Walking through Swansea city centre, we’re used to seeing a few empty shop units.
But the echoes of what used to be there linger on at many of them. That’s because a number still display the signs belonging to the businesses they were last occupied by.
Other signs date from much further back and the units they peer down on are now either still empty or occupied by other businesses.
Here’s a closer look at some of them…
Crossfire at 45 Princess Way opened its doors on July 3, 2004, and had been open from 10am until 10pm seven days a week.
At its peak, it had a total of 58 computers, spread over two floors.
The ground floor contained 18 high-spec gaming computers, plus a block of 15 computers for web browsing.
The first-floor gaming room held 25 PCs, laid out in banks of five for ideal team play.
It closed on October 5, 2014, yet its sign still remains and the unit has not been filled.
Cranes music shop, based in the St David’s Shopping Centre, had been trading since 1987.
It offered Wales’ largest selection of vintage and rare musical instruments and was popular for generations.
It closed in 2018, which Lee Jones, who managed the store, called “an end of an era”.
Take a look inside Crane’s from when it was in existence:
It’s still empty, and the closing down sale signs are still on display in the window.
The shopping centre is in an area which is part of redevelopment plans for the city.
Windsor Cafe, at Craddock Street, had been around since 1951, and was a well-known place where people would go for food for generations.
It was wound up back at the end of 2015, but its eye-catching red signage is still visible five years later.
Britpop Swansea, also in Craddock Street, was opened by Brazilians Carlos and Andreia Vieira at the beginning of August, 2017.
Inspired by the ‘Mod’ era, it paid tribute to some of the great ‘Britpop’ bands through the eras and had pictures of some of the most beloved bands adorning its walls.
As well as serving food and drinks, it was a place that gave local musicians, comedians and poets a place to perform, and welcomed star names from the Britpop era such as Andy Bennett from Ocean Colour Scene.
But the couple decided to put the popular cafe up for sale in 2018, with Mrs Vieira saying the effort needed to get the small independent venue off the ground was taking away from the time she needed to spend with her daughter.
It has been closed ever since.
Jessops used to be based at Bellevue Way in Swansea and offered a wide range of photographic equipment and a photo printing service.
It closed its doors in 2013, and is another shop which hasn’t been filled since.
Toys R Us
The toy retailer which had been in the city for generations, closed its doors on Sunday, April 22, 2018, after the company entered administration and all its stores shut nationwide.
It left a huge hole in the retail park, where roughly half of the units are still without new occupants , despite a £15 million revamp, and it still hasn’t been filled permanently.
Circus Eruption took over the vacant Toys R Us unit on a temporary basis in January last year. It was via Charity Lets, an agreement which allows groups to occupy buildings until a permanent replacement is found. The free youth charity uses circus skills to promote diversity inclusion, equality and fun.
Hammerson, which is responsble for the retail park, has indicated it is set to name a more permanent resident, with “advanced discussions” taking place.
Former base of Formal Hire
Formal Hire Welsh Tartan Centre has now relocated to unit 13 in Cwmdu Parc.
But its former base still remains empty with its signage on full display.
In this case, however, it looks like it won’t be long before we see a transformation.
7 Lettings Property Management is planning to turn the unit into apartments.
The family-owned department store JT Morgan store went into administration in 2008, making 60 staff redundant.
Its well known building in Belle Vue Way has stood empty ever since.
It still displays its sign on the building walls, and is being marketed as ‘to let’ by Dawsons.
204 High Street
There’s plenty of history at this shopping unit in 204 High Street.
Signs show its past use as the Labour Hall, and there is also part of a sign above which reads Smith & Son, but was originally WH Smith & Son – just WH Smith today.
It remains empty.
British Home Stores
British Home Stores closed its Oxford Street store back in August, 2016.
In recent years, it has become the What! store.
But the building still features the banners of the former high street staple above its entrance.
Wilks music shop
Wilks was once one of the foremost music shops in Swansea.
Its sign is still partially visible at its former base in St Helen’s Road.
And here’s a few old restaurants which never took down their signs …
Bloomburger closed its doors in 2014, having opened just two years earlier.
But its graphics are still displayed in the unit it was once located.
You can also see the insignia for the old Metropolitan Bank of England and Wales here.
Rendevous Restaurant was based at St David’s Place.
It has been gone for a number of years now, yet the sign remains and the unit hasn’t been filled.
The restaurant was known for its ‘infusion’ of Mediterranean and Oriental cuisine.
The unit on 32-33 Kingsway was once La Fina, and then became Bar Ten.
Both closed their doors, and the unit remains empty.