Leyton reoriented

As Whitechapel goes, so goes Leyton. The Daily Mail reports that Waltham Forest Council has followed Tower Hamlets' lead and smartened up one of the high streets that will serve as a gateway to the Games. Here's an example of the work, the article features several more:


The transformation of the buildings was made possible by a slug of public money (Council funding married with national government's Working Neighbourhoods Fund). However, the store front makeovers show that  any shop can make a positive contribution to the look and feel of a high street and, in doing so, increase the number of visitors. It's enlightened self-interest, but it relies on a collective vision.

There's no reason why a newsagent or a post office can't look as handsome as Gently Elephant - Leyton shows what could be done if the existing guidelines for shops on Brockley Road were enforced. And if Ladbrokes and Pizza Hut can smarten their acts up here, they can do it on Lewisham Way or Deptford High Street too.

50 comments:

Tressilliana said...

I'm sorry, Nick, I'm completely distracted from your point by noting that that hairdresser's is called 'Peculiar Unisex Hair'. They got a new sign and didn't take the opportunity to change the name. I suppose it's memorable.

Anonymous said...

Brockley road take note..

@HighStreetBen said...

Its a great scheme - and if our one in Tower Hamlets is inspiring others to follow suit then that would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

here here Nick

It can be done if Lewisham council want to do so.

Anonymous said...

The second picture looks more dishonest to me. I'd be put off from going in and asking how much stuff costs based on those new signs. Whereas in the top pic you have a better idea that you'll get a bang tidy service with no frilly extras to fund the owners Ferrari.

@HighStreetBen said...

Hope this is ok to do a shameless plug Nick but if anyone fancies a trip up the East London Line to Whitechapel this Thurs, Fri or Sat, we are showcasing what we've done, and the 17 community and cultural projects related to the physical works - all free - details at: http://www.highstreet2012.com/engagement/events/high-street-2012-summer-safari

Anonymous said...

Did public money fund the religious messaging on the hairdressers? Dishonest.

Ed (cpz) said...

I wish our 'highstreet' looked as nice as that.

kolp said...

Whilst it looks nice. I hope the people that live there and use the shops like it and that it was a genuine "collective vision" and not something imposed nice though it is.

Anonymous said...

Looks so much better then that crap Artmongers do

Moi said...

@Tressilliana, haha! That is very funny. If they don't understand the implications of calling their shop "Peculiar Unisex Hair Salon', I'm not sure I'd let them anywhere near my hair.

Anonymous said...

What about the "Our God Reigns" above the "Peculiar Unisex Salon"... hmmm

Anonymous said...

Says "Jesus is lord" on the old one... I thought they were meant to be smartening it up?

Anonymous said...

Very impressive, however I have to say that the KFC re-design that they've done looks a lot worse - everything else was great!

Joe Coral said...

couple more bookies on the rank would cheer things up no end

Col said...

Why is forcing middle class ideals of what makes a shop front look nice seen as such a wonderful thing. If every shop down Rye Lane or Deptford High Street had this it would ruin the whole vibe of the area. Cities are meant to be mismatched to a certain degree, especially one with the history of London. We don't want everywhere to look like an even more anodyne version of West London. As nice as you think Gently Elephant looks, there's still no one ever in it when I pass, which is surely the most important thing.

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume only middle clsss people appreciate good looking things? Patronising crap.

@HighStreetBen said...

@Col 18 June 2012 15:27 - I get this comment levelled at me a lot.. (I also agree with Anon 15:32 by making this comment it implies all working class people like cheap plastic and badly fitted aluminium!) But to be fair to you I think that in terms of WHY: its partly about promoting good design, partly about keeping true to the spirit of how it originally used to look (you wouldnt put UPVC on an old church so why on an old commercial building?) and also trying to attract new custom in without alienating existing customer bases. Like it or not, the middle classes are the biggest users of the high street and what is the point of their pounds going out of town? Having said which there is room for manouvre and we should always ensure the High street has variety and appeals to all locals

Anonymous said...

@anon 15.32

'Col' didn't say only middle class people appreciate good looking things, he/she said it's a middle class ideal of what is good looking, which I completely agreed with. In terms of the colour scheme and the fonts it's a design artifice, and a sanitised faux gentrification.

@highstreetben

The middle classes won't be flocking to use these shops in bigger numbers as what's inside them remains the same. What it does do though, is make them feel like they are living in an area more suited to them as they walk past. The faux traditional styling is though a crowd pleaser amongst certain types, hence it appearing in that bastion of myopic concepts of Britain namely the Daily Mail.

Paulie said...

Yeah great way to spend public money, making middle classes feel more at home.

Anonymous said...

So we're not allowed to like smart looking shops because it's a middle class 'design artifice'? Like I said, patronising crap.

Anonymous said...

I bet you call everything patronising when you don't understand it.

DJ said...

Wow. Now that IS patronising.

Anonymous said...

"the middle classes are the biggest users of the high street"

what complete and utter nonsense, only a middle-class person would think rubbish like this

Anonymous said...

Anyone else who likes UPVC? It ages a lot better than artisan rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Typical of these smug 'keepin it real' wankers - desperate to be seen as 'down' with the working man until the working man disagrees with them. Then he's just thick.

Anonymous said...

@Anon at 16.18 - I don't think that you're right on this one actually. I'd have thought that the changes will result in more middle class going to these stores, as they look more welcoming.

