Co-operative Society – Argyle St., Lancaster, 1898

The Lancaster & Skerton Equitable Industrial Co-operative Society, Argyle St., Lancaster.

One of a number of varied signs on the frontage of these small Co-op stores in Lancaster. This example is set in relief.



Militia Barracks, Lancaster


The keystone to the front doorway of the Militia Barracks shows the date of construction, along with the Lancashire Rose motif and a crown. The letters are of an unusual design: a slight, spidery, script-like form that seems out of character with the robust scale of the building.

The Barracks, located on South Road, was designed by Edmund Sharpe in 1854 in a Scottish  baronial style, and housed the First Royal Lancashire Militia. It was later used as armoury and then incorporated into Storey Bros. nearby, White Cross mill. It was converted to offices in the early 1980s.

Location: South Rd, Lancaster, UK

J. Atkinson & Co., Lancaster: Shop Frontage

J. Atkinson Shop

As the details on the previous post about J. Atkinson & Co. shows, this iconic Lancaster company has ben trading in the city since 1837. With a wealth of historical details found in their shops and cafes, and the current owners desire to combine the best of the history they inherited together with a modern take on the design approach of the business, I could do half a dozen posts on all the interesting details surround them – and may well do in time.

For the present, here is a shot of the front of the shop. Amongst the interesting details are the unusual blocky lettering above the window – the ampersand is particularly nice and almost certainly unique to J. Atkinson & Co.. Ian Steel, the owner informs me that they are made of copper. Ian also designed the lettering decals on the window given the Atkinson name. As he explained, he synthesised the J. Atkinson & Co. script from an original invoice that had a serif version of the phrase ‘Tea & Coffee Specialists’, combining it with the sans serif strapline ‘The Grasshopper only eats the finest of leaves’, which has more than a nod to the 1930’s. The decals used to apply them to the window give ‘something of the feel of the art of the sign maker!’

Image kindly provided by Ian Steel of J. Atkinson.

Location: China Street, Lancaster, UK

Nag’s Head, Lancaster



This plaque with the initials W. B. and the date of 1898, also has this beautifully constructed frieze. It sits on the topmost storey of the former Nag’s Head pub on Church Street. Research has so far failed to reveal who W. B. was; if anyone has any information I’d be interested to know.

Location: Church Street, Lancaster