4 April 2022

Another shop fascia reveal – this time at 237 Upper Street, opposite The Union Chapel

So there I was, leading a guided walk down Upper Street last Thursday 31st March. The subject was 'Islington's Golden Mile – drapery, corsetry and fancy goods' all about how this busy thoroughfare used to be lined with beautifully gilded shop fascias, curved glass and the like. 

I positioned the group twixt the two parts of Compton Terrace Gardens, intending to talk about the tall early C19th Georgian buildings along this stretch, and long-gone emporiums that once filled the lower parts. I looked across the street and noticed a newly-uncovered shop sign three doors north of Laycock Street, where once was a lurid green sign, see right. Wow! What a nice surprise. I had to explain to the group that this was the first time I'd seen and I was sure I hadn't spotted in that past week.

The gilded letters tell is this was (? high class?) F. Horn & Sons, furniture stores and, having checked, I can tell you that the Horns were at this address for a short time from/around 1910, having taken over a site previously occupied by Harry Joel, fruiterer, part of what had been Whittards hosiery store at 237-238 (the Whittards evidently contracting rather than expanding at this time). In 1915 the Horns are shown at 236-237, which includes the shop to the left.

If you look at bottom right you'll see the signwriter's name which reads, Clang & Sons, 239 Goswell Road. This is very intruiging – I might be going word-blind here looking through all these old directores, but I cannot find a reference of any signwriters at that Goswell Rd address, or any Clangs or C.Langs in that profession during the period 1910–15. Very strange. There is a chance, being as there is no number on the sign, that the Horns brought their expensive gilded sign with them when they moved here from elsewhere. I cannot say how long the Horns traded at this address as I don't have enough reference to hand. 

The later sign painted over the top looks to be interwar era when the shop is again offering fresh produce, as is shown by the script, Highbury Fruiterer. This could be, perhaps, John Oliver listed here as a fruiterer in 1939.

As, ever, do let me know if you have any further info.  Here's nother pic:


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Thanks, Jane