Skip to main content

Comment: Headquarter and General Supplies Limited were formed just after the war and started selling army surplus items. They were an off-the-page mail order company to start with, but then progressed to also operating several retail stores, mainly in the south of the UK.

I used to work at their Guildford, Surrey branch in the early 1970s. After army surplus started to run out they turned to importing their own product and one of the products they became famous for was the cheap mutli-band Russian radio - it was actually a very good product.

They were also one of the very first to sell Black and Decker drills and accessories - you may remember those huge high-value packages of sanding attachments, drill sets, polishing mops, and all sorts of bits and pieces at their all-inclusive prices. They also used to sell carpets and camping tents and accessories.

In the late 1970s they ended up going bust - they got left behind when companies such as Argos and other catalogue operations offerred more competitive prices and the age of the importance of branded product started.

Name: Paul Boon
Comment: I can remember back in 1965 a cousin of mine had one of the four transistor tape recorders, the lid carrying strap and microphone had to be bought as extras
(September 2016).

Name: Cindy Grimwood
Comment: My mum and my sister used to work in the one in Colchester, Essex in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
(9 December 2016)‎

Name: Richard Town
Comment: My first radio was an 'Ivalek' crystal set bought from H & G for just ten bob. Think I was about 10 years old then. H & G sold much army radio surplus, advertising in Practical Wireless, Wireless World, etc.

I went on to become a ships' radio officer and a career in electronics; that would not have happened had it not been for hobby radio.

Name: Jim Stewart
Comment: Still got my tape recorder...

Name: Stephen Oldham
Comment: Bought many record players and transistor radios plus tape recorders with no speed control in the mid-1960s. Great fun!

Name: Stan Langton
Comment: I remember in the early 1960s buying American jazz records. LPs on Coral, possibly for 3/11d. Fantastic studio sessions, take after take. Unfortunately I didn't buy them all.

Name: Sharon Aitken
Comment: Just loved seeing the old ads and reading other people's memories of the Headquarters and General Supplies stores. My dad was a regular customer at the Guildford Branch and he often took me there - at one time buying me a self-winding watch, which I treasured. As a radio and TV engineer he was in his element checking out all the latest electronic gadgets. He took me there once to buy me a compact cine camera. This was to take on a school cruise to the Holy Land and Egypt in 1965/6. I was only 13 but I think he was hoping that I'd make a documentary for him - he had always wanted to go there and thought that sending me was the next best thing! Sadly, the camera conked out after a few days and I only managed to capture about five minutes of Cairo on it! But the memories I have of the excitement of going into the shop on a Saturday morning with him will live with me for ever.

Name: Rod Small
Comment: I have an American electric hair clippers, bought March 1967 for 69/6, funny how things were sold in shillings rather than the £3 9s 6d. It has a leaflet with instructions for a crew cut or Butch cut, can't imagine anyone asking for a Butch cut now. Handy. Type 183 series A by H & G ( HO & G? Ltd) - label worn.


Dave Harwood
06 Jun 2023 at 04:42
I bought my first 45rpm records (ex-juke box) from the Croydon branch located on the corner of Station Road - '(Ain't That) Just Like Me' b/w 'Searchin'' by The Hollies. Rushed home to play them on my parents' new radiogram and liked their sound so much that I bought all their subsequent singles and albums until Graham Nash left.
06 Aug 2023 at 01:15
In the 1960s we bought our camping gear from there. It was basically a copy of the continental frame tents available at the time but not as lightweight. Did the same job though. Also remember a telephone system we bought for communication between our butchers shop and a separate makeup room. Saved opening the rear door and yelling down the yard!
Dave Harwood
21 Oct 2023 at 10:07
I found an advert in the ‘Daily Mirror’ dated 6th April 1968:
“Headquarter & General Supplies Ltd., 196/200 Coldharbour Lane, Loughborough Junction, London, S.E.5. – Also at CROYDON, BROMLEY, GUILDFORD, ROMFORD & COLCHESTER.”
Bob Weller
14 May 2024 at 09:51
Bought my Cardinal self winding divers watch at Guildford store, probably about 1967, still have it and it’s still working, cost around two quid.



196-200 Coldharbour Lane SE5 9QH Camberwell / London
... loading ...

Next in London: Heads
Prev in London: Haymarket Records
A-Z next: Heads