There is little bit of magic in the moment when you see a photo of your corner shop or local dry cleaners’ published on the web.Â No, really! I suppose in a small way it is like those rare times when you see your local neighbourhood in the background of a mainstream movie.Â At least it is rare if you live in Hackney – I’m sure those living in Notting Hill are used to their streets being used as a film set.Â I can pretty much guarantee* the streets documented in www.londonshopfronts.com haven’t been used as mainstream film sets, but they are no less fascinating for it.
The Glamorous Dry Cleaners (above) is a great example. You probably pass shop fronts like this all the time, but have you ever stopped to admire one? I mean really, could you get a less glamourous looking sign than that? What the hell is that font? And rainbow colours? I can’t think of any time when that symbolised glamour!
Then there is this little gem, Little Hut. Again, out of the corner of your eye you immediately recognise the ubiquitous high street newsagents, but have you actually taken in what they have to offer? From the looks of it, there isn’t much the Little Hut can’t do for you, since if it isn’t an international money transfer, bus pass, lottery ticket or bottle of wine you are after, they also can cash your pay cheque, print photos of your birthday party and top up your oyster card while you read one of their Nigerian magazines. If you are worried that you’ll never make it out of there with all those possibilities, you could just hang around outside and browse the small ads.Â This is a newsagent not to be ignored!
In case you think you might have overlooked some of your own local curiosities, you can go hunting for them on Emily Webber’s photo blog www.londonshopfronts.com. And if it isn’t there yet, remember the website is updated daily, so your corner shop could still be coming to a small screen near you soon!
*Ok, ok – with perhaps one exception thanks to the success of British film director Mike Leigh