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Jeffrey Johnson’s Favourite Spots

April 28, 2016
by the gentle author

Enigmatic Photographer Jeffrey Johnson deposited a stack of his appealing pictures from the seventies and eighties with Archivist Stefan Dickers at the Bishopsgate Institute recently, including these photos of favourite spots in London. I cannot resist the feeling that Jeffrey is one after my own heart when I examine these characterful pictures of the capital’s forgotten corners – a few are familiar places but I am reliant upon my readers to identify the rest.


Buitifull Buttons

Arlington Way, N1

Broadway Market

Commercial Rd

Royal Exchange, City of London

Royal Exchange, City of London

King’s Cross

King’s Cross

King’s Cross

King’s Cross

King’s Cross

Teeth bought

Brick Lane

Barter St, Holborn

Great Ormond St, Bloomsbury

Little Montague Court, City of London

St Bartholomew’s Close, Smithfield

Albion Buildings

Photographs copyright © Jeffrey Johnson

You may also like to take a look at

The Forgotten Corners of Old London

Around Billingate Market

Mystery Pictures of Brick Lane

Dennis Anthony’s Petticoat Lane

Geoff Perrior, Photographer

27 Responses leave one →
  1. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    April 28, 2016

    These are fantastic, I never thought I would see Bill Mays cafe again, Jays Stores was in Battersea, they closed the shop in the photo years ago but they still have another shop that looks almost exactly the same in Rotherhithe near Surrey Quays shopping center it’s very old fashioned, George Greenwood used to be a well known Speedway rider in his day and he used to build the Rotrax engines but the photo shown hear looks to be maybe 1970s ? and George Greenwood was long dead by then so I think the shop was probably just trading under his name, my favorite photo hear is the one of Apostal’s, if the outside is anything to go by goodness knows what the inside must have been like.

  2. April 28, 2016

    Wonderful, atmospheric photos of London as it was; Jeffrey Johnson had a great eye for detail. Thanks for sharing, Valerie

  3. Ben B permalink
    April 28, 2016

    A lovely set of photos! It might just be me but these seem later than the bulk of the photos you publish. A tantalisingly close link to the past!

    The beginnigs of corporate facias in the William Hill shop and the Coke branding of the newsagents. The newer cars: the type I would have driven in the late 1990s.

    While I can’t name the places the time seems that it could be early 1990s. Even though that’s within walking distance of today the change is immense – especially in the places I recognise between St Pancras and King’s Cross.

  4. April 28, 2016

    superb photos, what a lovely eye

  5. Ms Marple permalink
    April 28, 2016

    I am training to be a sign writer.

    I have been following your marvellous blog for sometime now and always enjoys the eclecticism of your posts….

    But this one’s for me on a clear April morning.

    Beautiful esp the ghost signs.



  6. Vicky permalink
    April 28, 2016

    The last picture of the figure of a schoolboy made from coade stone was taken at the Vintners Hall, City of London.

  7. April 28, 2016

    The Apostal’s picture is so poignant. They’re wonderful. The Saloon is on King’s Cross
    Rd I believe. Jay’s Stores is still going too and the shop in the photograph looks familiar, but doesn’t seem to match its current location, or at least the shopfront.

  8. April 28, 2016

    Such evocative photos . . . and another fascinating post. I worked at the building with the fancy brickwork in Kings Cross in the mid-1970s when it was the head office of a large housing association. (Loved the building more than the job.) But it was originally the German Gymnasium, built in 1864-5 – the first purpose-built gym in the country – and now reborn under its original name, as a restaurant serving German food. More about the history of the building here:

    In the 1860s, my great-grandparents, Nicholas and Elizabeth Makepeace, and six of their children – there were 16 eventually – shared a small terrace house with another family in nearby Wharfdale Road. My great-grandfather, born in Wylam, Northumberland (also the birthplace of the ‘Father of the Railways’, George Stephenson), was an engine fitter and had followed the railway network as it expanded across the country . . .

  9. April 28, 2016

    Wonderfully evocative photos of streets known so well. The King’s Cross now a memory almost obliterated by ghastly homogeneous, faceless concrete towers.
    Apostal’s was on Upper St, N.1 . Almost opposite the old dispensary. I think it’s another restaurant now.

