunty red modernist corner abutting one of the last 200 Woolworths stores to close down. The fatal day was 6 Jan 2009; […]
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 […]
Hagan-Brown Dental Laboratories, 3-4 Burford Road, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • There’s something rather creepy about dental labs, especially when they include advertisements for crack.
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 – […]
London Center College, Cumming Street, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2006 • Impressive sign! Not only does it namecheck Oxford and Cambridge universities, it offers ‘assistance’ with visas. Hmmm.
Raymond Revuebar, 11 Walker’s Court , City of Westminster, London W1, 2015 • We saw this in its fading 2002 incarnation yesterday; in 2008 its owner Paul Raymond died, and his granddaughters inherited his Soho […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Happy Shopper (J.R. Blanche), 74 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2001 • And here, for the sake of completeness, is what the J.R. Blanche Happy Shopper looked like […]
Ex-shop, corner Rennie Street and Stamford Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2001 • Abject festive window, incorporating faded giant wasps.
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 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 […]
Bargain Booze, 22-24 Vauxhall Road, Liverpool L3, 2014 • Bargain booze, bargain sign.
David Pluck, The Blob Shop, 40 Great Charlotte Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Pub beneath bookie beneath Yates’s Wine Lodge ghost sign, all still there. According to this Bad Pub Guide The Blob Shop […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
The Corner Off-Licence, 18 Abbey Lane, Stratford, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2006 • More modernist grimness, in an area whose local landmark was at this point a sewer outfall, but is […]
Cumbernauld Shopping Centre, 10 Ettrick Walk, Cumbernauld, Scotland, 2012 • Famous 1960s brutalist edifice not improved by later additions, and now called the Antonine Centre. The only original part still […]
Public Toilets Dry Cleaning Key Cutting, St Ages Well, Old Street Underground Station, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2008 • A last redoubt of 1970s tubedom in a subterranean mall named after […]
Shirley Stores, 2-8 Shirley Street, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2002 • Bleakness on the edge of Silvertown. Later became a Kwiksave.
Nige’s Lunchbox and Groceries, 32 Scale Lane, Kingston upon Hull, 2004 • A faded handwritten sign says: ‘Niges rugs + “carpets” no under lay though’, with a smaller note qualifying […]
Care Assistant Training, Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Remember this kind of thing? No wonder there were care home scandals. How depressing.
Lloyds TSB (Oxford Street), 32 Oxford Street, City of Westminster, London W1, 2003 • Now for a bit of summer shopping grimness, and where better to start than Europe’s busiest shopping […]
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Fatal Attraction Bridal Centre, 171 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, 2004 • Interesting name for a bridal shop. Didn’t the film Fatal Attraction feature bunny boiling? By 2009 the premises had […]
Repairwise, 322 High Street, Rochester, Kent, 2015 • I always enjoy a bunker-like facade.
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.
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, […]
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.
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 – […]
Quality Food News & Wines, 91 Bloomfield Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • I wonder how much demand they get for the Financial News.
Totteridge Brasserie, 36 Totteridge Lane, Whetstone, Borough of Barnet, London N20, 2011 • So good they named it twice. Now the somewhat smarter Tiffin Tin.
Abbey Arms, Harry’s Mini Cabs, 31 & 31a Wilton Road, Abbey Wood, Borough of Greenwich, London SE2, 2014 • A pub in Abbey Wood that’s still standing. It doesn’t have […]
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 […]
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 […]
Home & Away Dog Grooming, Pest Clear UK Ltd, near […]
Martins Refrigeration, 19 Fortess Road, Borough of Camden, London NW5, 2012 • A close-up of Chris Ruocco’s scary-looking neighbour. That looks like a Gustav Metzger artwork in the widow, but I […]
Broadway Cash ‘N’ Carry, 39 Deptford Broadway, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Even having ads for Coke and Pepsi couldn’t save it. It’s now called Deptford Food & Wine, with […]
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 […]
Virgo Clothing Big’n’Pretty, 156 Trongate, Glasgow, Scotland, 2008 • Signs in the window warn big’n’pretty browsers to bring “No food or drink inside”. Curiously, big seems to be defined as “16 inches […]
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 […]
Poundland (Peterborough), 6 Bridge Street, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, 2015 • Initially depressing, but this is an interesting building – maybe it was a flagship store for someone else once. Poundland are in the […]
HGV Apply Here, 10 Church Street, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, 2015 • Mmm, professional. And the top windows just say “GV”.
