windows

Linking in with the windows photo challenge at Wild Daffodil https://daffodilwild.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/windows-4/

I confess that, not only do I have a fascination for windows, but I also take photos of shop windows – over the years I have managed to record a bit of social history that is interesting to look back on and notice how things change or not. I hope you enjoy these, they are just a few of the many starting with …

…the memorable

Early 1960’s location unknown (possibly Maidstone, Kent)
On holiday with my mum, dad, brother, aunt and uncle in the 60’s we came across this street of quaint little shops and had great fun posing for this picture. I am the one with hands on hips in the tartan trews – too small to reach the overhang of the shops. If anyone recognises the street please let me know where it is.
Jewellers – Cheltenham High Street, 2018
My engagement ring – two small diamonds either side of a deep blue saphire, came from this shop in 1974. We were students back then and £28 was a lot of money on a student grant. The shop looked just the same back then as it does now and I still have the hand written receipt.
Bah Humbug traditonal sweet shop – Masham, Market Place, 2008
Younger daughter’s wedding day – memories of fun photos taken around Masham market place.
Dress shop – Vicenza Italy, 2018
I walked passed this beautiful shop window everyday during our stay in Vicenza – I was very tempted by this delicate pink lace dess and if I had a spare £300 and was only a size 6 I might have tried it on.

…the ones lost in time…

Chemist – Buxton, Terrace Road, 2014
I love these old shops where time appears to have stood still. This chemist has hardly changed in all the years we have been going to Buxton, note the beautiful large glass jars in the upper windows.
Butchers – Castle Douglas, King Street, 2018
Castle Douglas was awarded the status of ‘Food Town’ in May 2002. Family butchers going back generations are at the heart of this.
Butchers – Castle Douglas, King Street, 2018
They may have original shop fronts but both are moving ahead with the times and have websites to take internet orders.
Homewares shop – Newton Stewart, Victoria Street, 2013
Newton Stewart like many of the little towns in southwest Scotland is a whole town lost in time and the high street is full of independant shops similar to this – gaudy shop fronts and higgledy-piggledy window displays – it feels like walking back into the 1950’s, a street full of little Woolworths and a great place to find nails by the pound or an enamel basin (long before they became fashionable again)!
Electrical shop – Stranraer, High Street – 2008
One of my favourite shops, believe it or not this is where we go for our light bulbs and cable. Despite the dilapidated exterior it is a delight to shop here – inside there is an old fashioned counter behind which you will find two lovely ‘older’ ladies serving and behind them are boxes of bulbs and electrical goods in no particular order piled high – surprisingly they can always find what you want. Note the boxes of electrical goods displayed in the window are all so old now they have faded to a pale blue colour.

…and the ones that didn’t quite make it

Corner shop – Kirkudbright, corner of Castle Street and High Street, 2010
It is always sad to see the closing down and for sale signs on these once thriving shops.
Shoe shop – Newton Stewart, Victoria Street, 2013
Possibly an old hardware shop – Bonsall Cross, Derbyshire, 2019
Whilst meandering around the open gardens in Bonsall village this window caught my eye with the shop dummy in the corner. Obviously an old shop, one of 26 in this tiny village before the second world war and now a house but one where the residents change the dummies outfit quite often.

….and the modern

John Lewis Store, Sheffield, Barker’s Pool 2018
Another favourite store of mine and a timeless piece of modern architecture that looks as modern today as it must have done when it opened in September 1963. Situated opposite the City Hall, John Lewis has quite a prime central positon in the town. I was born in Sheffield in the 50’s and this store, once Cole Brothers, has played such a key role in my life and that of my family. So many items in our household have been bought from here over the years. They are one of only a few stores now who actually still ‘dress’ their windows.
Olivetti showroom – Venice, Piazza San Marco – 2018
Designed by architect Carlo Scarpa in 1958 to house a collection of modern typewriters and calculators. Another timeless building.

…the local post office

Post Office and newsagent – Wigtown, S Main Street, 2018
As well as a Post Office this is one of those wonderful newsagents that sell a variety of children’s toys and novelty gifts. Take a closer look at the wonderful haphazard display of jigsaws and toilet rolls that are often a hallmark of these small village shops.
Village Post Office – Gainford County Durham, Main Street – 2014
I love this pretty little post office that we came across on our meanderings – it is so typically English.
Post Office and general store – New Luce, Scotland – 2019
So lovely to see so many post offices are surviving still and often relocated into people’s homes and sheds. These windows have window boxes full of herbs for any customer to help themselves.

