G A Moore’s Menswear - An Eyesore or an Art Installation?

by KathleenDuffy

A festering shop window display in a London street has become a poignant, mould-filled shrine to 1990s menswear.

Just around the corner from where I live there is a shop called G A Moore Menswear. It takes its extraordinary place alongside the Edwardian shopfronts of the very attractive and much-loved Myddleton Road, an area that is gradually being revived, brushed up, renovated, restored to its Edwardian splendour. But not G A Moore’s.

Instead, this menswear shop has been untouched since Brian Moore, son of the original Mr George Moore, shut up shop one day in 1999, went upstairs to his flat above the shop and just left his window display to melt into the future, complete with mould, must and memories. He’s still up there.

George Moore Menswear, Myddleton Road
George Moore Menswear, Myddleton Road
K Duffy

After Brian Moore retired, the years went by and the window display succumbed to time.   

In 1999,  a solar eclipse prompts 350 million people all over Europe to raise their eyes to the heavens whilst  all is silent in George Moore’s Menswear - except the eagle-eyed would notice little rivulets of condensation running down the windows.

In 2002 Princess Margaret dies, followed six weeks later by the Queen Mother...and in the window of George Moore’s Menswear a distinct film of white powdery mildew silently traces a damp finger across the Y-fronts that take centre stage. 

 

Y-Fronts in George Moore's Menswear
Y-Fronts in George Moore's Menswear
K Duffy

The years pass - the attacks on the World Trade Centre shock the world, Lehman Brothers collapses, there are earthquakes and tsunamis, and Michael Jackson dies.  Alongside these global tragedies we have our own personal moments of grief and joy.

Yet in George Moore’s Menswear’s window events are less dramatic, but relentless. Time becomes a living picture show as ties, handkerchiefs, sweaters that Val Doonican would have died for, become museum pieces. 

Susan Hampshire, actress, in George Moore's window
Susan Hampshire, actress, in George Moore's window
K Duffy

Fungus, mould, dust and microbes are slowly becoming the main attraction.  Even a picture of the pretty Susan  Hampshire  doesn’t stand a chance.   Her green-tinged photograph is almost Hamlet-like in its irony:  “...get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come. Make her laugh at that.”

The years pass by.  Gradually, people begin to stop and stare.  They ponder.  This ‘display’ is no longer a display of 1990s men’s underwear.  It’s a philosophical lesson about life.  As we stare at the Y-fronts,  ponder over the pants, meditate on the mould, we know that we must all come to this.  And before the quiet, confident decay  we ask ourselves, “What is all the fuss about?”. 

At the end of the day George Moore’s Menswear is a living meditation, an art installation about time, decay, and life too.  The shop has become a ‘character’, regularly visited by locals to see how things are going - how far the mould has advanced its inevitable march across the acrylics. (Talking of which, perhaps because they are mainly 'acrylic' or man-made fibre this could be the secret to the slow deterioration!)

 

Jumpers and Shirts at George Moore's Menswear
Jumpers and Shirts at George Moore's Menswear
K Duffy

George Moore’s Menswear has deteriorated quite a bit lately, in my opinion. I passed there the other day and it was long past its gentle mouldering stage. I could smell the damp when I put my nose to the door. It seems now to be shouting out one last defiant scream. The pace is quickening.

As if they know the end is nigh, journalists and other media types have been visiting George Moore's, taking photographs, writing articles and I think even television has been involved.  This is wonderful publicity for the street - because the neighbourhood is fighting very hard to revive this beautiful Edwardian street to its former glory.

In a way therefore, George Moore's Menswear's slow death is helping to keep the project alive!


One day George Moore's Menswear will have to be cleared out and we will all be sad. Because it is a beautiful, poignant, living/dying memorial to life, death, time - and Y-fronts.

                                                           **************************

 

Max Bygraves Cassette Tape at George Moore Menswear
Max Bygraves Cassette Tape at George Moore Menswear
K Duffy

More of my articles about London

In 1847 Carlo Gatti, an Italian Swiss immigrant, arrived penniless at Dover. His natural talent for business strategy, marketing and business innovation made him a rich man.
In 1683 the Thames froze over and a great Thames Frost Fair was held on the ice itself. But despite recent cold winters, especially 2010, the Thames has failed to freeze. Why?
From the 1820s to the 1890s London merchants imported pure ice from the lakes and fjords of Norway. It was a thriving industry, requiring strength and skill from its workers.
Coming to London? Why not visit the Thames foreshore and discover the fragments of past lives that this great London river leaves behind each time the tide is out. It's addictive!
Updated: 04/24/2014, KathleenDuffy
 
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KathleenDuffy on 09/01/2014

I saw him out there the other day cleaning the place out - you could smell if from miles away!! (slight exagerration....) I must pop down and see how he is getting on!

paperfacets on 08/26/2014

Very interesting and I bet the new proprietor will have lots of cleaning to do.

JoHarrington on 06/19/2014

In some ways, that's quite sad. We'll never get to see how it looks in another decade of decay.

KathleenDuffy on 06/18/2014

Well there is now an update. I walked past the other day and a young man had the door open and was clearing out the stuff. The smell was incredible. He's going to open a bakery! So I am not sure if the owner is still up there now. Everything will go to landfill but won't take long to rot down! It will be the end of a unique London landmark! But it's time has come.

JoHarrington on 06/18/2014

I somehow missed that Brian was still alive. I was reading this entire thing with a sense of morbid reality, thinking he was up there in a similar state to the front window... ish.

KathleenDuffy on 04/25/2014

Hello Emma - So glad you enjoyed the article and I do so agree with everything you have said about Hamlet! I too remember it as a favourite in those teenage years because it seemed very relevant to all that angst!

Guest on 04/25/2014

Kathleen, This article is fascinating. I love quirkiness. I also love "Hamlet," my favorite Shakespeare play, and, in fact, one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature. I have grown up with that enigmatic prince, thinking of the wisdom in that play over the decades since I fell head over heels in love with the play as a teen-ager. The graveyard scene is often lost amidst the alluring philosophical phrases in other scenes.

KathleenDuffy on 04/23/2014

Oh, brilliant! That's a great idea! :)

WordChazer on 04/23/2014

Danielle just gave me an idea and I sent a Tweet off to a contact who specialises in writing about/publicising quirky London sites. Thanks to both Kathleen and Danielle for that.

KathleenDuffy on 04/23/2014

Mira - Thanks so much for your comment. :)


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