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” […]
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 […]
7 Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, 2016 • Old glazier’s shop repurposed as a picture framer’s gallery.
Arthur Toms, 84 Chatsworth Road, Clapton, Borough of Hackney, London E5, 2011 • Until 2010 this was a Chinese takeaway called Friends, though clearly it had previously been an eel and […]
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 […]
Daily News, 616 Seven Sisters Road, Borough of Haringey, London N15, 2016 • According to Wikipedia, the Daily News was a radical left-leaning national newspaper founded in 1846 by Charles […]
Beacon Bingo, The Old Cinema, Baxter Gate, 37-40 Churchgate, Loughborough, Leicestershire, 2016 • Thank goodness for bingo halls keeping all these old art deco cinemas alive. This one has a carefully […]
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 […]
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 […]
Unicoat House (Stalbridge Dry Cleaners), 151 Granby Street, Leicester LE1, 2016 • Golden Arts and Crafts lettering for a long-gone business competes with brash plastic signage below. It looks like the upper text was […]
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 […]
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 […]
Sister Ray, 34-35 Berwick Street, Soho, City of Westminster, London W1, 2015 • Angel wings poster outside closed-down record shop, designed to attract selfie-posers – which it did. Sister Ray […]
Rang & Sons Ltd., 105 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2006 • Weathered old sign revealed by a newer one falling off, though it’s not clear what the full […]
Chez Michele, Wokit, Borough Market, Stoney Street, Borough of Southwark, London SE1, 2015 • Arty graffiti above chi-chi shops – think of it as abstract flames for Bonfire Night.
W.H. Walkers Livery & Bait Stables, 1 Minnis Road, Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, CT7, 2006 • An intriguingly illegible palimpsest of a ghost sign. In full, what I can make out on the […]
Johns the Baker, 5 Badcox, Frome, Somerset, 2008 • Ghost sign from the days when ‘golden brown’ didn’t mean heroin. The Hovis sign had gone by 2011, when it was still […]
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 […]
Jemerton Ltd, 68 Paul Street, Borough of Hackney, London EC2, 2008 • Picturesque decay plus cat graffiti, now turned into – what else – posh offices. A company search says Jemerton was […]
Subway, 69 Chapel Market, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • Boring fast food chain, lovely old door window. Actually I like the Subway logo, it’s an exuberant piece […]
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 […]
S. Cohen, 2 White Conduit Street, Islington, Borough of Islington, London N1, 2016 • No name for the second-hand shop, but the original costumier’s facade is still proudly showing.
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 […]
Sai News, 138 Church Street, City of Westminster, London NW8, 2003 • Nameless ex-newsie with painterly pink palimpsest wall and elegant stroller who looks like he’s posing for a cavalier […]
Dino’s Travel & Holidays, 11 Camden High Street, Borough of Camden, London NW1, 2003 • How times change – that bloke would be reading a phone today. Flyposting obliterates the name of this ex-Greek […]
www uk, 280 Gray’s Inn Road, Borough of Camden, London WC1, 2002 • I like the road number on the brackets. Whatever the www was, they didn’t want you to […]
Zenith Fancy Goods (A2Z Smoking Products Ltd), 42 Goulston Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2014 (top), 2010 (bottom) • Grand brackets and creepy graffiti for ex-fancy goods outlet […]
M.J. Davies, 10 New King Street, Deptford, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • Stripey ghost sign for what may have been a dairy (they often had Welsh names). Looks […]
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.
Repos, arch next to 26a Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5, 2014 • Fragment of beautiful signwriting revealed on palimpsest gate under imposing railway viaduct.
