The Hexham Tans Vegetarian Restaurant, 11 St Mary’s Chare, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Palimpsest on oddly-named charity veggie caff, closed after 20 years. It soon reopened as Hextol Tans, offering “vegan-friendly, lacto” […]
Jim’ll Mix It, Unit 1, Lusty Industrial Estate, Empson Street, Bromley-by-Bow, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E3, 2012 • Unfortunate Jimmy Savile-inspired name, not helped by being based on the Lusty […]
Hair and Body, Sole Man Shoe Repairs, 25 & 25a Corbets Tey Road, Upminster, Borough of Havering, London RM14, 2016 • From plain-talking head to punning toe in a faded […]
HH Muckers, Lordship Windows, c.481 Seven Sisters Road, Borough of Haringey, London N15, 2016 • HH Muckers – what a great name! Albeit partly obscured in what looks like a […]
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.
Smelly Alley Fruit Basket (Dudmans of Reading), 11b UnionStreet, Reading […]
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; […]
Video Scene, 33 Station Road, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, 2006 • Love the random word spacing on this. I’m not saying Birchington’s old-fashioned, but it probably does still have a video scene.
Pearly Pies, Borough Market, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2002 • A platoon of elderly pearly pie-sellers, some of whom are surely no longer on with us.
Cabinet Benches, side of 2 Hoxton Street, London N1, 2006 • I have no idea what cabinet benches are, but they probably don’t make them any more. The ghost sign is still […]
Chung’s, 1012 Govan Road, Govan, Glasgow G51, Scotland, 2010 • Special dishes in long trays – what more could you want? Still there in 2015.
Servewell Cafe, West Lane, Southwark, London SE16, 2001 • Nice name – though you wouldn’t call it Servebadly Cafe, would you. It’s now got a double frontage and a new […]
Chiffon (Engineering Services) Ltd, Almond Road, Bermondsey, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2002 • Beautiful retro name and logo for an engineering firm.
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 […]
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 […]
Woo Lot, 592 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, Borough of WalthamForest, London E10, 2016 • Great name, great (literally) sign.
Famished Cafe, 2 Kilburn Bridge, Kilburn, Borough of Brent, London NW6, 2012 • Nice name on a colourful frontage, now replaced by Roosters Piri Piri.
F.T.T.D, Joiners Shopfitters Builders, 20 Tanner’s Hill, Deptford. Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Ex-shopfitter’s enlivened by a quaint Victorian-style pointing hand sign (aka a manicule). It was for now-defunct signmakers Find […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
Shepherd and Flock, 84 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Built 1869, a traditional Irish sports pub hanging on in an area popular with […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Englishman’s Castle, 9-17 Church Street, Leatherhead, Surrey, 2003 • Purveyor of Surrey-style furnishings for over 50 years, and still there, albeit with updated logo. There’s a vid of the interior […]
Europleasure International Ltd, 2-8 Duke Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 and 2013 • A name, like The Lux Company, that’s straight out of James Bond. This was derelict for ages, and looked much the […]
Tutill-Nicol Ltd Jordan Woodrows, 1 Richmond Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • Traditional stationers closed in 2009 after 130 years due to a massive rent increase (article here). Inside, it had […]
Hansid, 121 Deptford High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • To me a pleasing name, though possibly once part of a greater whole. The unit has since been knocked down; […]
Robert A. Grummitt, High Street, Caterham, Surrey CR3, 2001 • Suitably resonant name for a maker, repairer and restorer of violins, bows, guitars and mandolins. Established in 1971 and still in business; […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
Fagin’s House Clearance, 105 Lower Marsh, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2001 • Dickensian name and address for a Dickensian line of work. Became clothes shop Valerio.
Quickie Heel Bar, 198 Southwark Park Road, Borough of Southwark, London SE16, 2002 • Brilliant name, as featured in the book Formerly (right). No longer there, of course.
Kabra Kebabra, 58 Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Lambeth, London SE5, 2015 • Coldharbour Lane seems to specialise in bonkers shop names. This one’s already quite famous on the internet. Not to […]
Crown & Glory, 10 Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Southwark, London SE5, 2015 • Upper case italic script, always a bold move. A holdout from the bland new signage infecting the […]
Seagull Launderette, 212 Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2015 • In the backwoods of Brixton, far from gentrification, a tiny wistful name with an elegant flourish.
