An Introduction

Formerly The Cottage record shop, 111 Church Street, Brighton | Photo by Debbie Lias
Formerly The Cottage record shop, 111 Church Street, Brighton
Photo by Debbie Lias

Looking back, it seems that I spent most of the 1970s and 1980s in Brighton record shops but as the years have passed by I’m no longer quite sure who and where they all were. Some I will never forget, some I now realise I never even knew, and some had slipped from my mind, but a visit to the Yellow Pages archives at Brighton Museum has jogged my memory to the extent that I have recently walked or driven all over town to remind myself exactly where most of my money was spent for twenty years or so.

My wife has taken photos of all the sites and it may be the first time people have been made aware of some of the history behind these addresses.

I realise there were also a few record shops in Hove but I did not visit these often – with two exceptions – and so have mainly confined this reminiscence to Brighton alone.

I have not included the likes of HMV in Churchill Square and Virgin at the Clock Tower in my list below. Not that they didn’t also consume my time and money, but, as chain stores, they had less of a mystique than the one-offs listed here and I never visited them with as much expectation.

I also haven’t included those record shops that still exist and do a fine job today- such as Wax Factor in Trafalgar Street and Across The Tracks in Gloucester Road – as they remain very much alive.

Comments about this page

  • An excellent website, thanks for putting this up, it brings back a lot of memories. Unless I missed it, I did not see mention of ‘Royce Radio’ which was situated near the bottom of Trafalgar Street. It was essentially a second-hand electronics shop that also sold a lot of second-hand records as well, especially 45s. I am now wondering if it was owned by the same old grouch that used to own the original Record Album shop. The Royce Radio owner was a real grumpy old man (like the ‘old gits’ on the Fast Show series). My friend and I (when we were just 15) would always go in together, as he was too intimidating to be in there alone with! He would assume you were only after information (he seemed to know a lot of about records) rather than to buy anything. ‘You boys (meaning teens in general) only come in here to suck my brains’ he would say. We did buy quite a lot from him actually and he would perk up then and volunteer titbits of information (like what the first British released 45 was etc). That was precious collecting information in the pre-digital, pre-Record Collector magazine days!

    By Paul Martin (07/05/2009)
  • As a collector now for over 45 years I started with John Beals in East Street. The record store was downstairs and had 3 listening booths and a large stereo listening room. It sold all the latest hard to find albums – Velvet Underground, Mothers of Invention. I even stood next to Charlie Watts who bought records there. Bredons at Bartholomews had a downstairs record store selling items like the Doors and Fever Tree. I bought my ticket to the first IOW 1968 festival here. Bredons moved from here to a site in East Street and then took over John Beals.

    By Arthur Johnson (19/05/2009)
  • I bought my first record in 1963; it was the Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, to play on my younger sister’s newly-acquired Ferranti autochange record player (one valve, about two watts mono power). With singles at 6/8 and my pocket money at two shillings a week I couldn’t afford to buy any more records new, but I discovered a second-hand bookshop near the south end of Gardner Street, about five doors from the end on the left as you faced south, which also sold pre-owned comics and old jukebox records. I knew they were ex-jukebox as they’d had the middles removed. These came at ninepence or a shilling each. I recall buying Eden Kane’s “Forget Me Not”, Hank Levene’s “Image” and Adam Faith’s “As You Like It” – all great tunes but a bit dated in the face of Beatlemania, hence their retirement from the jukebox. Later I also bought a battered copy of the “Rolling Stones No 2” LP there, the second album I ever owned. Of course, nowadays jukeboxes all use Internet downloads, so no more ex-jukebox records.

    By Len Liechti (07/02/2010)
  • Well Paul, I’m that grumpy man’s daughter from Royce Radio. You are quite right he was very difficult, but he did have bad health. The shop was run by him on his own, it did not belong to any group, he worked there till he died in his 80s. If you go to ‘Royce Radio History’, you can read the whole story

    By Cherie Royce Chierchie (08/08/2010)
  • Hi Paul: I’m the grandson of the grumpy old man. My mom as just released an interview about the Royce Radio and you can find it here:

    By Brendan Chierchiè (09/08/2010)
  • In the seventies Rayford Electrics in Sydney Street sold brand new but deleted LPs. They had shelves along one wall on which LPs were stored vertically like books, so you could only read spines – and get a crick in your neck. I found a lot of gems though at good prices


    By David Wilkinson (30/12/2010)
  • Hi google The James Gray Collection, great pictures of Royce Radio in volume 25 pictures 213. Brilliant website for historical Brighton pictures,

    By Martin Phillips (04/11/2012)
  • I stumbled across your record shop tour of Brighton/Hove. I’d like to mention “Record Round-Up” of Portland Rd. My Uncle Les used to own it. See

    By Rick Vine (12/09/2013)
  • I have been buying recorded music in Brighton (& Hove) since I arrived in 1967, having bought my first 45, the Supremes on Stateside on a sneeky-out from school in Wimborne Dorset. There is a shed-full of music shops in B&H which [note: not americism “that”] which still need to be noted. I shall list as far as I can remember.

    Can any editor or contributor advise please ?

    ktf y’all

    By Motown Mickey (17/01/2014)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *