HMV in Oxford Street
It's nearly a year since we learned that the HMV record shop chain was facing possible closure - part of the on-going decline of high street record stores and independents over the last few years.
Now I've received the following news from Dave Carroll:
'The HMV shop at 400 Oxford Street is due to close in January. A sale can be expected, but don't get too excited as the amount of stock on display appears to be reducing. This will leave just the much smaller shop at 363 Oxford Street (turn right as you come out of Bond Street station). My last visit to the cd section took me five minutes. Wikipedia states that the first HMV shop was opened in 1921. Does anybody know at what number? My earliest memory of an HMV shop is that it was also near Bond Street station. Has it always been at 363? Meanwhile, the HMV-owned Fopp, on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Earlham Street (near Cambridge Circus), continues to offer (occasionally worthwhile) bargain-priced cds on the first floor among its other stock.'
This has prompted the following from Alan Lloyd:
'I remember when I first came to London in 1972 the HMV was a little further down the road on the other side of Bond Street Station (but on the same side of the road). It was still there for some time after the one at 400 Oxford Street opened. After it closed, there was an HMV on the other side of the road for a short time which closed down as part of the cross-rail development. I discovered the one at 363 just a couple of weeks ago; it’s OK for DVD’s and video games but there’s not much of a CD selection.'
And from Gordon Fleming:
'I used the HMV on the south side of Oxford Street near Bond Street Station from the late 50s onwards, until the larger store between Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus opened. It had a fantastic basement full of vinyl (I believe the ground floor was devoted to "serious" music) with listening booths and large numbers of customers. Did you know that when HMV started mail order some decades ago (pre-internet) the freefone telephone number was 0800 33 45 78 (pretty cool, huh?)'
It seems we all have memories of the HMV stores in central London. I certainly used to enjoy trawling through the large selection of vinyl that they stocked before CDs took over completely. And of course Tower and Virgin also provided good opportunities - now sadly no more as well. According to the HMV website the first store in Oxford Street was opened on July 20, 1921 by Sir Edward Elgar. Their second flagship store - at 150 Oxford Street, near Oxford Circus - became the largest record store in the world when it was opened by Bob Geldof in October 1986. Let's hope that at least one HMV store will remain in central London, as it seem that many of those that were located in high streets across the UK have closed as well.
Dave also has news of the 100 Club in London, the venue for many great gigs in the 80s and 90s but now a shadow of its former self in terms of the music to be found there. Dave comments: ‘In January the 100 Club will be closed while the toilets are refurbished. Is it trying to shed its earthy reputation? What they need to do is what they failed to following the last refurbishment: maintain them and clean them on a regular basis. Some hope, though I don't know why I should care, as my visits to this historic venue occur bi-annually these days’