The Vacuum Shop and George Braun


The Vacuum Shop, 60 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16

Guests on my Stoke Newington Ghostsigns Walk in early 2015 were lucky to see a bonus fading fascia en route, advertising The Vacuum Shop. This was revealed by works to the Anglo Asian restaurant, which now straddles numbers 60 and 62 Stoke Newington Church Street.

Ben Selig was the proprietor of an “electrical appliances” shop at number 60 Stoke Newington Church Street from 1955 to 1961. Prior to him the shop had largely been an umbrella manufacturer, with Catherine Shields running the show in the early 1950s. After Ben left the premises is eventually became a cafe called La Paloma. Amir from History of Stokey was able to reach Ben Selig’s daughter, Corinne Davis, via the I Lived in Stoke Newington Facebook Group. She has added that her father died in 1972 aged 56 and that in addition to this shop at number 60, he had another at number 35.

The photos below include the lovely detail of the signwriter Geo. (George) Braun’s signature. The quotation marks around “SIGNS” is a novel, perhaps self-deprecating, touch. His work was also recently visible on another fascia revealed on nearby Stoke Newington High Street, although this time with the addition of what appears to be an early mobile phone number. Speaking with Michael Venus, owner of the local Handover signwriting supplies shop, he recalled dealing with George Braun, and pointed out the “He still owes me £150!”

The Vacuum Shop sign generated a lot of local interest and it was eventually taken down and unceremoniously put up for sale on the street for £300. Its current whereabouts are unknown…

Detail on The Vacuum Shop, 60 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16

The Vacuum Shop on the building neighbouring the fomer baker William Smith Hurstleigh

Detail on The Vacuum Shop showing signwriter, George Braun’s signature, 60 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16

Detail on The Vacuum Shop showing signwriter, George Braun’s signature with “SIGNS” in quotation marks, 60 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16

The Curtain Print F…, Stoke Newington High Street, London N16

Detail of The Curtain Print F…, showing signwriter George Braun’s signature, Stoke Newington High Street, London N16

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