“Imhofs by centre point in London had records imported USA before everyone else.In 1962 I was walking by Imhofs when I came across whole window display of Bo-Diddley albums no one had heard of Bo Diddley. I would walk half an hour to Imhofs to see what was new in the window and then go in to browse.” David Lashmar Beanos propitiator.
Extract from Interview by Garth Cartwright & Leon Parker.
Curtis Mayfield “I’ve been trying”
I first heard it at the Flamingo, an evening there during the week when they simply played records, no live act, either the DJ announced it was the b side of People Get Ready or I went and asked (so nothing changes, still do it now). I thought it was brilliant and went and bought it the next day in my lunch hour at Imhofs in New Oxford Street. It would have been late 65 or early 66, probably the former as it was before I started going out with Lesley.
Cor! I'd forgotten about Imhofs. I know I bought Tom Lehrer's 10" LP - "Songs by Tom Lehrer" - there in January 1960. I think possibly one or two others, as well, when I had an Christmas holiday job with a silk merchant in Riding HouseStreet, just up the road. MG
In the mid sixities we would go down to Imhofs in New Oxford Street and listen to records. You would get a record from the counter and play it in a booth, and then not buy it! Across the street was Immediate record Co, we would go over their and get to meet some of the bands , most famous was probably the Small Faces. Alan Murphy Level 42, Go West and Mike and the Mechanics.
Paul 'Sailor' Vernon blues vinyl collector and seller worked in the popular record department in the basement read in his book 'Last Swill & Testament' .
I didn’t buy records. We had an account at Imhoff’s in New Oxford Street, a Mecca account. After befriending Sammy we would go up twice a week to Imhoff’s and on the release date, read the broadsheet of what was available take all the records into the booth and listen to one after another. Jeff Dexter Interview
So nice to hear mention of Imhofs Tottenham Court Road.I went to work there in June 1968.I worked in the basement the Melody Bar. My wage £7.00 a week plus comission. My first customer requested a recording of Begin the Beguine. I guided him to the ska and blue beat section. My manager Mr Lumby guided me to nostalgia.....Not a good start....aprilmay Sound of the world forum.
If ever, in London, I wanted to spend a couple of hours just listening, Imhofs was the place, near Tottenham Court Road station. In their booths with a pile of LPs. No one seemed to mind. Pete Flower Sound of the world forum
This shop is referenced in the book ' A Mod Anthology' as part of the weekend shopping scene.
Let It Bleed Connection.
A million memories when looking at the Melody Bar photo...One that at about that time in 1969 my brother Peter Swales who worked as an assistant to the Rolling Stones brought in a square I suppose pizza style box and showed me an amazing cake which I believe had been collected from Delia Smith. In November I saw it again on the cover of the Let It Bleed album.
(Nov 9, 2012) Peter Smith said:I remember buying Lonnie Smith's Move Your Hand album from there, when no-one else had heard of it! I also found a copy of John Renbourn's Another Monday album - they were the only place to still have one in stock. I really miss shops like Imhof's.
(June 5, 2012) Martin said:I also worked in the basement of Imhoffs. I was there 1970/71. Alf Lumby (the dept. manager) was a real jazz afficianado and I can remember getting shouted at for taking off his selections and playing stuff like Mothers of Invention!!
Also served many celebrities - Elton John came in a couple of times and Cat Stevens was a regular customer.
(March 14, 2015) My first job on leaving school was at Imhofs. I worked for the classical record dept July 1966 to April 1967 when Miss Fowler was manageress. On my first day I remember the kindness of Mary Marner who took me under her wing and we subsequently had lots of laughs.What a lovely person. All the staff had an encyclopaedic knowledge of their subject especially George Gimble who seemed to know the catalogue number of just about every record in stock. Real professionals. All the guys in the despatch dept. were real chatacters, George Hudson, and especially John Edwards who delighted in Dickens impersonations behind the back of the shop manager Mr. Lester. Happy days. Would love to be in contact with Mary Marner again who made a nervous new recruit feel very much at ease on the first few days. Comment: Mike Comber.
Paul Vernon talking of ordering deletions, at Imhoffs, back in 1970, there was still a copy of the London Carl Perkins Dance Album in stock. I ordered more from Decca in the hopes that there might be some left on the shelf. There was, five copies....
(August 15, 2015) I worked in Imhof's Hi-Fi department in 1974 alongside such characters as Mr Creedy.
I still have fond memories as they were all kind, helpful colleagues. Basic salary wasn't great as everything depended on commission but the first couple of months my colleagues passed sales on to me to help me find my feet, a work ethic not so easy to find these days. It was an amazing place to work with surprises every now and then from having to give audio advice to people such as Elton John, Ronnie Corbett the odd miss world, life was never dull there. Comment:Les Wilkinson.
(August 21, 2015) I worked in the Classical Music department on the ground floor at Imhof's in 1979. I really enjoyed my first few months there as an assistant to George Gimble who was a lovely and knowledgeable gentleman.
Unfortunately, the business was then taken over by another company and we were moved upstairs into a large room with no natural light. Within a very short time, it was decided that we should sell off all the wonderful stock to make room for 'white goods', and it was a very sad day when the record department closed down. Comment: Janice Brown.
"I stated to meet people who know about Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. and they had older friends. records collectors who hold club nights, which is where I was first introduced to John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Little Walter. These guys would get together in one of their houses, and spend the whole evening listening to one record, like the best of Muddy Waters, and then have exited discussions about what they'd heard. Clive and me would often go up to London to visit record stores, like Imhoff's in New Oxford Street, the whole of whose basement was devoted to Jazz, and Dobell's in Shaftsbury Avenue, where they had a whole been devoted to Folkways, which was major label for folk, blues and traditional music. if you where lucky , you'd meet a working musician on one of these stores, and if you told them that you liked muddy Walters, they might say 'Well, then you got to listen to Lighten' Hopkins', and you'd be off in a new direction." Eric Clapton.