Green boarded shop, 294-292 Kennington Park Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SE11, 2005 • Boarded-up shop, a symphony in greens. Now Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, part of Kennington’s ever-growing nest of […]
Vivian Patisserie, 62 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd’s Bush, Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, London W12, 2016 • Its patisserie identity seems to predate the Chinese cafe within. Back in 2008 it was […]
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 […]
Hel’s Kitchen, Anchor Bay Industrial Estate, Manor Road, Erith, Kent, 2014 • Surely all food is hot in Hell? (Although it’s not that hellish, it’s got a food hygiene rating of […]
L. Lambert, 23-25 Hoxton Street, Borough of Hackney, London N1, 2002 (top), 2011 (bottom) • Ex-timber merchant with ‘JFB 1892’ etched into the concrete brackets. By 2002 it was closed down, […]
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 […]
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. […]
J.R. Blanche (Happy Shopper), 76 & 74 Brixton Road, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2015 • Blimey, even minimarts are revealing hipsterish legacy signs now – believe it or not, this is part […]
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 […]
Clifford Shirt M’f’g. Co. Ltd., 37-43 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • ‘Royal’, what an evocative area code! This is my last Liverpool shopfront for now, in the red and green […]
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 […]
Donor Kebab House, 36 Berry Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • There’s something rather delicate about this sign, it looks more like a knitting shop. Now, I think, Hot Chillis halal […]
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 […]
The Puzzle, Connection Point, Silverberg Opticians, 30 Whitechapel, Liverpool L1, […]
H. Coleman, Spy Shop, Richie Tattoo Artist, Max Spielmann, 24 […]
A. E. Walsby Opticians, 48 Renshaw Street, Liverpool L1, 2003 • A family chain which lasted until one of the third generation was convicted of defrauding the NHS. It was […]
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; […]
Indian’s Unisex Hair Salon, 82-84 Coldharbour Lane, Borough of Lambeth, SE5, 2015 • The scary weaponised hairdresser geezers date from an earlier sign, which Google’s magic wayback view shows was “a fine […]
P.C. Royce, 21 Hackney Road, Borough of Hackney, London E2, 2015 • There’s two layers of sign here. ‘Baker &’ it says at the left of the newer logo, so the […]
Princess Dry Cleaning, 19 Wellington Row, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E2, 2015 • Until recently the old ‘Valet Service’ sign was covered by an equally attractive 1960s plastic fascia saying Princess Laundrette (complete […]
I. Paule Ltd, Merchant House, 24 Wentworth Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2004 • There are many layers of the name over this alleyway in the Petticoat Lane area. A comment on […]
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 […]
Microcola Computers, House Sign & Decorative Painter, 27a&b The Belvedere, […]
Softys, 68b Bridge Street, Bolton, Lancashire, 2010 • Its full name was once Softys’ Hard Stuff (sic), but part has fallen off – see the full sign on Flickr, taken in […]
Spemco Manufacturing Ltd (Intra), 337-341 High Street, Rochester, Kent, 2015 • Defunct electrical products company behind a zigzaggy deco frontage. Intra is an arts venue and studio complex that now occupies the premises.
Thomas Cook (Cambridge), 8 St Andrew’s Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 2010 • Interesting art deco window, boring noughties sign.
Gents Hairdresser D. Burns., 76 Herbert Road, Plumstead, Borough of Greenwich, London SE18, 2004 • Barber embedded in an old tiled grocer’s, and you can see an even older sign […]
The Home and Colonial Tea Stores (Tablet Gallery), 51a George […]
Opticians AXO (Scrivens), 36 Waingate, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010 • Looks like an art installation or concrete poetry, but is actually a sign for Scrivens Opticians.
Vye & Son, side of 67 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent, 2002 • Must have been hidden behind two smaller signs. Looks 1950s to me, so they’d presumably been going since […]
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?
J.F. Turner, wall above Ying’s, 125 Hanley Road, Borough of Islington, London N4, 2014 • Graffiti by moron over ghost sign for baker; both elements are still there.
Mann Countrywide, 171 Lewisham High Street, Borough of Lewisham, London SE13, 2010 • Wishful thinking, but that oval looks like it could once have held a Boots sign.
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 […]
Cafe, side of 886 Garratt Lane, Tooting, Borough of Wandsworth, London SW17, 2006 • Subtle ghost sign which is still there. Typography suggests nineteen-teens.
