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Rare & Racy bookshop on Devonshire Green


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Sheffield History

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Does anyone remember Rare & Racy on Devonshire Street?

Situated on Devonshire Green, Rare & Racy was a bookstore and record shop that was extremely popular with Sheffielders

After a really lengthy battle to stop property developers (supported by most Sheffielders) it sadly closed down forever

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madannie77

Probably my favourite shop in Sheffield. Spent plenty of time in there whenever I was visiting, and although I never bought many books I spent plenty of money on CDs. The classical music was interesting, but the jazz & free improvisation selection was the best I have ever come across.

A few photos I took not long after Rare & Racy closed.

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1704_Rare%20and%20Racy-XL.jpg

 

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RockinInTheFreeWorld

One of my all time favourite places in Sheffield and now, like so much else that's worth keeping, just a warm and pleasant memory. Opened in 1969 by brothers John and Alan Capes and Joe Mlongo it was, and always remained, a place of utter coolness and welcome where you'd linger and browse for ages just to stay with the vibe that was all around. First went there in September 1972 looking for a book for my girlfriend at the time; and came back, and kept coming back for the next 45 years - time's a weird thing for sure!. Bought loads of stuff over the years, records, books and CDs and heard more jazz than I thought possible - because Alan and Jo (especially) where jazz hounds of the highest order. They briefly had a second shop on South Road in Walkley but were closed a lot of the times I'd be passing by.

Gutted that they were forced to close but I'm not going to get into a rant about all of that. I feel lucky that I was able to spend so much time there and experience what is becoming more and more difficult to find. Devonshire Green is so much the poorer now that you've gone. Thank you guys.

And what about all those other funky places which were only a stone's throw from Rare and Racy? Georgina Purse's bookshop on West Street - i hear that she's now in Western Scotland; or Alan Hill Books right at the end of West Street near the dual carriageway and who also had a great shop in Broomhill (now Richer Sounds)?  Sadly passed on. Or, Jack's Records on Division Street just along  (Hi Ian) - The Frog And Parrot with the legendary parrot on the perch outside - permanently inebriated thanks to the generosity of the locals. A parrot in rehab, no less. Mr.Kites (now The Green Room, with none of its ambience) - what a cool place to meet friends, get a beer and a bowl of chilli. The Washington - an outstanding ale house with an endless supply of great sounds just across the green. Sheffield - we never had it so good and we just never thought it was all going to be gone someday. Everything falls apart, that's for sure.

John continues to sell books, maps & prints (and has since 1999) from Church Street, Staithes, Saltburn by the Sea - visit him online at johncapes.co.uk

 

 

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Lived on Broomspring Lane and drank in the Raven Hotel both a stones throw from  Rare & Racy. As teenagers we'd buy second hand records there.

Went in before it closed and proudly told the owner how proud I was of my now defunct Rare & Racy t-shirt. He replied 'we never sold t-shirts.'

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31dec1966

So sad that places like this have gone for ever. I have to say I didn't like their taste in experimental music but each to their own. I bought loads of things over the years and I enjoyed just browsing. Buying on the internet doesn't just have the same fun as finding an unknown gem in a second hand bookshop. 

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leksand

I remember browsing in the record section when on came kid606's reworking of "Straight Outta Compton" (a favourite with many of you I expect). Well, after resetting my jaw and wiping up the drool I was straight up to the counter and I'm not sure the track had even finished before the record was bagged. My collection of Janek Schaefer vinyl would never have existed without that place either.

The chap who ran it used to drink at the Cask too. Clearly a man of impeccable taste.

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