Vitriolite, Neon & Stainless Steel facade of Fox Umbrella Shop (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Neon sign at Fox Umbrella Shop (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Stainless Steel prancing fox on the facade of Fox Umbrella Shop (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Original enamelled signage set on mirror in the entrance to Fox Umbrella Shop (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Interior of Fox Umbrella Shop showing curved glass window (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Curved glass ant-reflective shop window at Fox Umbrella Shop (Photo: Quintin Lake)

Fox Umbrella Shop, 118 London Wall next to Globe pub in the City of London (Photo: Quintin Lake)

This stylish shop was established by Thomas Fox in 1868, and has passed through a number of hands since then. In the early days the building housed a hair salon and a tailor, also owned by Fox, and it was common for customers to come, leave their umbrella to be repaired and have their hair cut while they were waiting. The extremely stylish exterior was installed in 1936 and was, at the time, the latest in shop-front design. Curved non-reflective glazing later used at heals on Tottenham court road was used for the windows, and the framework was made from black Vitrolite a type of black glass used in the 1930s and chromed steel. Two prancing silver foxes and a neon sign were the finishing touches. Seventy years on, it still looks achingly cool.

Inside, the shop is fitted with cabinets made of solid Canadian black walnut. The staircase boasts framed mirrors, with original advertising graphics dating back to 1868. Right up until 1990, the umbrellas were handmade in the basement workshop to the strictest criteria, and T Fox prides itself on having produced one-off designs for John F Kennedy, a gadget umbrella for a James Bond film, and brollies for John Steed in ‘The Avengers’. Visit the T Fox Website here

These photographs were commissioned by Thames & Hudson / View Pictures for an upcoming book on the architecture of the City of London

View more images from this photoshoot of Fox’s Umbrella Shop here

Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010