J.T. Brush E.G. Brush & Son, 24 High Street, Caterham, Surrey, 2001 • That’s what I call a name, though they should be chimney sweeps. It’s just a plain gate […]
J. Seal Quality Butcher, 7 Barnes High Street, Borough of Richmond upon Thames, London SW13, 2006 • Not only named in Profil, but in tiles. The butcher and tiles are […]
Aslamtex, 24 High Street, Gravesend, Kent, 2015 • Another unusual name, writ extremely large – presumably the owner is called Aslam. Looks like there’s a big demand for shopping trolleys in […]
‘Agape’ £ Shop, 88 London Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • An unusual name, with added poignancy given Greece’s financial woes. Although it suggests a mouth agog at the low prices, ‘Agape’ is […]
99p-+ Awamz Store, 82 Rye Lane, Peckham, Borough of Southwark, London SE15, 2010 • Splendidly-clad punter outside a bargain shop whose ‘-+’ allows infinite leeway in pricing. Now a Lycamobile-branded […]
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, […]
Herbert Sports, 12 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • According to the dictionary, Herbert is slang for “an undistinguished or foolish man or youth”, so it’s a brave name […]
Herbert Best Kebabs & Pizza, 64 Herbert Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • Bold sign bearing the name of its superb old-school shopping road. Now called, more boringly, Delight.
10/10 Ten Out of Ten Barber, 7 Bell Street, City of Westminster, London NW1, 2003 • Eleven out of ten for the brilliant name. It’s still called that, but with a […]
Zoom the Loom, 165 High Street, Poole, Dorset, 2004 • I always like a traditional net curtain shop, and this one’s also blessed with an unusual name and sign. I’m […]
Knapp’s News, 60 Plumstead Common Road, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • A good old-fashioned name, with wonky sign writing, a name check somewhere on the premises for every single newspaper […]
Moor News, 20 Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, 2012 • Moor News, as opposed to yesterday’s Little News, geddit? I like a proud local newspaper name, and the West Briton is as […]
Little News, 9 Little Turnstile, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2003 • Unfortunate choice of name for a newsagent, albeit based on the name of its ancient London alley. It’s still there, […]
Hargoss, 56 High Street, Walton-on-Thames. Surrey, 2002 • Great name, great font. Now ‘The Local’ off licence.
L.W. Haggis, 171 Brighton Road, South Croydon, Borough of Croydon, London CR2, 2003 • What a brilliant name! Although it looks like someone chopped the bottom of their sign off. […]
Lascelles Tickner & Co’s Entire (The George Inn), 124 Bridge […]
Broacha Samy Ltd, 108 Mile End Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2015 • Demure frontage amidst a sea of gaudy plastic. “Manufacturers of lady dresses specialists in plus sizes” says the […]
Supermarket Day By Day, 224 Brixton Hill, Borough of Lambeth, London SW2, 2002 • Just a great old typeface. Later became hairdresser Asphair, with an equally wonky logo.
Ridout & Son Printing Works, 4 Charles Street, Herne Bay, Kent, 2004 • Old printer’s with nice typography fitted into the angled roofline. It later became authentically converted back into a house, which retained the ghost […]
W.H. Wellbeloved, 31 Tanner’s Hill, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • A sculptural gable end for a wonderful name, established in 1829. Note hand-painted sign offering “surloin”, and the jaunty van […]
Brute Menswear, 73 Wentworth Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • Interesting choice of name, especially as the other side of the sign says Brute Menswar.
Celine, 293 Caledonian Road, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2002 • Giant and elegant patisserie logo, somewhat at odds with the cartoony “perfect spud” underneath. It later got covered by a […]
Badat Brothers Ltd, Dacca Caterers Ltd, Simco Caterers Ltd, 2-4 Cook’s Road, Borough of Newham, London E15, 2010 • Nest of caterers in an appropriately-named road, amidst development for the […]
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 […]
The Grub Shop, 178 Lambeth Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2006 • Another great name, on a cafe which used to change colour every year. It’s now called The Corner […]
Paradise Cottage, 477 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • A colourful mixed metaphor in traditional plastic, complete with desert arch illustrations. By 2014 the shop was being […]
The Old Maids Pharmacy, 321 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • What a brilliant name. It’s still there, but with a newer, “posher” sign.
Chris & Chris Fashions (Crouch End Food Centre), 34-35 Broadway […]
Brown, Muff & Co. Ltd., 4 Ivegate, Bradford, West Yorkshire, 2014 • Not a dubious “private shop” but the last remains of an oddly-named department store once known as the Harrods […]
Muslin, 256 Bethnal Green Road, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2005 • A very specific offering. Later became Sterling de Vere, a posh-looking letting agent (albeit still in a ruinous […]
Kebab Ranch Fish Bar, Salim Khan & Co Accountants, 24 Bradford Street, Walsall, West Midlands, 2005 • Colourful but confused food offering, with extra apostrophe and an built-in accountant. Now […]
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: […]
G.H. Theobald, 99 High Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2003 • Just a nice old bit of signwriting. The shop’s still there but called Jim’s Family Butchers, with a cute “new-old-style” sign.
