Saturday 19 July 2014

Last Few Days at James Decor, Cliftonville, Margate

 Around a year ago when searching for a new home i noticed that James Decor in Cliftonville Margate was up for sale due to retirement. It has now sold.
Automatically recognised as a building of some note yet it failed to make an appearance in a local conservation report in recent years. Built as a grand car showroom and office space in a once glamorous high street, it still retains many of its original features in remarkably good condition. Now the shop is almost cleared it would only take a lick of paint and a few period hanging lights to be mistaken for the day it was built. This is definitely one of the best preserved showrooms in the country...
above: a picture of the car showroom when first opened hangs on the DIY shop pegboard wall
below: the interior today with the shop inventory almost sold out

OPEN - but sadly not for much longer
call THANET 24216
 Today, the original external Brass, Bronze and Mahogany framed windows and doors are still in place with elaborate marble and plaster details breaking the shopfront...
 large windows facing all pedestrian walkways/road sides for maximum light and visibility, the red painted boards (above and below) have been used in recent years to protect glass from vandalism, modern roller shutters would have damaged the fronts.

 What does the future hold for this beauty?
Since construction the property has serviced three main businesses, originally a car showroom, then a Gas and appliance showroom/shop who added the dark oak panelling wrapping around the ground floor and since the 1980s it has been home to the James Decor DIY store.
James Decor moved to the property from a former location in Sweyn Road (see below), Now a second hand shop. They moved to the new location partly due to the large customer car parking area to the side of the showroom, But as the property came up for sale i felt that this car park might spell the end for this beautiful building as the site is a developers dream come true when levelled. 
 So as another nail hits the coffin for independent hardware stores, its not all doom and gloom for 292 Northdown Road as the new owners plan to refurbish rather than rebuild opening a veterinary surgery with customer parking so hopefully the building gets to fight another day with the new owners....

 Above: James Decor added modern perspex signage to earlier metal framed light box locations
Below: original mahogany double doors with fan light and brass/bronze details 

 the superb ceilings are in amazing condition, hopefully they survive with the new owners...

 independent hardware stores, a very rare find on the high streets today...
 ...not much left...

 above, my first and last ever 'Selfie' in the private office security door can't get an off-cut of plywood in B&Q for 30p !

 ...Fantastic Plastic...Fantastic Prices...

 ...many hand painted signs that will soon be gone forever...
 ...back door to the carpark. I didn't know the shop for very long as I'm new to the area but it's still sad to think that this will be the last time I see this interior, please look after it... 
James Decor - 292 Northdown Road
(almost) gone but not forgotten


  1. Thank you for this, James Decor was a great hardware shop & i miss it already. Good luck to thge new owners.

  2. A lovely tribute to a truly beautiful building. Good to see painted wall signs too. I hope the new owners keep much of the existing features.

  3. A lovely article, it's sad it is closing but at least it is from retirement rather than bankruptcy! I only bought stuff from there last month. It is a great interior with lovely features, it would be sad if they are lost. It was interesting to find out what it had previously been, I used to look around and wonder.