While sorting through some photographs, I noticed that over the years I have taken quite a few of interesting shops I have encountered. I also have a copy of a book written by Alan Powers which traces the history of mostly English shop fronts and was published in 1989. His bibliography lists over 30 other books on the subject and the book is part of a series Chatto Curiosities of the British Street. Other volumes address pillar boxes and manhole covers. The oldest shop photographs I have on my computer are a floating one from Lake Tonlé Sap in Cambodia
and a hat shop in Hanoi, Vietnam, both from 2008.
Two years after that I was in Srinagar in Kashmir, acclimatising to altitude before travelling to Ladakh to trek along the Markha Valley. We stayed on a houseboat on Lake Dal and had an afternoon boat ride around the lake, passing another floating shop.
In 2012 we spent some time in Cuba where there are two currencies. Locals use the Cuban Peso whereas visitors tend to use the Cuban Convertible Peso which is pegged to the US Dollar. We passed a few shops which only took Cuban Pesos.
Work took me to London on many occasions and I spotted a few interesting specialist shops on the way to meetings, such as this Bindery in Clerkenwell
On one of our regular journeys to Edinburgh we took a diversion to Sedbergh in Cumbria which was in the process of becoming England’s book town like Hay on Wye in Wales and Wigtown in southern Scotland. In addition to browsing in bookshops, I spotted this establishment with a typo in its title.
During our tour of New Zealand in 2017 we came across this Merino shop in Tirau
and in Australia the following year, this supermaket in Hall’s Creek with cows on the roof.
Alan Powers was mainly interested in the architecture but sometimes the most amazing things are the contents, particularly of specialist shops. I have never seen so many cufflinks as were displayed in this store in London
or beads as in this one in New York, spotted in 2016 when we stayed in the garment district in midtown
plus the lycra in the Spandex World shop nearby.
Bordeaux has a specialist brush shop which has been there for over 200 years. There used to be one in Edinburgh but it is no longer in existence.
Some shops have more than one function and like this bar and store in central Dublin.
Above all I love exploring bookshops and on our US journeys in 2016 we found quite a few; the Strand store in New York even had some stalls in Central Park
and one in Omaha
Some towns and cities have bookshops that I always visit when I am there and elsewhere, I am happy to come upon a new one by chance. Sadly in one of my local towns there is a three-storey art deco shop now empty which could look fantastic if anyone did take it on.