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Sheffield History

BRADLEY'S RECORD SHOP

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That was the main branch. There was another on Chapel Walk.

A record rep told me that Bradleys was used by the British Market Research Bureau to take part in the UK singles and Album charts. The only shop in Sheffield that did. So if you bought a record from there you could send it up the chart. But anywhere else had no effect.

I worked for British Rail in 1977 on a Government scheme for 6 months. While there Bradleys used Red Star parcels to send records back to London.

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I think the shops were owned by ATV Music who also ran the Bradley's record label (roster included Stephanie de Sykes, The Goodies, Edwin Starr) in the 1970s.

It would have been extremely unlikely that this was Sheffield's only chart return shop. Most major towns and most cities had several, but they were not used every week. So if you owned History Dude Records and wanted to hype your latest funky 45 into the charts by buying lots of copies at Bradley's, it might have worked only one week in every two or three. In other weks, other shops' sales would be submitted. It would amaze me if, for example, Wilson Peck's didn't and Cann couldn't.

In theory the identity of Chart Return shops was a closely guarded secret and record companies and their agents did not know which they were. (Cue chorus of "Yeah, right".) In practice, most reps had lists of them, certainly by the late '80s when I knew the owner of one such shop in Camden High Street in north London. She would get showered with free copies of certain releases - the incentive being that she would push them harder so as to earn more profit, and the resultant sales would of course show up in her returns to the BMRB.

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There were only 250 record shops in the entire BMRB panel out of over 6,000 shops. In fact it was very easy to identify the chart shops for record reps. Reps just needed to go into the store and look around, especially the office area. They only needed to see that the shop had a BMRB diary. In many cases the store would have this close to the till. It was also a practice for the BMRB to pester shops for the diary as many shops were late sending them in. However the record companies would also phone up posing as BMRB people to get the shop to admit it had a diary!

Since the function of the paid for hype was to get it into the top 50 between 50 and 41 in most cases, you didn't need to sell a lot of copies. 60 copies for the week would ensure a place between 50 and 41. It follows that 100 to 150 copies in known chart shops would result in enough copies making it to the actually shops used by the BMRB that week. Since this could amount to as little as 10 purchases at the branch in Sheffield, even if the records were not included in the chart, it amounted to only a small loss for the record company.

I also thought at one time that Bradleys the shop and the record company were the same thing. However on another thread on this forum, it was shown that the two were entirely separate from each other and were not connected at all. Apart from the fact that the shop would sell the record company's product.

I also spoke to one person who claimed he worked for various shops. He told me it wasn't just the record companies that would fiddle the charts. For example if a record company had managed to convince many record stores to stock a record on the strength that the record would sell a lot and then didn't. The shops would then enter the numbers into the diary to say it had sold when it had in fact sold none. Of course once in the charts it sold a lot. Thus getting shut of unwanted stock. How widespread this practice was is of course not known. I did question the chap about it, pointing out that the other shops wouldn't show sales of it. But he said that the shops would have done the same. From what I know about business practices it would sound feasible, the old boy network, with shop mangers etc attending sales conferences and getting on the phone to each other, saying are you going to stock this record by Dog Face (made up name) that CBS are pushing? But I can't say if they would then tell each other to enter false sales in the BMRB.

What I can tell you that from 1969 onwards only the top twenty was genuine sales, but even then it wasn't an accurate reflection of the Country due to the fact Woolworths didn't take part till after 1976. If you remember that year the entire chart softened in tone as Glam Rock just died. Was it in part due to the more broader range of people who bought records from Woolworths.

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I am sure I remember there being 3 in town - the 3rd being on Pinstone Street !

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There seems to be some people having a similar debate here:

http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/archive/index.php/t-24670.html

In addition to Fargate and West Street, it looks like there were also branches on Chapel Walk and Pinstone Street, according to the narrative?

Some photo's of the Fargate and West Street branches here:

http://www.picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?searchterms=bradley%27s&action=search&keywords=all%3BCONTAINS%3B%25bradleys%25%3B

The Fargate branch looks to be where HSBC is today and the West Street branch is now the Christian Bookshop?

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Thanks, HD, for pointing out that the two Bradley's companies were not connected. I hadn't realised that.

My memory of Chapel Walk is that it already had Philip Cann the Music Man to cater for record buyers - so I'm surprised that Bradley's opened a shop there too, unless of course they took over Cann's premises.

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As far as I can remember, the music shop on Chapel Walk was Cann's (The Music Man), not Bradleys.

Canns had moved there from Dixon Lane.

Canns was about halfway down, next to Harry Fentons.

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I hate to upset you Vox but I went into Bradleys records on Chapel Walk and bought several records from there, including the Goodies Greatest Hits (also on Bradleys Records) and K-Tel's Pirate Radio 20 Golden Greats, which by the way was recorded at Radio Hallam. It was opened before 1976, it was at the bottom end of the Lane, way down from Cann's. I can't say what the shop is now as I haven't been down Chapel Walk in many years.

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Not upset at all. I didn't realize they were both on there.

I just had in mind how it was in the 60's.

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Wow! Two record shops on one city centre thoroughfare - these days I wonder if there are two record shops in the whole of the city centre!