…and bookshops…

Bookshop – Buxton, High Street – 2014
I can never walk past a bookshop window and if you have a spare hour or two and you find yourself in Buxton then browsing the 5 floors of Scrivener’s second hand books is an absolute must. It is rated as one of the best in the UK. Whilst you are there enjoy a tea or coffee from the small cafe tucked away on the first floor.
Bookshop – Wigtown, N Main Street, 2018
With a population of only 1,000 Wigtown was awarded the staus of Scotland’s National Book town in 1998 and has become a book lover’s haven – with the Book Festival in September being the highlight of the year. The program is extensive with many famous and up and coming authors speaking as well as a variety of arts events. Now given charity status this is one of the best loved literary events in the country. This is the bookshop that is famous for the recent best seller, The Diary of a Bookseller – written by the owner, Shaun Bythell detailing daily life in a book shop in a small remote Scottish town. His famous twisted pile of books outside the door, once made I believe from actual books, have since been replaced with a concrete stack that will better survive the weather.
Bookshop – Wigtown, S Main Street – 2018
This must be the tiniest bookshop window I have seen. Hidden away just off the main street you walk through a beautiful wild garden to discover this delightful little book shop specialising in folklore and mytholgy.

…the eye catching and well presented…

Glove shop – alleyways of Venice – 2018
Typical of Italy, a shop dedicated to sell nothing but the finest leather gloves in every colour imaginable.
Homewares shop, Vicenza – 2018
Everywhere in Vicenza, no matter what the goods being sold, from china to bread, the window displays are absolutely beautiful.
Green grocers – Saltburn by the Sea, Station Square – 2012
The Birdhouse – Masham, Market Square – 2013 (now closed)
Sweet shop – Tissington, Derbyshire – 2013
Flower shop – Glossop, George Street, 2019

….and finally the Christmas windows

Emporium – Tissington, Derbyshire – 2013
Bakewell Pudding shop – Bakewell, The Square – 2018
Hair and Beauty Lounge – Stranraer, Charlotte Street, 2018
Bakers – Stranraer, Hanover Street, 2018

So many interesting windows and a little snapshot of daily life recorded for ever.

19 thoughts on “windows

  1. An absolutely FABULOUS collection of windows. So fascinating to look down the years – your family snapshots are gorgeous.
    I will come back and look through them again.
    What a wonderful entry to the photo challenge – thank you!

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  2. I am so glad I stopped by today and read this post! I am with you 100%, I love shop windows and often take pics of them. Mine is because of my window dressing days, and I know how much work goes into getting them right. I get irritated, almost angry, when I see a really bad window display. The window is the most important part of any retailers, so you have to put the effort in. I used to read a fascinating blog that showed the windows of NYC, sadly it’s no more, how I wish it was still there. I loved that site.

    You have so many fabulous photos. I absolutely adore the pink dresses! So gorgeous. And I love the pink china, which looks like Pip Studio and makes me sad. I smashed one of my pink PS plates last week and am annoyed with myself about it.

    The Ancient House in Ipswich used to be a bookshop, and I adored it as such. Now it’s Lakeland Plastics, which is great, but it was the perfect premises for books. And yes, closing down graphics are sad. This week we have a vegan shop opening in town, but our Monsoon is closing. So many shops have closed over the past few years it’s beyond sad.

    Thank you for your post. Made me smile. xx

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    1. I just knew you would love the pink dress and the china – I said so to DH at the time!
      Isn’t it amazing how some places change all the time and others seem to stand still. As irritating as they are those hotch potch window displays you see in some places do have a kind of charm about them and they remind me very much of some wonderful carefree childhood days, when both ‘fashion’ and ‘designer’ wasn’t such a big issue. xx
      The shop where we bought my ring is just amazing – I think the only changes are probably in the stock – the shop is exactly as I remember it and even back in those days it looked old fashioned.

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  3. What a wonderful trip you have taken me on today. I especially love the Christmas windows and the Wigtown bookshops are very familiar to me. X

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  4. I do love a shop window display! You have a great record there of shopfronts over the years. At one time I wanted to be a window dresser and don’t know why I didn’t follow that path….x

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    1. You would have made a wonderful window dresser being as creative as you are. I once went for an interview for a window dressers job just after college in a jewellers – needless to say I didn’t get the job – erhaps just as well I was probably a bit young and definitely inexperienced. x

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  5. What great photos. I take lots of shop windows too and my favourite is one in Glasgow with loads of old singer sewing machines as adornment. In this town we have lost lots of shops. No butchers, greengrocers or any interesting little independent shops. Plenty closing down each week.

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  6. Wonderful post. So evocative. A trip down memory lane for me to see all the old shops–the green grocer, butcher, ironmonger–still surviving. All memories of my childhood growing up in UK–like the annual visit to Regent Street and Oxford Street in London at Christmas to see the window displays. The glove shop in Italy reminds me of one I visited in Rome twenty years ago that was just a sliver of a store but packed with every conceivable type of dress glove in every colour. I bought several pairs–just so delighted with the sheer choice. (Ha! Just looked it up on g##glemaps–and it is still there, right across from the Spanish Steps-Sermonetta–looking quite smart these days.) Told you it was a trip down memory lane. Thanks.

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    1. The glove shop was something else – I didn’t manage to buy any but it was lovely just to see the display. I can’t think of anywhere in the UK that just sells gloves – in fact you don’t see many people wearing them these days.

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  7. I loved looking at these pictures, thank you so much for posting them! Proper independent shops. Wonderful!

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