It almost seems like a distant memory now, but it wasn’t that long ago that you’d find big name record shops on most High Streets around the land – like this view of Our Price Records on Brixton Road in September, 2000.
The Brixton branch, opened in the early 1990s, had the distinction of being Our Price’s 300th store, although it turned out to be one of their shortest lived.
The retailer first launched in 1972 and went on to own hundreds of shops around the UK, becoming second only to the mighty Woolworths when it came to shifting records and tapes.
By the end of the 1980s, rival store HMV had overtaken Our Price for sales, and after some big-business buyout shenanigans involving WH Smith and Virgin, the brand name started to vanish, with stores being renamed as VShops.
This move was bad news for music fans, with back catalogues of CDs disappearing from the racks as the new business concentrated on flogging Virgin branded mobile phones as much as the music.
Such was the paltry selection of CDs on offer by this time, I started buying most of my tunes from the (sadly) now-vamooshed branch of Brixton Woolworths across the road.
Eventually describing itself as a “Virgin Megastore Xpress” (whatever that means), the Brixton store underwent several increasingly glitzy refurbs before finally succumbing to closure some time in the mid 2000s.
It’s now a Poundland Store.
Independents live on
It’s not all bad news for Brixtonites though, as several fine independent record stores live on, like Selectors Music Emporium on Brixton Hill and Music Temple records in Brixton Village – both stores well worthy of your custom.
We’ll be running a full feature on all of Brixton’s independent record stores on our sister website, BrixtonBuzz soon, so be sure to give it a look.