A.J. Mountstephen Late Truscott, County House, New Street, Sidmouth, Devon, 2013 • That’s quite a mouthful of a monicker. Nice that they’ve kept this old sign (possibly dating from the founding […]
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 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 […]
Tealwood Company Limited, Seagull Lane, Emsworth, Hampshire, 2003 • Plucky sliver of gentility in a workaday industrial unit. Still there but sans net, it’s a useful-looking printers whose website says it […]
The Pleasant Gent’s Hairdresser, 33 Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 2014 • More fading pleasantry in Tunbridge Wells.
Pleasant Sandwich Bar, 7 Mount Pleasant Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 2014 • Seems like an underwhelming taste offer, but it’s actually the name of the road.
Arkle Pharmacy, 39 Junction Road, Archway, Borough of Islington, London N19, 2003 • A good old-fashioned name and address next door to yesterday’s De Marco. Now just called Pharmacy (incorporating […]
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 […]
Ladywell Supermarket, 111 Ladywell Road, Borough of Lewisham, London SE13, 2011 • The ladies of Ladywell, patronising a rather tatty shop in a fadedly genteel area. The mosaic pillars may indicate […]
Z. Butt Textiles 2001, 24 Brick Lane, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2003 • Highly-regarded family business with swirly Davida logo and Simpsonesque name. Apparently in its 3rd generation, […]
Criterion Restaurant, 129 Peckham High Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE15, 2010 • No T outside, but plenty within, for this handsomely shabby caff with a fine old-fashioned name.
Blunts, 8-9 West Castle Atreet, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, 2014 • Unmissable old shoe shop, reinvented for the eBay generation.
T.W. Stigant, 24 King Street, Margate, Kent, 2014 • One-time hosier next door to yesterday’s breeches maker, also with original sign revealed. There’s a bit more historical info here.
Trussons Menswear, 31 Lower Marsh, Waterloo, Borough of Lambeth, London SE1, 2008 • I’m so glad no-one’s ever felt the need to update this charming 1960s-style frontage, with a name as […]
Frederick Pratt & Son, 32 Brighton Road, Salfords, Redhill, Surrey, 2002 • Good old-fashioned name, but now even the car in front is knackered. Founded 1948 and shuttered 2003, it used […]
Wozencroft, 59 Osmaston Road, Derby, Derbyshire, 2010 • Lovely old script for Wozencroft, an Anglo Saxon name associated with Woolstencroft in Cheshire. Established in 1956, the shop is still there, and on […]
H. Stain Ltd, 207 Victoria Street, City of Westminster, London SW1, 2004 • What a pity marble shopfronts like this went out of fashion; happily this magnificent 1960s-style jewellers lives on still, just […]
“Easiephit” Footwear (Wherry Estate Agents), 115 High Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, 2007 • Great mosaic ghost sign step with a boring estate agent attached. I assume it was once a shoe shop.
Zita Sandwich Bar, 232 Shaftesbury Avenue, City of Westminster, London WC1, 2002 • One of those old-school West End cafes you always took for granted – until it was suddenly gone. […]
Cocketts Corner (Wahab Balti), 33 High Street, Herne Bay, Kent, 2004 • A more modest sponsored corner than yesterday’s, named for Cocketts Matresses, founded 1928 and sited opposite. The Cocketts sign […]
Ideal, 14 Midland Road, Hull, 2013 • Next to the falling-down Albert Hall, an old printing works that currently offers motorcycle training. I love the tiny black arched windows at the […]
Paragon Arcade, Paragon Street, Hull, 2013 (top) and 2005 • Cute 1891 Gothic Revival arcade by Alfred Gelder. On the lower right of the very blurry 2005 shot you can see […]
Paragon Heel Bar, 175 Ferensway, Kingston upon Hull, 2013 • Classic old heel and key bar named grandly after nearby Paragon Street, which in turn may have been named after an […]
Boot Parade, 88 High Street, Edgware, Borough of Barnet, London HA8, 2004 • 1970s footwear of a different kind – a resolutely unglamorous shopping parade that’s still proudly beige today.
Mr. Snob, 22 High Street, Banstead, Surrey SM7, 2001 • Snob refers to a superior type of cobbler (there’s a history here), rather than the good citizens of Banstead. The family business, […]
J.T. Snuggs, 50 High Street, Banstead, Surrey, 2001 • Another Snuggs – this one’s a jeweller, whose Dickensian name is complemented by Scroogeish Christmas decor. That’s mistletoe in the top left corner, […]
H. Snuggs & Co. (Trafik), 331 Old Street, Borough of Hackney, London N1, 2004 • The superbly-named H. (aka Henry) Snuggs bowed out in 1899 – there’s a contemporary report in […]