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).
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 […]
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 […]
Deritend Fish & Chips, 181 High Street Deritend, Birmingham, 2014 • Always nice to find a Pepsi cafe, however faded. The leaping fish on the counter front are a cute touch.
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 […]
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, […]
Car & Truck Sales Service Car & Van Hire Parts, […]
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 […]
Leisureland Motors, Albatross, Easington Street, Sunderland, 2013 • Imposing ruin that looks like it may have been a stables once upon a time. It’s part of an industrial estate that backs onto […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Bills Cafe, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • No more bills to pay now. Part of an endangered quayside works, of which more tomorrow.
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 […]
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 […]
T.V. Video & Audio Sales & Service, 145 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • Another prosaically-named emporium, looking as weary as the hulking TVs stacked inside. Recently became Isambard’s […]
The Bull Ring Tavern, 1 Digbeth, Birmingham, 2005 • A Guinness pub in Digbeth that still stands. Its functionalist 1960s styling has a certain bleak grandeur, don’t you think? No? […]
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 […]
The Rose of Denmark, 78 Shirley Street, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2002 • Looks more like the Rose of Beirut, but is in fact at the head of London’s […]
The Graving Dock Tavern, 353 North Woolwich Road, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2012 • A graving dock is a dry dock for working on ships’ hulls – but it’s […]
G.W. & A.E. Thomson Ltd (Navals Jewellers), 228 Kilburn High […]
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 […]
Mercury Discount, Cambridge Heath Appliances, 274-278 Cambridge Heath Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2002 (top two) & 2006 • Beautiful signwiting, caught on its way out. Now a […]
Anne, 62 High Street, Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, 2014 • More genteel net, albeit in a rather minimalist setting.
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 […]
Teamfern Ltd Chardonay, 75 Commercial Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • Randomly-named ‘fashion’ outlet whose front is only marginally less gritty than its side. By 2012 it had been […]
That’s It, 44 High Road, Finchley, Borough of Barnet, London N2, 2003 • Faded politesse and a mild yet fatalistic approach to dry cleaning in deepest North London. These old-style acrylic signs […]
Georges Diner, 361-363 North Woolwich Road, Victoria Docks, Borough of Newham, London E16, 2012 • A patch of blasted loneliness on the Silvertown peninsula, once a strange and alien part […]
The Lord Napier, 25 White Post Lane, Borough of Hackney, London E9, 2011 • An arty quarter slumbering in pre-Olympics dereliction. The pub actually closed in 1995, there’s some history […]
Adam & Eve, 90 Balls Pond Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Groovy curly type for a biblical name – note fig leaf. It was still there in 2008, […]
The Gin Palace, circa 205-9 Old Kent Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • Legendarily dodgy boozer on the cheapest bit of the Monopoly board. Previously known as The Castle, […]
Happy Days, 44-46 Goulston Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 (top two) and 2010 (bottom) • One for Samuel Beckett fans, and also beloved by pigeons (note bird emerging […]
Yum Yum’s, 5 Boot Parade, High Street, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • It looks like they may protest their yumminess too much on this nice vernacular acrylic sign, […]
Yuk Chuen, 36 Clapham Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW8, 2005 • With a name like ‘Yuk’, they needed to try a bit harder. Later morphed into Lontosa, a Chinese-Malaysian-Thai restaurant.
Fancy Goods, 3-11 The Cut, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2013 • Earlier incarnation of a fairly gruesome ex-Costcutter, in transition to becoming a Tesco Express.
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 […]
H.C. Atkinson Builders Merchant., 2-28 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Another name cast in stone, on an old warehouse that’s on sale for development.