Author Archives: buildingourpast

The Poland Street Garage

A much-altered and rather unprepossessing NCP car park at 49-53 Poland Street, just behind Oxford Street in central London, opened in March 1925 as the country’s very first staggered-floor parking garage. The invention of the staggered-floor (or split-level) car park … Continue reading

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The Story of Frederick Sage & Co.

Frederick Sage & Co. was one of Britain’s top shopfitters. The company manufactured fashionable shopfronts, fixtures and fittings from high-quality materials such as hardwood, bronze and curved glass. In addition, Sage designed and made airtight showcases for exhibitions and museums, … Continue reading

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Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Great Yarmouth

Baird’s / Dunn’s, 10a-11 Regent Street The Irishman James Baird (1839-1917) set up as a boot and shoe dealer in Great Yarmouth in 1862. He specialised in footwear with waterproof soles made of ‘gutta percha’ (gum harvested from tropical trees), … Continue reading

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Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Baldock

A plum spot on the Great North Road meant that the small market town of Baldock in Hertfordshire became an ideal staging post for people journeying north from London. From the 17th century onwards it was chock-a-block with coaching inns, … Continue reading

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Spotting Historic Shopfronts: Cambridge

21 Market Street Cambridge is rich in historic shopfronts. Here are a few interesting examples to look out for on shopping trips in town! Two Art Nouveau Shopfronts from the 1920s Surprisingly, the elegant art nouveau shopfront at 21 Market … Continue reading

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Woolworth’s Architects

F. W. Woolworth landed on British soil with a group of hand-picked American managers in 1909 and promptly set about establishing a new chain of 3d. and 6d. stores. Suitable buildings were identified, converted and, if required, extended with the … Continue reading

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Woolworth’s British Shopfronts

F. W. Woolworth & Co Ltd occupied a prominent spot on British High Streets for nearly a century, from 1909 until 2009. Beneath the red and gold signboard of the famous 3d and 6d stores, the form of the shopfront … Continue reading

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