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East End Shopfronts

July 12, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my walking tour throughout July.

Click here to book your ticket for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF SPITALFIELDS


S.Jones, Dairy, 187 Bethnal Green Rd

These splendid shopfronts from the beginning of the last century are published courtesy of Philip Mernick who has been collecting postcards of the East End for more than thirty years. In spite of their age, the photographs are of such high quality that they capture every detail and I could not resist enlarging parts of them so you can peer closer at the displays.

J.F. List, Baker, 418 Bethnal Green Rd


A.L.Barry, Chandlers & Seed Merchants, 246 Roman Rd

Direct Supply Stores Ltd, Butcher, Seven Sisters Rd

Vanhear’s Coffee Rooms, 564 Commercial Rd

Williams Bros, Ironmonger, 418 Caledonian Rd

Francis J. Walters, Undertakers, 811 Commercial Rd

Pearks Stores, Grocer, High St, East Ham

A. Rickards, Umbrella Manufacturer, 30 Barking Rd, East Ham

Huxtables Stores, Ironmonger, Broadway, Plaistow

E.J Palfreyman, Printer, Bookbinder & Stationer, High Rd, Leytonstone

J.Garwood, Greengrocer, Bow Rd

“The banana is the safest and most wholesome fruit there is”

You may also like to take a look at

Alan Dein’s East End Shopfronts

Emily Webber’s East End Shopfronts

Eleanor Crow’s East End Shopfronts

Jim Howett’s Spitalfields Shopfronts

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    July 12, 2022

    There is a more subtle side to this.
    The people who ran the stores needed to be friendly to make a good living. So, we got to see the human side, and we really got a lot out of it.
    I would say most places lack that now.
    Occasionally, like at my local Sainsbury’s you can have a deep chat with one of the staff, but those East End places were commonly like that. I miss that very very much.
    One of my favourites was “Harry’s”, a sweet and cigarette store. Us kids used to run errands for old peiple and our playtime in the street was interrupted.
    It was expected of us. I never hear of children dking that anymore and rarely see children play in the street now. Peehaps danger to them with the cars.
    Consequently, many old people lead sad and lonely lives. As confirmed by Age Uk. Theee million over 65’s don’t see anyone to talk to for a week in England.

  2. July 12, 2022

    What a wonderful set of images to start the day with. Thank you Gentle Author. Can highly recommend walking tour! Although familiar over many years with Spitalfields, I learned and more importantly, from my viewpoint, saw a lot I hadn’t noticed before!

  3. Mark permalink
    July 12, 2022

    Cheapest and Best Funerals!
    Great pictures of proud staff outside their independent shops. Reminds me of Saxmundham in Suffolk, 2022…

  4. Marcia Howard permalink
    July 12, 2022

    Fabulous images. Sometimes I’d just love to step back in time for a while…

  5. Tricia permalink
    July 12, 2022

    Another fabulous set of photos. I am interested by the stance of the subjects. Unlike in photos today, men often tend to put their elbows on their hips. Is this an indication of former service in the armed forces? Women tend to display their arms in a different way – behinds their backs or to show off (?) their leg of mutton sleeves, but again more prominently than in a modern photo. Anyone know of any studies done on photographic body language?

  6. Milo permalink
    July 12, 2022

    May i also vouch for the humble banana? Safe as houses provided you leave the safety catch on.

  7. Linda Granfield permalink
    July 12, 2022

    Wonderful photos! Even the variety of outdoor light fixtures is fascinating.

    The funeral parlour intrigues me. I see that the stripped-away frontage is going to be restored.

    A search for ‘The Burger Hub’ (811 Commercial) shows that the sidewalk-level glass sign saying “Francis C. Walters” has already been uncovered.

    Perhaps a future blog can show the fronts of all these buildings today? Thanks to the Heritage of London Trust for giving the grant to restore the Walters frontage!

  8. Wendy permalink
    July 12, 2022

    Lovely photos. I particularly enjoy the two young faces peering out of the upstairs windows of Huxtables.

  9. Bill permalink
    July 14, 2022

    “Cheapest and best funerals”, indeed! I’d surely be persuaded by that alone, but… that window! Are those mourning angels in frosted glass? It would be a wonder if it still survived, somewhere, in a dank basement, leaning up a weeping stone wall.

    Good news, it’s all being restored. Wonderful sense of humor, the new owners. Fast food! Eat quick, you know what’s coming!

    I remember seeing the oddest window ever in NYC, a second floor window, huge, for some sort of old games or toy shop. Could have been painted seventy, eighty, ninety years ago. An immense and rather seriously leering clown. A great work of art. Surely gone now, I saw it thirty years ago.

    “Distance no object”. Surely another inducement. I’m sold.

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