Shop front history

For centuries the focus in towns for trade was markets and fairs. The medieval housewife would buy much of what she needed at stalls regularly set up and dismantled. Gradually stalls were replaced by permanent shops with living space above or behind.

Shops lined many a medieval market place or high street with a typical shop front which would have large, arched, unglazed windows. The windows could be protected at night by a pair of horizontal shutters, the upper one of which could be hooked up to provide shelter while the lower one folded down to form a counter, or just one shutter could be hinged to form a counter.

Glazed shop windows gradually took over from open ones during the 18th century. Small panes of glass were set in a grid of glazing bars. Bow windows were popular by the end of the century.

While we undoubtedly admire the beauty of Victorian and Georgian shopfronts, it is some of our 20th century examples which are architecturally the most daring and striking.

By the end of the 1920s, two main types of shopfront style had emerged. The first was a very minimalist, undecorated design constructed of sleek and shiny materials. The second was of a more traditional style using curved glass entrances with tiled or marble flooring.

Aluminium Shop FrontDuring the early part of the 20th century the introduction of new materials like steel began to influence the construction of shopfronts. Steel allowed even more possibilities than its 19th century predecessor, cast iron.

Aluminium is the material that is now incredibly popular where shop front frames are concerned. Although aluminum is a lightweight metal, and very versatile, it is also incredible durable. Aluminium shop fronts are designed to withstand everything the weather has to throw at them.

IDC offers a nationwide shop front, design and installation service. Our prices are highly competitive and our installations are undertaken by a highly skilled and trained specialists.  See