It’s no secret that long before Covid made its way to the English isles, the British high street was withering. Big names and local names alike have been noticeably vanishing from communities ever since the internet got its wings. But of course, it’s always the erosion of a once proud little family business that hurts the most to see; that stops us in our tracks as we’re walking by, staring through the empty shop window, catching a glimpse of ourselves in the reflection. It’s all just a little too close to home.
I found a guy on Flickr, who has spent over a decade, snapping a photo of pretty much every shuttered shop he comes across in England. Empty fish & chip shops, newsagents, pubs, clothing stores, corner stores, hardware stores; some still brimming with potential, others battered and bruised. I couldn’t tear myself away; page after page of abandoned trades. For some locations, I checked up on to see if they’d found new life several years on from the date of the photograph. Most were still in the same sorry state. In these unprecedented times, small businesses are perhaps at greater risk than ever before, in every town, in every city around the world. In your neighbourhood. So I wanted this post to be a reminder. Don’t feel sorry for them once they’ve gone. Support them now.
View the full collection of Leon S-D on Flickr.
I would also highly recommend listening to this New York Times podcast about how a small bar battled to survive the Corona Virus.