London’s high streets are home to hundreds of independent caffs, greengrocers, bookshops, stationers, bakeries and chemists. But gentrification, online shopping and the decline of the high street means that many of our beloved local businesses are under constant threat of becoming yet another Pret – and those that have survived are increasingly cherished for the colour and character that they bring to the capital’s neighbourhoods.
At a time of monumental change for these places, illustrator Eleanor Crow set about documenting London’s surviving old-fashioned shopfronts. She’s created dozens of charming watercolours of the capital’s favourite chippies, launderettes, florists, butchers and hardware stores. Stretching from Chiswick in the west to Woodford in the east, many of these local treasures have been serving Londoners for generations, and some of their historic shopfronts have even been listed.
Featuring more than 100 of Eleanor’s beautiful watercolours, the resulting collection is a fascinating survey of London’s enduring small shops. Long live the local!
Barbican Fruiterers, Barbican
Allchin and Co, Belsize Park
All illustrations: Eleanor Crow
‘Shopfronts of London’ by Eleanor Crow is published by Batsford in association with Spitalfields Life Books.