RECORD SHOPS OF OLD - a tale of disappearance It was recently reported that vinyl sales for 2013 were at their highest level for over a decade. Though still a niche sector of the market, initiatives such as Record Store Day, as well as many artists and independent labels insisting on a vinyl release, have meant that the format, once thought to be about to breathe at last, is showing a resurgence. In fact it is now the CD that is the physical format most under threat from downloads. What does this mean to Salisbury though? Sadly not a lot…the closure of HMV earlier last year left Salisbury without a specialist music retailer…and let’s face it, during its latter days music was fairly low down in its priorities. It’s not always been so however. Showing my age, which will probably be a regular feature of any historical article I write, I well remember mornings or afternoons spent ‘going around the record shops’ so where were some of these mythical places? Let’s take a look – SUTTONS – one time Salisbury institution, the shop’s heyday saw the record department on the first floor of where Pizza Express is now in Blue Boar Row with the hi-fi department on the ground floor, the shop stretching around into Endless Street. Classical section in one room, rock and pop in another. Had a closing down sale in 1983 or thereabouts that lasted for months. The Blue Boar Row part of the building was redeveloped with the shop squeezed into the Endless Street part with the scaled down record department surviving for a while at the back of the shop. Gradually closed down altogether though the Classical Room lives on above William Hill’s. DEREK’S – Small shop unit in the Old George Mill pretty much where BHS’s café is now. Remember the black and gold bags and the fug of smoke as you entered the shop. Seem to remember it was the only shop in town to risk sticking the Sex Pistols album cover in the window. Derek’s morphed into BRIAN’S with its sickly green fluorescent bags and Brian’s catchphrase, “it’ll be in next week”. More often than not it wasn’t and Brian’s bit the dust in the mid 80’s. WH SMITH’S – You wouldn’t think so now but Smith’s had a pretty good record department back in the 70’s and 80’s. This was when the shop occupied the building that now houses Waterstones (the old Assembly Rooms, before my time!). However the shop extended though into the Old George Mall and had a back entrance (roughly where the Body Shop is now at a guess, so virtually opposite where Smith’s is now) which took you directly into the record department. Extensive collection of LP’s and singles. Smith’s used a similar (and useful for the thrifty) tactic to Suttons when it came to singles – as soon as it exited the chart they’d be reduced in price, and would keep reducing until they were gone.