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Antony Cairns’ Old Shops

December 4, 2013
by the gentle author

Complementing Antony Cairn’s elegaic series of East End Pubs, today I present his ethereal portfolio of shops, created using the same nineteenth century Vandyke Brown process, and evoking those commercial premises which exist as receptacles of collective memory for the communities they served.

The first picture is of The Handy Shop, Tony’s first local shop when growing up in Plaistow, and the last picture is W.F.Arber & Co Ltd in Roman Rd, of which my friend Gary Arber is the proprietor.

The Handy Shop,  Ruskin Ave, E12

M.J. Evans, Warren St, W1

Unknown shop, Mile End, E12

Unknown shop, Bonsor St, SE5

Unknown shops, unknown street

Unknown shop, Copenhagen St N.1

Unknown shops, Morning Lane, E8

Unknown shop, Oswin St, SE11

Unknown shops,  Hackney Rd, E2

Fishmonger, Commercial Rd, E1

Unknown shop, St Pancras Way, NW5

Printworks, Blackfriars Rd, SE1

Gari’s, Northwold Rd, N16

George Harvey, Bougourd Chemist &  Droys, Rochester Row, SW1

Gricks Jellied Eels, Rosebery Ave, Manor Park, E12

Arber & Co Ltd, 459 Roman Rd, E3

Photographs copyright © Antony Cairns

You may also like to take a look at

Antony Cairns’ East End Pubs

and these other photographs of shops

A Nation of Shopkeepers by John Claridge

At the Shops with Tony Hall

The Shops of Old London

11 Responses leave one →
  1. December 4, 2013

    The photograph captioned Printworks is the old Natsopa Union Offices which, unfortunately, has recently been demolished.

  2. annie permalink
    December 4, 2013

    The dairy shop in Warren Street is still there, it’s a cafe now but they have kept the old signage.

  3. December 4, 2013

    Gosh – better effects than Instagram!

    I think that the photo captioned Printworks, Blackfriars Rd, SE1 is actually a sign that would have started round the corner of the shop and read The National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants (NATSOPA) – in the trade they were known as natties.

  4. annie permalink
    December 4, 2013

    The buildings in Northwold Road N16 are all still there. the Victorian building behind the shops was a school which has been converted into flats.

    The single storey building with the sign Caris is now a space which sells fridges – aptly named Sellfridges!

  5. December 4, 2013

    Nice to se the old places – what a pity so many have disappeared. I knew the fishmonger on Commercial Road, I used to go there after school to buy a bag of ‘pussy pieces’ for my cat! Valerie

  6. kurt`roll the dice` permalink
    December 4, 2013

    Excellent as ever

  7. Gary permalink
    December 4, 2013

    The picture of my shop was taken on a weekend when I had an old orange flysheet from a tent covering the window when the shop was shut, the sheet finally disintegrated due to sunlight. It was in a pretty good condition in that picture so I estimate that it was taken in the 1970′s.
    Gary Arber

  8. Chris Ashby permalink
    December 4, 2013

    I believe M.J. Evans, Warren St, W1 still exists and may now be a smart cafe.

  9. December 8, 2013

    More wonderful photographs that capture those bygone days that are now, sadly out of reach but yet, can still be felt by your senses!

  10. Ian Silverton permalink
    December 17, 2013

    The unknown shops in Hackney road,where a mens tailors shop,and mens out fitters,both up market,for the 1950s remember them well.

  11. Paul permalink
    May 13, 2014

    The Oswin Street shop is not in Oswin St SE11. I know I lived in the old shop in Oswin st. That looks more like West London?
    (The shop actually was 193 Brook Drive SE11 not Oswin St). ;)

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