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Beanos was a second-hand record shop, once the largest in Europe[1], located in the South London suburb of Croydon. It was founded by David Lashmar in 1975 (a former member of the short-lived British musical group Dead Sea Fruit) and continued to expand through three increasingly larger shops ending up in an old printing works in Middle Street during the 1990s.

After over thirty years of trading, Beanos faced the threat of closure in 2006, although the immediate threat was averted by concentrating the store's focus on rare vinyl records rather than Compact Discs which were being undercut by large music chains and supermarkets.[2] However, in November 2008 Lashmar posted a notice on the website stating the store would have to close after Christmas of that year as sales had not picked up. The shop finally closed in the Autumn of 2009.

In January 2010 David Lashmar reopened Beanos as STUFF marketplace. STUFF marketplace officially closed on 30th April 2010 due to too little business. Lashmar is currently looking for someone to buy the building to run as STUFF.

In December 2010 David Lashmar and Beanos featured in the BBC television series Turn Back Time - The High Street. Lashmar appeared as a 1970s record shop owner trying to sell vinyl records to the public in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Beanos was almost like the mecca of second hand vinyl! I used to visit the Middle Street shop in the 90's and was always overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice. Perhaps for this reason I did not buy as much stuff from the shop as you might expect. With a whole FLOOR of 12" and 7", bags of vinyl Lp's downstairs and rows and rows of used CD's (downstairs) it was always difficult to decide on what to buy and what to leave. Some of the prices in store were I felt a bit steep but I did not mind paying £20 for a Cheap Trick promo CD I found which included an exclusive demo recording!

I have to say also that watching David Lashmar lock up his shop for the last time on the Turn Back Time programme actually made me cry. I'm not ashamed to admit that because, like David in the film, I also knew that when he turned the key in that lock for the last time he was turning the key on a way of life and all of the social benefits that went with it. God bless you David! Comment: Tony May

(Aug 20, 2013) d said:Dougie! Miss your company and those times gone by. Without you we would all be carrying our vinyl in paper bags. e me: you can find me with a search. d

(Mar 1, 2013) Dougie p said:I knew David really well and used to supply him with his printed Carrier bags, also supplied many other independant record shops in Croydon and surrounding areas with their bags.

Comment
First visited Beanos in the mid 80s.
In the shop of Surry street. Great place to pick up unusual albums. Most of my collection is curtesy of this mecca.
Name
Paul Hedger
(2019)

Paul Heaton (Housemartins) shopped here for Blue Beat and Ska records.

"That was its claim, painted on the wall, and I've never had any reason to question it. In the early eighties, Beano's was where I learned almost everything I knew about music. I also subscribed to Record Collector, read every pop history book I could find – Nik Cohn's Awopbopaloobop, Tom Hibbert's Rare Records – and listened to Jimmy Saville's Old Record Club on Radio One every Sunday lunchtime. But Beano's was where I saw records on the wall, learned to admire the aesthetics of labels like Coral and Cameo Parkway, and got to read the writing and production credits. Knowledge was all in the detail." Bob Stamley (2020) (Click on link for more on Beano's).

Comment
Hey there! Does any one remember the mural on the original Surrey Street store? Does anyone have a photo of it? I need to travel down that particular stretch of memory lane.
Thanks
Amelia
(2022)

Comment

The colour photos on this page are of the building at 1 Bell Hill, Croydon where Bell Hill Cassettes started in 1975 – you can still see the signs for ‘Bell Hill’ above the door where it has been overpainted with ‘Lashmar’s Bargain Music Store’ as well as ‘Cassettes’ in the doorway recess. The photos are of a slightly later date when it had changed to it’s final name of Beanos and moved to Surrey Street, Croydon (as the sign under the arched window tells prospective customers)Name
Dave Harwood (2022)


Comments

Dave Harwood
27 Sep 2023 at 02:07
I found this classified ad in the ‘Croydon Advertiser & East Surrey Reporter’ dated 4th May 1990: “Beanos is England’s largest 2nd hand record store. Take advantage of having this shop locally and call us if you have any records, cassettes, CD's or videos which you wish to sell. We pay instant cash and you know that you are dealing with a nationally known name. Beano's record dealer, 27 Surrey Street, Croydon, CR0 1RR, 01-680 1202.”
Steven
04 Oct 2023 at 01:31
I lived for a while in Santa Rosa,Ca. in the 90's. One of my roommates went on an exchange program to the University of London and fell for a Croydon lad.I visited Mo and her husband in 1998, and she was working the upstairs cafe. Beano's was a happy place for me. I grew up in the Los Angeles music scene of the early 80's, and music was our master. Beano's was a heavenly spot for from home!
Nick Heath
06 Dec 2023 at 03:55
Discovering Beanos in the late 80s was like finding Narnia. I must have read about it in Q or something or someone told me about it.

Back then they were in the narrow Surrey St store. The guy upstairs who ran the singles dept was the most extraordinarily knowledgeable, greasy haired hippy of a man, but a man of few words lol until he sussed you out.

I bought all my Rolling Stones and Beatles original UK 7", and Eps from him, I loved it when he slid the correct wooden box holding all the treasure down on to the counter and let me go through it. Then at some point they moved to the big shop which mustve been early 90s.