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 […]
Woof Woof, 178a Kings Road, Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW3, 2003 • An Evening Standard article from 2002 calls it London’s most upmarket pet boutique, but it looks like it […]
Broadway Gents Hair Stylist, 54 Broadway Market, Borough of Hackney, London E8, 2006 & 2012 • Another Eine production, next door to yesterday’s Broadway Wines. The fantastic old barber shop is still there, but […]
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 […]
Milletts Surplus Stores, 38 Cowgate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, 2015 • The window writing suggests this was previously a beauty parlour, so the Milletts sign may be a recent revelation.
Alberts, 88 Whitechapel High Street, Borough of Tower Hamlets, London E1, 2014 • Men’s clothier with a nifty sideline in Jack the Ripper t-shirts. The grand frontage once belonged to Blooms (note […]
H.E. Pea, Zen-Shin, The Best Baguette, 180 High Street Deritend, Birmingham, 2014 • Next door to yesterday’s Deritend Fish & Chips, perhaps not coincidentally, a works entrance hidden by a […]
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 […]
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 […]
C&C Auto Services Limited, 13 Kingston Road, Borough of Merton, London SW19, 2010 • Another auto palimpsest – not sure what it is now, though it was still the same in […]
DRW Motor Spares, 30 The Watton, Brecon, Powys, Wales, 2014 • I always like these signboard palimpsests. This had obviously been an auto outlet for decades.
Chris & Chris Fashions (Crouch End Food Centre), 34-35 Broadway […]
Wm. Mooney & Sons Ltd., 20a College Lane, Liverpool, 2014 • Ex-builder’s premises looking set to become a barbers.
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 […]
Potter Bros (Holland Broadbridge), Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, 2014 • The faded writing on the white wall (second picture) says: “Frankwell Works Established 1855 Potter Bros”. I know because of […]
Stones, circa 22 Atlantic Road, Brixton, Borough of Lambeth, London SW9, 2014 • 1920s-style ghost logo for a Brixton business that’s long, long gone. There’s a great picture history on […]
Nicholas Printers (Baldwins), 481A Green Lanes, Borough of Haringey, London N8, 2014 • A multi-named palimpsest in colourful Green Lanes.
N. Davalou Carpets, 372 Edgware Road, City of Westminster, London W2, 2003 • This antique shop sold weird stuff, but I was more fascinated by the old garage gates next […]
Ashfield Motors, Caroline Street, Birmingham, 2005 • What gorgeous typography – it almost looks like a pastiche, but this was a real garage. There’s now a new-build block jammed up against […]
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: […]
Barrier Animal Care Clinic (Thames Barrier Arms), Eastmoor Place, Borough […]
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 […]
G.W. & A.E. Thomson Ltd (Navals Jewellers), 228 Kilburn High […]
N.H. Pearson, 75 High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, 2004 • Now there’s character: a comma at the end of its name, and brief technical notes in the minimalist window display. Norman’s business didn’t […]
Burton (Antique Warehouse), 9-14 Depford Broadway, Borough of Lewisham, London SE8, 2002 • This grille, which I spotted at ground level, alerted me to photograph the shop above it, but if […]
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 […]
Margaretta Rickards (Arthouse Deli), 46 Topsfield Parade, Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, Borough of Haringey, London N8, 2014 • I thought this was a gallery when I photographed it, but it’s […]
H.F. & G.W. Smith (Breese Little), 30d Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, Borough of Islington, London EC1, 2013 • Trendy gallery Breese Little appropriating a previous owner’s more prosaic title.
T.C. Bulless (Kingston Art Gallery), 27 Humber Street, Kingston upon Hull, 2013 • There’s a trend for art galleries to reveal retro shop signs at the moment – this one, for […]
J.R. Hobson & Co The Drinking Glass Centre, Nursery Street, […]
Sir Robert Peel, Krystals Express, 178 Bishopsgate, City of London, London EC2, 2004 • Something of an oddity – commemorative 1930s tiling on a circa 1900 pub named after the prime […]
Roy’s Furnishers, 147 Rye Lane, Borough of Southwark, London SE15, 2010 • More Peckham ruination: a superannuated sign somewhat at odds with the fashion emporium within. By 2012 it was […]
William High Class Confection, side of 212 Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, 2010 • That’s enough dodgy graffiti, here’s some wall art with a bit more staying power, having […]