Skip to content

Antony Cairns’ Small Shops

May 30, 2023
by the gentle author

Meet me next Sunday on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral and we will spend the afternoon walking eastward together through the square mile to explore the wonders and the wickedness of the ancient City of London.

Click here to book for my next City of London walk on Sunday 4th June


Today I present Antony Cairns’ ethereal portfolio of small shops, created using 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 was the proprietor.

The Handy Shop,  Ruskin Ave, E12

M.J. Evans, Warren St, W1

Unknown shop, Mile End, E1

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

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Jane Beckett permalink
    May 30, 2023

    Great to see Evans in Warren St – it had great blue tiles on the exterior. It was a Welsh family run dairy and I shopped there regularly.

  2. June 2, 2023

    What a sad repertoire, however ‘Printworks, Blackfriars Rd, SE1’ would not have been a printworks, but the office of the then NATSOPA trade union [National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants]

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS