If one shop, business, bench or sign is improved due to the work we are showing in here, then we will consider it a success.

That’s it really.

We have not been paid for the work on this blog.

This has been

We are designers, this is our passion and we honestly believe that good design makes a difference.

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21 Responses to “WHAT IS WHAT IF?”

  1. 1 Hilary Satchwell June 25, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    What a great idea! The What ifs are great, particularly as they stimulate debate and actually show people how much better their high street could be…..

    Any chance of doing some of these for Forest Hill? It desperately needs it and the Forest Hill Society have been trying to think of ways to get shop owners to realise how much better things could be?

    Keep up the great work.

    • 2 leenewham June 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks Hilary, I plan to focus on Sydenham to start with and move towards Forest Hill later.

      Feel free to pass the word around!

      All the best


  2. 3 David Airey July 6, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Good luck with this one, Lee. Very creative.

  3. 4 Tom Harding July 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I love this website and I think your designs are great. I work in Sydenham Road and walk past these shops every day. It just goes to show how some simple and relatively cheap improvements could make such a change. I hope the Sydenham Town Centre Manager is looking!
    Keep up the good work/

    • 5 leenewham July 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Tom, more to come soon, watch this space!

  4. 6 Shell July 26, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Lee – I think your “what if” ideas are fab. They are creative and, if taken up, would certainly help to smarten up Sydenham high street and probably boost the numbers of local and passing shoppers. I hear some of the shops are keen to consider taking up your design ideas; this only proves how a “can do” attitude can make a difference to an area. Thanks for your contribution to our community.

  5. 7 lee newham October 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Well, hopefully…if anyone can, mention it to the shop owners. Spread the word!

  6. 8 Gurkha's Restaurant November 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Dear Lee and Ariana,

    We think the whatif website and your efforts are valuable for the Sydenham community and we support your work.

    We’re sure your designs would definetly leave an impressive mark on the high street and your website designs are really asthetic too.

    Gurkha’s will definetly consider you when we make design changes in the future.

    Our best wishes,
    Gurkha’s Management

  7. 9 Rod March 6, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Great Lee. Keep it coming. There are a lot of town’s, villages etc, that need an uplift and interest that you are giving. We need more like you around. If they are around, please come out of the woodwork, and give what you can to your local area. We can be “great again”. Thanks.

  8. 10 Gerome May 26, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Lee – I think your “what if” ideas are fab. They are creative and, if taken up, would certainly help to smarten up Sydenham high street and probably boost the numbers of local and passing shoppers. I hear some of the shops are keen to consider taking up your design ideas; this only proves how a “can do” attitude can make a difference to an area. Thanks for your contribution to our community.

  9. 11 leenewham May 27, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Thanks Gerome, please talk to shop owners about them. Word of mouth is invaluable. The more people know abut this the better. We are spending millions on doing up the high street but doing nothing about the shops. Unless the shops look better the perception of the high street won’t change. The perception of the high street is that it is shabby. It’s a shame that the council can’t see this.

    Keep looking as t here will be more in the future. I’m also preparing an article on costs of things like roller shutters and blinds and signs so keep looking.


  10. 12 Barry L Smith July 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Sterling work, keep it up.

    • 13 leenewham July 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Many thanks Barry, we have been approached by some other businesses in the high street to create what if’s and will will do some work down in Home Park soon for a potential cafe.

  11. 14 Jennifer Collins September 13, 2010 at 9:09 pm


    I love your vision with the “What Ifs” – and it takes someone with vision to show that things can progress & change, and that attaining the community you dream of is acheivable.

    Good luck with everything — I really hope at least some of it it comes into being!


  12. 15 sprzątanie nagrobków February 19, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I wished to say your blog is extremely smart. I forever prefer to hear something new about this because I actually have the similar blog in my Country on this subject therefore this help´s me plenty. I did a groundwork on the matter and observed a glorious kind of blogs but nothing like this.Thanks for sharing most inside your blog.

  13. 16 Julie October 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Really creative, would love you to consider Croydon which has more than its fair share of abandoned shops. Good luck with Sydenham and keep trying!

    • 17 Lee @ Designed By Good People October 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Hi Julie,
      Many thanks for your kind words.
      We are now working with the GLA and the Outer London Fund on similar schemes which came out of doing the one in Sydenham. Our latest scheme is in Ruislip Manor in North London ( We continue to add work to this blog and work with Sydenham businesses for free along with a number of charities etc. Funnily enough we may well turn our attention to empty shops in the near future. Good luck in Croydon, the council have probably seen our presentation as they did win funding for the Outer London Fund and I’m sure a representative was at the launches, but we haven’t been invited to consult with them.

  14. 18 Iso22000 March 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for finally writing about WHAT IS WHAT IF? |
    WHAT IF: SYDENHAM… I Loved it!

  15. 19 pilgrim May 25, 2013 at 7:22 am

    Appreciation to my father who shared with me regarding this website, this webpage is truly

  16. 20 Yocal June 2, 2013 at 6:02 am

    There is a shop front along Sydenham High Street which sells cheap household goods and their sign is damaged, underneath you can see the stunning original sign for Sainsbury’s manufactured from red/pink granite (which matches the buildingand bright gold etched guild lettering. How much smarter the high street would be if they all reverted back to this style instead of the mishmash of plastic and broken signage. … (Sigh)

    See these lovely photos of Sydenham High Street at the turn of the twentieth century ..

    • 21 Lee @ Designed By Good People June 2, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Hi Pandora,
      Thanks for your comment. It was actually me who posted the images of the Sainsbury’s on the link! The Sainsbury’s sign is rather lovely and it’s amazing that a shop can get away with having a broken sign for so long. It’s been like that for years. The biggest issue in Sydenham Road is that while the architecture is still rather stunning above shop level, all the shops have been so messed about with and so changed from their original designs only a handful of pre 1980’s shop fronts remain) it would cost millions to take them back to their original state. But there is much you can do for a much lower cost which is the point of this blog, which we have demonstrated with the design of Billings.

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