It would be interesting to hear from the owners of the stores in this "forced gentrification" and know how their business has been effected. I'd imagine very few are annoyed about how things have been going.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that the anon is the 'working man' he sounds like a middle class tosser too.

Rupert said...

When is Lion Fried Chicken getting a hand painted sign and a slate grey awning? I've been dying to go in there but it clashes terribly with my deck shoes.

Anonymous said...

How do I sound like a middle class tosser? Because I like the smarter shops? My dad ran a newsagents for 20 years, it was always freshly painted and looked the business. Standards aren't what they uesed to be clearly.
Luckily some people still give a shit about how the streets they live on look. It's called pride - you tosser.

honestpenisflange said...

Brockley is in need of some honest signage.

Put Ye Olde in front of every shop, for example; Ye Olde Lions Fried Chicken.

Would add 10% to house prices.

Anonymous said...

Would add 70% to chicken price. Dishonest unfair :-(

DJ said...

I reckon 90% of the class warrior/honest/mung stuff on here is written by one person.
And one day he'll finally get a girlfriend and have something else to do and we'll all be a lot better off.

C said...

I think DJ's right - it's definitley a man. Women have far better things to do.

Anonymous said...

Good boy.

Anonymous said...

I think DJ is a double agent.

DJ said...

I am. Or am I? Ahhhh...

Pedant Rights said...

Interesting to see that Leyton has an academic bookshop. Hope we get that in Brockley too.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been up and down Leyton High Street for the past thirty years, the lick of paint and new signage has made a considerable difference and there is nothing wrong in that..... possibly allowing W*** H** in the Olympic Stadium,is however unforgivable!!

Anonymous said...

Blackwells is the name of a Newsagent and not the bookshop! Have you ever been to Leyton?

Anonymous said...

Sprucing up the signage would make Brockley Rd look much nicer and maybe encourage people to use the shops more. That and encouraging the shopkeepers to keep the frontage clean and tidy (instead of a convenient car park) would greatly improve the area.

Signage tends to be done on the cheap and is often quite tacky. Seemly small improvements like this can add up to a lot.

Of course, you do need a council that takes the initiative to promote these these things.

Did I not hear news of some sort of scheme to improve shopping streets? I hope Lewisham have been rattling the tin at central government.

Lee said...

Lewisham is doing up Deptford and Catford as part of the Outer London Fund.

Look at picture of shops 100 years ago and they all looked great. Owners would often be photographed outside their shops, all their goods proudly displayed. The most humble of businesses tried their best to make their shops look great to attract custom.

Fast forward to today and many of our high streets are tatty, shabby, uninviting places. High streets are struggling.

Schemes like the one Ben is talking about or the ones as part of the Outer London Fund do make a difference. Good signage isn't expensive, infact many shops have spent thousands making their shops look worse, ripping out orignal shop fronts for no real benefit. It's got nothing to do with class.

Weatherspoons pubs are probably the cheapest chain of pubs. Yet they generally look great with old fashioned back painted glass signs which aren't actually any more expensive than the illuminated plastic boxes.

It's about time our high streets looked proud of themselves again. Shops are not a charity, they are not there to ask for our support (but it's great if people do support them), they need to earn trade and compete. Part of winning that trade is to improve not just how individual shops look, but how whole streets look and feel.

Anonymous said...

I'm suprised no one has mentioned the number of shops in Lewisham that now have pavement kiosks usually selling mobile phones and cards.

Honestly Fare Cough said...

That whole dishonest fare joke is so old and tired. Whoever you are please give it a rest.

If you ever actually trying to make a point then your laboured joke will not do you any favours in getting this across. If you are trying to be witty and funny then your laboured joke will not do you any favours in getting this across. And if your sole motivation is to rustle the jimmies of the readers of Brockley Central then, as has been suggested, there is an amazing world out there ripe for discovery with people to meet, things to do, and women who, if you work on your jokes a bit, may talk to you and agree to go on a date. You can even choose the establishment - but any jokes about the food or pricing and your date will discover just who you are and leave you for ever - and you dont want that now do you? None of us want that...

Anonymous said...

Making things look nicer and tidier on a high street is a pleasure to see.

There is no reason why people should not take pride in the appearance of their high street, shop keepers should also take responsibility in maintaining a good shop frontage.

This is not about divisions in social class or about raising prices when an area looks nicer but in fact it is actually about feeling proud about where we live!

Lady in the Well said...

I would just like to add my gripe about shops covering their windows in Lyca Mobile stickers and tatty phone tariff posters.

Why!?

Peacocks general store in Ladywell has expanded into the shop next door, clearly spent some money inside on builders and painting and decorating. It was actually looking quite light and bright and promising until they stuck Lyca mobile stickers all over the window. Probably so they can shove loads of crisp boxes up against the inside of the window.

Makes me wish it was a tesco.

fattyfattydumbdumb said...

@ Lady in the Well - couldnt agree more. Why can't even one of these corner store NOT cover their windows in impactless posters for call cards? I mean can't even one of these so called business people see how dreadful it looks...

kolp said...

Whilst I don't agree with the argument the mung/class aesthetic comments allude to. I don't think lecturing, insulting and abusing fellow commenters that make them, helps.

We are all entitled to our opinion and we are all able to ignore opinions we don't like.

Darylh said...

ooo pretty.

Anonymous said...

If only a similar transformation could be wrought on Deptford High Street - it's surely the closest thing to a third world high street in London.

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