Tracking the "Credit Crunch" with Google Street View: Muswell Hill

 by Martin Belam, 11 April 2009

I though it might be an interesting exercise to try and track the progress of the Credit Crunch in my local area by comparing photographs of the closed businesses near me today, with how they appeared to Google's cameras during summer 2008.

I started at the roundabout atop Muswell Hill.

Straight away we've lost the Fine Burger Company, although not necessarily their newspaper order. Back when Google visited, they were still flipping gourmet burgers.

Fine Burger Co on Google Street View

Fine Burger Co March 2009

Moving down to Fortis Green Road, we can see that we have also lost the A1 Wine convenience store. It is interesting to think that the reason businesses called themselves things like "A-1" was to get to the top of the Yellow Pages listings - the SEO of its day.

A-1 Wine on Google Street View

A-1 Wine closed

The biggest and most visible loss to the area has been the closure of the Woolworths store, which is still seen to be bustling on Google Street View, with no hint of the fire sale to come.

Woolworths on Google Street View

Woolworths is closed

Some things haven't change much - this old branch of what looks to be Threshers was closed when Google drove past, and remains shuttered today.

Closed Threshers on Google Street View

Muswell Hill closed off licence

It isn't all doom and gloom though. This shop unit was empty when Google visited, but is now our local branch of Specsavers.

Empty unit in Muswell Hill

Specsavers in Muswell Hill


I got the W7 bus down Muswell Hill to Crouch End, and carried out the same exercise there. Tomorrow I'll be showing how this area seems to have been affected by a larger number of closures in the time since Google took their Street View photographs.


Good piece Martin.

Might try and do the same thing. Perhaps the blogosphere could set up a database. It could be a good record of the recession.

Congratulations Martin - you've made it onto the front page of BBC News with this article.

Good idea Martin, but I sort of beat you and Google to it.

As my final year university project in 06/07, I produced a very amateur Google Street View of my home town, Paignton (in Devon) and compared it to old photos and postcards of the town.

Great idea Martin, loving the BBC coverage!

This is what happens when Tescos makes massive profits and a Credit Crunch hits.

Tesco - 1
High Street Traders - 0

Fair economy I think not, the UK will continue allowing the rich to stay rich and the poor to starve...or shop at Tesco. Lets continue to bash motorists, drive them out of city centres to a free Tesco car park and offer substandard public transport as an unappealing option.

Global warming could now be over, the suns cooled down, lets focus on supporting local businesses to win votes and super tax the organisations that can afford it!

Keep up to date on my new blog