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palimpsest

White Stuff (Hexham)

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 […]
White Stuff (Hexham)

Arthur Toms

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 […]
Arthur Toms

Daily News

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 […]
Daily News

Beacon Bingo

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 […]
Beacon Bingo

Sister Ray

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 […]
Sister Ray

Johns the Baker

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 […]
Johns the Baker

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

Jemerton Ltd

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 […]
Jemerton Ltd

Subway (Angel)

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 […]
Subway (Angel)

S. Cohen

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.
S. Cohen

Sai News

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 […]
Sai News

www uk

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 […]
www uk

M.J. Davies

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 […]
M.J. Davies

Market Sweet Stores

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.
Market Sweet Stores

Repos

Repos, arch next to 26a Oxford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5, 2014 • Fragment of beautiful signwriting revealed on palimpsest gate under imposing railway viaduct.
Repos

Green boarded shop

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 […]
Green boarded shop

Vivian Patisserie

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 […]
Vivian Patisserie

Camera Care

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 […]
Camera Care

Hel’s Kitchen

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 […]
Hel’s Kitchen

L. Lambert

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, […]
L. Lambert

J.H. Pepperell (Zack)

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 […]
J.H. Pepperell (Zack)

Nameless 1882 shop

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 […]
Nameless 1882 shop

Donor Kebab House

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 […]
Donor Kebab House

Hansid

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; […]
Hansid

P.C. Royce

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 […]
P.C. Royce

Princess Dry Cleaning

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 […]
Princess Dry Cleaning

I. Paule Ltd

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 […]
I. Paule Ltd

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

Softys

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 […]
Softys

Vye & Son

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 […]
Vye & Son

J.F. Turner

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.
J.F. Turner

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

Woof Woof

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 […]
Woof Woof

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)

Alberts

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 […]
Alberts

H.E. Pea

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 […]
H.E. Pea

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

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

Ashfield Motors

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 […]
Ashfield Motors

N.H. Pearson,

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 […]
N.H. Pearson,