Brixton business signs

Guest blogger Ian Duncan takes us through the aesthetics of the Brixton shopfronts

Despite the best attempts of chain stores and franchises, local businesses still dominate in Brixton, which means there are some happily off-message approaches to signage. I’m not one of these quaint small town types who gets upset by Tesco and WH Smith forcing out the little guy, but in terms of purely aesthetic appeal small shops definitely hold the edge.

Walking around it’s hard not to notice the dilapidated shop fronts that have outlasted their useful purpose or businesses that, against all the odds, seemed to have survived the decades remarkably well – it’s hard to imagine anyone picking the 1980s videogame inspired type on Coin Op laundry today.

It’s not hard to find all sorts of similar quirks. Just Yams etc. So more than just yams then? Or the pentecostal church on Acre Lane keen to spell out that the ‘I’ they’re touting is none other than Jesus himself.

Kennedy Fried Chicken is another favourite of mine – it trades on both a well known chicken brand and a popular American political dynasty, with the statue of liberty thrown in for good measure.

Of the now defunct establishments, Errington furniture has a tantalising sign which appears to have been partly painted over so we’ll never know what the third prong of their offering is: “Bought, sold or rubberised”?

So while you get ready for the advent of H&M, spare a thought for PJ’s barber with it’s cryptic reference to Genesis 14:18 – “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God” – and all the other little stores that make up the landscape.


  1. Am going to shamelessly quote myself: “In a world of increasing sterile homogeneity let’s make South London the rebel heart of metropolitan heterodoxy.”

    Brixton is out in front, walking my incessant talking. Gods bless you all, fabulous Brixtonian warriors.

  2. My current favourite is the painting on the shutters at BEM Music near The Dogstar on Coldharbour Lane

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