Which reminds me, and excuse me for going slightly off-topic but it is related: are there any "oldies" record shops in Sheffield at present? I am hoping to visit Sheffield in the foreseeable future; last time I was there, which must be nearly ten years ago, I found one in Crookes. It was, alas, closed that day. I would very much like to devote some of my time in Sheffield to vinyl-delving.

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Wow! Two record shops on one city centre thoroughfare - these days I wonder if there are two record shops in the whole of the city centre!

Which reminds me, and excuse me for going slightly off-topic but it is related: are there any "oldies" record shops in Sheffield at present?

I've just bought a book by post from Rare and Racy, Division Street. They are still advertising records, I used to buy a lot from them 30 years ago (cheap).

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Wow! Two record shops on one city centre thoroughfare - these days I wonder if there are two record shops in the whole of the city centre!

On the same quite short street as it happens.

The two shops would have been only a few yards apart.

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Wow! Two record shops on one city centre thoroughfare - these days I wonder if there are two record shops in the whole of the city centre!

Which reminds me, and excuse me for going slightly off-topic but it is related: are there any "oldies" record shops in Sheffield at present? I am hoping to visit Sheffield in the foreseeable future; last time I was there, which must be nearly ten years ago, I found one in Crookes. It was, alas, closed that day. I would very much like to devote some of my time in Sheffield to vinyl-delving.

Record Collector in Broomhill is still going strong and has plenty of vinyl.

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I found one in Crookes. It was, alas, closed that day. I would very much like to devote some of my time in Sheffield to vinyl-delving.

And I think the one you visited in Crookes was at the beginning of Northfield Road. It closed down years ago I'm afraid.

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As far as I can remember, the music shop on Chapel Walk was Cann's (The Music Man), not Bradleys.

Canns had moved there from Dixon Lane.

Canns was about halfway down, next to Harry Fentons.

Was this the one that became Vallances?Records were sold in the basement @1979.

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Cann's was taken over by Vallances in 1974...but I can't remember there ever being two record shops on Dixon Lane...mind you, by 1974 my days of hanging out listening to records on a Saturday morning were long since gone.

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There were quite a number of record shops in Sheffield in the late seventies. I used to trape all over town on a Saturday looking around them. Apart from Boots, Smiths and Woolworth's, there was one on the Moor that was mainly electrical products - Rumbelows I think they called it (might have spelt the name wrong). One on a back alley not far from the Star building - a punk one - I was always scared to go in that one though, so I never did go in. Violet May on the Moor again. Not forgetting the one's on Chapel Walk and Wilson Peck. They were as common as the charity shops of later date, that mostly sold the records that people had bought from these shops! Later on there was a Rock shop on Howard Street.

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There were quite a number of record shops in Sheffield in the late seventies. I used to trape all over town on a Saturday looking around them. Apart from Boots, Smiths and Woolworth's, there was one on the Moor that was mainly electrical products - Rumbelows I think they called it (might have spelt the name wrong). One on a back alley not far from the Star building - a punk one - I was always scared to go in that one though, so I never did go in. Violet May on the Moor again. Not forgetting the one's on Chapel Walk and Wilson Peck. They were as common as the charity shops of later date, that mostly sold the records that people had bought from these shops! Later on there was a Rock shop on Howard Street.

There was a shop selling punk gear at the bottom of Ecclesall Rd in 1977.I went in it once but don't remember it being there long.Can't remember its exact location.

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Good info, thanks Annie, and thanks also to other people who have replied to my query.

I have just this minute had a memory of visiting a record shop in one of the railway arches along from the Midland Station, in the direction of Victoria Station as was - maybe a rock'n'roll shop? I used to do some spare time work, during my disgracefully long teacher's hols, sales-repping for a friend who owns a blues record company, and I think I may have gone in there seeking business. This would be in the '80s and I may have got it completely wrong - can anyone remember such a shop?

EDIT: I have just looked at a map and it appears that the Record Collector shop is on the same road as my old school, King Ted's, or a continuation of it. Maybe when I do get over to Sheffield I can kill two birds with one stone, visit my "alma mater" as the Americans say, then go and thrash about amongst the vinyl..

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I remember going to a record shop opposite the end of Nursery St just on the Wicker side of Lady's Bridge.

Problem is I cannot remember who ran it. Strange that as it's only 54 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I remember going to a record shop opposite the end of Nursery St just on the Wicker side of Lady's Bridge.

Problem is I cannot remember who ran it. Strange that as it's only 54 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kenny's Records was on Lady's Bridge, he later moved down the Wicker, on the same side of the road.

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The Pinstone Street branch was one of the first video libraries in the city. It was an unusual system in that instead of hiring a video for a night or two, you had to buy a film on video from the shop.
You kept the film for as long as you like and when you were fed up with it, you could exchange it for a different title for a few pounds.
You then kept this title until you were fed up with it and so on and so on.

If you wanted to keep your tape you could always buy another title and carry on exchanging. The title that I bought was "The Blues Brothers" and it cost me £42,and this was in the early 1980's! (around £130 in today's money) Eventually it turned into the usual type video library.

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There was a shop selling punk gear at the bottom of Ecclesall Rd in 1977.I went in it once but don't remember it being there long.Can't remember its exact location.

Yes it was the first Punk shop to open in the North of England. It was owned by Michael Peters and Graham Bull.

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