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Gramophone Exchange, at that time in large premises on two floors in upper Shaftesbury Avenue. At one time the main, ground floor was for new records, the basement for secondhand, but the two got mixed up over the years. ‘Pop’ Russell ran it and tall Bill Snow sat by the window behind the counter. Some years later they moved to Wardour Street which I never liked so much. We were reluctant to take records in for sale to stern looking Mr Russell. At the far end of the earlier shop were those listening booths, musical retreats we all loved so much (except when other people opened the door with the same inquiry you got in phone booths). Selction from 1940's record buying experience . It was penned for Gramophone magazine in 1986.


Name Warren Stutely Comment: Thank goodness someone remembers this wonderful place. I used it a great deal when I was a music student in the 60s. Many thanks. Warren. ( October 24, 2016).

Comment
Great memories. I worked at the Gramophone Exchange from 1976 until the firm .closed
Name
Andrew Thorpe
(2020)
Comment
After nine years in the British Merchant Navy I left the sea in 1953. I took a job at The Gramophone Exchange and was offered a permanent position. Now, at 92, I wonder who and what the Me would be if I'd accepted that interesting offer.
Name
John Hale
(2020)

Comment
I worked at the Gramophone Exchange in Shaftesbury Avenue and in Wardour Street .My Nickname was Topsy I worked there at the time of Mr. Russel and Tom Heinitz
I am 88 now, so it was a long time ago - but I loved it. Joanna (I had the nickname Topsy). I also at one point ran their rare record department, helping people find rare records One of my clients was the pianist Dennis Mathews. I found many records for him. He died much too young. My married name is Joanna Jenkinson and I now live in Crowlas, Penzance, Cornwall.
Name
Joanna Jenkinson (Teverson)
(2020)

Comment
My Uncle, a Frank Rogers used to work here for years. In fact he was my godfather really but we always called him Uncle a Frank. I believe his own personal record collection was full of very rare recordings which were on occasion borrowed by the BBC. Frank loved opera and especially operetta and his life was quite devoted to it with speakers in every room of his small flat in Fountain Court behind Victoria Staion. Bizarrely, his loving wife, Alice had no liking or interest in Franks music whatsoever but she was very glamorous and always well turned out. I think she was a shop assistant in one of the London department stores, possibly Selfridges. Uncle Frank had been a pow of the Japanese and suffered badly from his experiences. They never had children. Such a kind generous couple but alas, we drifted and lost touch. I did visit him in Wardour St once but some time later I called at his flat which I seem to remember was no 10 but I could be wrong. They weren't in unfortunately and that was the last contact I had with them, oh so many years ago.

Very fond memories of both of them though. Auntie Alice, or Al as she was known always looked like Ginger Rodgers to me although she was blond. Oh well. I hope this may be of some minute interest to someone out there.
Cheers.
Shane. (2020)

Comment
I would like to speak to anyone who remembers me at the Gramophone Exchange
Joanna Jenkinson (Teverson/Topsy)
Name
Joanna Jenkinson
(2020)

Comment
Wonderful shop. I worked there from 1976 until 1981 and knew Bill Snow. Happy memories.
Name
Andrew Thorpe
(2020)


Comment
If anyone remembers me I was at the exchange at the original address and then later for a time in Wardour street. This was in the early fifties
I worked along side Bill Snow who I always kept in touch with but has now passed peacefully away. He was a love and I treasured his friendship. Tom Heinitz was our music critic and when Tom broke away and had his own studio
in Queensway I worked as his secretary for a while before continuing my career on the stage.
Name
Joanna Jenkinson (Teverson)
(2021)

Comment
Great recollection of Frank and Alice Rogers I remember Frank's great knowledge of opera and historical singers.
Name
Andrew Thorpe
​(2021)

Comment
When I lived in Eltham in the seventies, I would often take the train into central London to visit the Gramophone Exchange. It was the source of a very large part of my record selection at the time. But sever years later, having moved out of London, I next tried to visit Gramophone Exchange when I happened to be in London one day for a meeting. I walked up and down Wardour Street and the surrounding streets and was dismayed to find it was no longer there. I was then stopped by a couple of police officers in whose opinion I had been acting suspiciously. I explained that I was just looking for the Gramophone Exchange and could not believe that two Soho coppers had never heard of it. How times change!
Name
John Gosling

Comment
I can recollect Pop Russell being able to put his palms flat on the floor. As a very young boy my father Ron Jones who worked at the gramophone exchange taking me to work with him and probably meeting some of you.
He can fondly remember most of the people there that he worked with.
If anyone would like to contact Ron Jones email me and I could arrange phone numbers. He doesn't own a computer or mobile phone as he still prefers the stone tablet and chisel!
Regards Glen Jones.
(2022)


Comment
Yes, I remember Topsy, being assistant to her and to both Bill and Frank, two of the finest ! Many years later I had dealings with Patrick Saul, a great friend of Bill's.
Topsy and I both left in 1961, in my case quite mistakenly. I have anecdotes of "pop" Russell which could hardly be repeated anywhere ! Great to hear from anyone then !
Name
Roger Francis
(2022)
Comment
I remember the Gramophone Exchange in Wardour Street from about 1974. It was where I bought my first Campoli 78 - for 10p. One day (1977, I think), browsing, I found Dennis Healey - then Labour Chancellor - next to me. The guy at the counter (I didn’t know the names then) said ‘well, there’s no vat on second-hand!’ Later I enjoyed Frank when he was in charge. He was brilliantly left-wing. He used to arrive with a bag of opera LPs he’d bought on the way to work. He’d intend to listen through them all at the weekend. Then the move to near Waterloo where the fun continued - Frank easily sorting LPs into two piles / valuable and not. What chat there was! And what a guy. After moving away I was no longer able to visit after around 1983. Great place(s). Great memories.
Name
Charles Rattray
​(2022)

Bag donated by Johan Blazer and Derek Mann.

Gramophone 1961 donation Action Records Preston


Comments

Jonathan Stallick
04 Sep 2023 at 07:07
My dad used to take me to the Wardour street branch in the early 70s. Frank was a friend of his. My dad bought me my very first classical record there. Brandenburg concertos on the Turnabout label.
Dave Harwood
16 Oct 2023 at 09:40
I found an advert in the ‘Bromley & West Kent Mercury’ dated 25th September 1942: “WANTED TO PURCHASE - Radio Grams and Sets, Portable Gramophones, Electric Motors, Record Players, Good Records. Top prices given. GRAMOPHONE EXCHANGE, 121 SHAFTESBURY AVENUE. W.C.2. Tel.: Temple 3007.”
antony Langford
14 Jan 2024 at 04:05
In 1950, The Gramophone Exchange, was located at 121-123 Shaftesbury Avenue and carried a large stock of new and second-hand records. Records were arranged on shelves with broad classifications; orchestral, instrumental, vocal and Historic vocal. Other categories were Oriental, Chidren’s Records and sound effects to name but a few. Boris Semeonoff remarks that it was hard work, for which a whole day would hardly suffice, to go through the entire stock. He also remarks that prices were very reasonable, averaging about three-quarters of “untaxed” prices.
There were six audition rooms, some with quite good external horn gramophones. Fibre needles were provided. The shop also offered a good gramophone repair service, A monthly review, Critique, was published.
Boris Semeonoff. Record Collecting 1951
Keith Baxter
06 Feb 2024 at 01:04
I shopped at Gramex around 2017. It was near Waterloo Station. A very elderly man ran the place. Would this business be connected to the Gramophone Exchange being discussed here?

Details

Location

80/82 Wardour Street W1 Soho / London

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