  10. robert miskin permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Jays Stores – Lavender Hill ; sadly missed these past 25 years. Fantastic for Levis, DMs and
    workwear. Proper shop.

  11. Malcolm permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Great photographs again. It never ceases to amaze me when I see previously unknown photographs of London.
    J.J. & S.W. Chalk was in Commercial Road, not Kings Cross. I believe the building is now apartments.
    The photograph of the alley shown after Albion Buildings is also Albion Buildings, just behind Cloth Fair. In fact, the old door you can see at the end of the alley is the same door in the black and white photograph published here

  12. Maggie Jones permalink
    April 28, 2016

    The 19th photo counting down was taken in Cedars Road, Battersea. The one that says ‘cars for sale’ It also says ‘Broughams supplied, horses sold’. As far as I know the sign is still there.

  13. April 28, 2016

    I think the Saloon was on King’s Cross Road at the Pentonville Road end. I used to go to an Italian caff nearby in the 1970s. I thought the child statue was outside a former school in either Leather Lane or Hatton Garden.

  14. Maggie Jones permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Here’s a link to the photos that I took there (see my earlier comment) in 2009.

  15. Patricia Taylor permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Yes, the Broughams supplied, horses sold etc. signage is still there. I shall be
    passing it today en route to see my son in West London. I love it and fingers
    crossed that no philistine will ever cover it up.

  16. Sigrid permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Yes, Apostles was on Upper Street, N1 more or less opposite Gaskin Street. It was still operational (I bought some blue leather there) in the mid- 1980’s.

  17. Jenny Sparidge permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Spooky! Or is it what goes round comes round? In 1963, at the age of nineteen, when John Claridge first became a freelance photographer he had his first studio in Albion Buildings.

  18. Malcolm permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Little Montague Court was behind Little Britain, between Montague Street and Albion Buildings. I remember there was a button wholesalers in the courtyard there once. All gone now, demolished in the 1980’s.

  19. rebecca lane permalink
    April 28, 2016

    Beautiful pictures- London the way I remember it from my childhood visits.

  20. Malcolm Barr-Hamilton permalink
    April 28, 2016

    I retrieved the archives of J J and S W Chalk from Commercial Road getting on for 20 years ago. The office was like something from Dickens; high desks and stools etc. Archives have been brilliantly catalogued by Natasha Luck and can be seen at Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

  21. Jill permalink
    May 1, 2016

    In 1939 Maurice (born 1 Mar 1909) and Peter Apostal (b 10 Apr 1910) were at 106A Upper Street, Maurice was managing director and Peter the company secretary of a catering distribution firm.

  22. May 3, 2016

    Wow, these are some truly stunning images of Cheney Road, King’s Cross NW1. Very interesting and very rare to see the cottages that were just north of the German Gymnasium and Stanley Buildings, heading up to Battle Bridge Road and the gas holders beyond.

    BTW other locations are: The ghost ad for Snowcrest Ice Cream was in White’s Row E1, Alex Fruit and Veg was in Alderney Road E1, and the very first picture showing the ads for Diggers and Anglo Gum was the window of an old sweet shop in Toynbee St, E1. I’ve more on the shopfront here:

  23. Janet Plimmer permalink
    May 22, 2016

    Jeffrey Johnson tells me that the cottages and the pub near the German Gymnasium were in fact a film set created for the Charlie Chaplin film so were merely false frontages!

  24. Annemarie Newman permalink
    February 9, 2019

    Thank you it was lovely to bill Mays cafe, it was my grandparents cafe. A lovely family run place with lots of memories it a shame its all gone now

  25. j guttenberg permalink
    September 11, 2022

    opostal was my uncle only met him once, he died in a buss i belive he had a hart attack judy

  26. Murray permalink
    October 13, 2022

    Redolent of the time

  27. Aidan McCarthy permalink
    October 15, 2022

    Shot with ‘Cars for Hire@ is bottom of Cedars Road Battersea…still there today…

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