The big BIG store was extraordinary. On the ground floor it had clearance boxes with the poorer quality vinyl in, and via these I completed my original UK Beatles vinyl collection. I was never bothered by the odd crack or pop, it was part of the life of a piece of vinyl, not like the hipster snobs now! I also got all the original Stones UK albums here too including the lenticular sleeve of Their Satanic Majesties, and they were ALL under £20.

My strongest and unforgettable memory, is when i took all my Queen CD's in to trade to vinyl. Now in those days I was doing the opposite of most people, so the prices were pretty much evenly matched. I couldn't get the price I wanted from the guys at the counter however, so I walked away - but then a guy in the shop mustve overheard me and said come outside I'll buy them. As we were doing the dirty deal outside the Surrey St store, David flew outside and went fucking daft at the guy for stealing business off him out of his shop. David was understanding with me, but it scared the shite out of me lol

It needn't have mattered as I walked back into the shop and got most of the 70s Queen output on vinyl including a beautiful gatefold of Queen II.

In 2004 during the vinyl slump, i sold the lot for about £400. I'm pretty sure now I could retire on what I bought in Beanos. Great, carefree days, when the music still mattered more than the 'heavyweight 180g vinyl' its printed on.
Dave Harwood
07 Apr 2024 at 12:00
I found this piece in the 'Croydon Advertiser' dated 30th August 1991: “It is record time for the famous record store. IT’S the biggest one in the country (possibly in the world) and it nestles behind the bustling market in Surrey Street, Croydon. Just a step beyond the cabbages and the King Edwards, it is hidden inside a narrow three-storey black and red brick building with opaque trompe-loeil windows which light up at night is almost a secret except to firm customers who visit it every week and know to be a veritable treasure trove, brimming over with memories. In fact, music to the tune of two-and-a-quarter MILLION second-hand records, tapes, compact discs, videos and books are somehow packed into the building and nearby warehouse which comprise Beanos. It is probably the biggest second-hand record store in the country, if not the world. That even Diana Ross asks for their help is the claim of the co-owners, David and Kay Lashmar, a bright and breezy, blue-eyed, denim-jeaned double act in their early forties who live in South Croydon. This year they celebrate a coming of age as it is 18 years since they began selling second-hand records in a couple of cardboard boxes in Plymouth market. “We moved from Croydon to run a gift shop in Polperro, Cornwall and part of our display was a 1950s juke-box which we had restored. We didn’t have enough records to play on it so we advertised and were inundated.” Although David was himself a keen record collector and also played guitar (“badly”) in bands such as the Dead Sea Fruit in the 1960s, he admits neither he nor Kay had any idea how quickly and well the business would develop. Now Beanos in Surrey Street, for years having outgrown their previous shop in neighbouring Bell Hill, has established a fine reputation among enthusiasts and serious record collectors and supplies the BBC and LWT advertising agencies and promotion companies, disc jockeys and stations such as Capital Radio and Invicta Radio, as well as helping customers such as Pete Townshend of The Who to re-discover his first single, hitherto missing from his private collection. Beanos also came to the rescue when Diana Ross needed a recording of her version of 'Chain Reaction' prior to a London concert she was giving. The cheque she signed found it's way back to 27 Surrey Street as it was made out to “Benjos”. The top-storey office is full of magazines and reference books. But their contents pale into insignificance, he says, alongside the extensive knowledge of the music business which resides in the heads of Beanos’ nine members of staff some of whom, such as Ray Bolton and Peter Jackson, have been with David and Kay for more than 13 years. Of course, stars and enterprises aside, the general public has its own special requests. “We often make up packages to celebrate a particular day or week such as the Top Ten on the day someone was born or what was Number One on a couple’s wedding day, say 30 years ago. “We’ve supplied the music for weddings, funerals (for some reason Procol Harum’s 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' is an immensely popular choice), fashion shows and even air displays. “Theatres also ask for our help: one West End production wanted a pile of 78s that could be smashed up every performance. Interestingly that production ended before the supply.” The customers are as colourful as the design of the shop, with its record-studded ceilings and walls, spoof instruments, guitar-neck shelving and vast collection of transistor radios. We like to think that the design reflects us, the people who run the business, in that it’s got a sense of humour and it is serious. Kay: “Customers come from all over the country, indeed from all over the world, a lot specialising in any one of a number of musical fields including folk/rock, British jazz, Northern soul, country, instrumental groups, record producers and record labels. “One long-standing customer collects early English releases of reggae albums. Another collects records only on the Decca label. Several collect recordings of railway engines. Another of our regulars (an accountant) is collecting Top Twenty British and US chart hits 1960-1990. “One of our irregulars lives in Mexico City. He was in five years ago and again a few weeks back with a list of requests as long as Croydon High Street. He was buying records not only for the jukebox in his bar but also seemingly for every other bar and disco in the entire country!” It’s not just for only the sound of music that collectors are after. Vinyl is becoming a sound investment that we are all unwittingly party to in our own collections. “An obvious one is The Beatles’ 'Please Please Me' stereo LP with the early Parlophone gold-black label. That is worth £1,000. “The first two Elvis LPs on the HMV label would be worth about £200 each. David Bowie’s 'The Man Who Sold The World', with him on the cover in drag would fetch about £250, as would many of the psychedelic groups of the late 1960s/70s. “Even recent releases such as David Bowie’s first CDs on RCA, now deleted, fetch £30 while some punk and new wave singles are already attracting three-figure sums. One collector has his 12,000 singles insured for £20,000.”

Details

Location

Middle Street Croydon / Surrey

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