The image that sparked it all… One of my dearest friends and early investors in Notonthehighstreet – gave me the most treasured gift. A first edition of ‘The Highstreet’ book. This came at a time when I was going through a transition in my life.
However little did I know this gift was set to change my future. This book was a compilation of beautiful illustrations (by Eric Ravilious) featuring all the wonderful, unique, specialist shops on the Highstreet. Ravilious travelled around the UK in the 1930s, illustrating shops from the time, such as cheesemongers, butchers, the knife grinder, the oyster bar, even the submarine shop!
From the 24 illustrations – 2 shops still exist! J. Wippell & Co. at Tufton Street, London, supplying Clerical outfits. Or my favourite! Paxton & Whitfield @paxtonscheese in Jermyn Street London, whose shop front and display still remarkably unchanged and who I recently found out, joined Notonthehighstreet!
However it was this page that spoke to me the most, the letter makers, it looked like a shop that could exist today! A specialist letter and sign company… yes, please!
This image was the reason I knew we had to launch a high street shop. To bring joy to the local community, to practise retail theatre, to build an immersive brand, to create a place to be inspired, to learn to interact, to enjoy!
This was the image that sparked Holly & Co, And my lifetime commitment to helping restore the high street.
I’d love to visit more of these beautiful, iconic British historic shop fronts, let me know if you have a favourite?