Name Matthew Wright Comment: Alf Lumby died some years ago. During the 1950s and 60s he worked at Dobells Jazz Shop. When I worked for Collets Jazz Shop (later Ray’s Jazz) in the 70’s and 80s, he would drop by for a chat, do a bit of browsing and occasionally come for a drink round the corner in the Two Brewers. He was immensely knowledgeable and had a huge jazz collection, having started in the 30's buying Vocalion 78's from Morris’ Record Shop in Tottenham Court Road. He saw the saxophonist Coleman Hawkins with Jack Hylton’s Band, which had Jock Scott (Ronnie Scott’s father) in it, at the Holborn Empire in 1938. During the Second World War, he saw action at El Alamein and played boogie woogie piano in service canteens in Cairo. After the war, he was a member of Club Eleven. He would have been a hundred next January. (May 26, 2017)
I recall that back in the 1960s when I was a teenager, I would go up to London and do the three-stopvisit, namely Imhofs, One Stop and Musicland. Imhofs was a real institution for record collectors. I first heard 'Super Session' by Mike Bloomfield/Al Kooper/Steve Stills in one of the listening booths. It was a choice of buying that or 'Good Vibes' by Gary Burton. I bought 'Super Session' and have that original but well work copy to this day. It remains one of my favourite albums.
Yes imhofs where i got turned on to ray charles in 1960, after What,d i say my music world openedup. Can also remember buying Tampa Red and Big maceo there in the days when the discovery of a new blues record in the shops was an event. Its all too easy now they are everywhere, no thrills left.
In the film 'Idol on Parade' from 1959, Anthony Newley and Anne Aubrey are seen visiting Imhofs and looking at records. Newley plays a pop star called Jeep Jackson and they pick out his LP from a rack.
Hi I worked as a hi-fi service and installation engineer around 1973, based at the Newington Green service centre in Islington, London.
Good times as I recall.
Oh worked in the office on the top floor for a year or more around 1964. A girl who also worked in the office called Rita went downstairs to work in the basement Melody Bar when they were short staffed and consequently was in there when the Honeycombs group came in. She ended up going out with and marrying one of the lads in the group. I worked down there once and got the autographs of the Dave Clark Five. I still have it somewhere on an Imhofs card I think. Our office manager if I remember correctly was Mr Parks. A very nice gentleman. We never had computers then just two big comptometer operators . It was a nice firm to work for, especially in the swinging sixties. Happy Days.
Imhofs believe in good design
E. LEWER + G. C. BATTLEDAY
J. F. WHITESIDE + L. V. GREEN
Imhofs belief in the need for good design influences the entire organisation. The creative workers, from the managing director (himself an industrial designer) down, follow a common policy aimed at producing cleanly simple, effective designs with a characteristically light touch. The results can be seen in the showrooms, the offices, the advertising, the publications and the company's products. On large projects the designers and craftsmen on the permanent staff work in complete harmony with specially chosen freelance designers ensuring continuity without stagnation.
E. LEWER (on the left) has shown in his years with us a special genius for designing cunningly simple methods of construction. He approaches each problem as an engineering draughtsman but also with the aesthetic appreciation of a Sunday painter and the contemplative detachment of an angler.
G. C. BATTLEDAY joined us in 1955 and is responsible for display throughout the store and also for our outside exhibitions. He has a talent for creating the animated displays that enliven our windows, all these being made in our own workshops.
J. F. WHITESIDE Cabinetmaker (left) a master craftsman with a proper pride in his skill in working wood, he joined Imhofs fifteen years ago and has completed many special cabinets and fittings in that time.
L. V. GREEN Chief Electrician (on the right) has supervised all our larger installations involving thousands of feet of conduit and flexible, in his thirteen years with us. Both of these craftsmen have made their own hi-fi installations at home.
Imhofs service shop
GLADYS WELLS service shop manageress
Here on the second floor of Imhof House is a reception desk which is also a shop counter. Subscribers to our maintenance scheme call here or telephone (Museum 7878) when they want a service engineer to call, as an alternative to telephoning the Service Centre direct (Canonbury 1281). The receptionists have a direct line to the Radio Control Manager, Mr. Good, who maintains continuous contact with the service engineers while they are out on duty in their vans.
GLADYS WELLS service shop manageress, came to New Oxford Street after two years at our Service Centre at Islington. Ask her about styli, tapes, pick-ups, servicing or accessories and you will find that her friendly manner is backed by a wide knowledge and experience of her subject. The Service Shop on the second floor. for accessories, spares, maintenance & repairs
You can also obtain from here all the small spares and accessories you may need. The incomparable IM styli, tape splicers, stylometers, cleaning equipment, batteries, cartridges, tape - all this and much more is on the shelves. Valves can be tested on the spot and minor repairs are carried out there at the first-aid bench. Frequently, the staff can advise immediately on damaged or outworn components and provide the remedy. Imhofs service shop staff are efficient, capable and friendly. Come and chat to them about your problems.
Simon Watson. "I came to London in December 1959 to start work with a city bank.I was living in the YMCA and found Imhofs to buy my LPs.It was great that you could go into a cubicle and listen to the disc before buying.The remaining store HMV is useless for classical music. I am glad that LPs (now called Vinyl!!) are coming back." (April 8, 2016)
Would anybody be able to verify / clarify if there ever was a gentleman (most likely in Hi-Fi Sales) at IMHOFS in London during 1966-67 by the name of Mr. Marshall ? I ask only because I was told that HE sold a pair of vintage Tannoys that I have here with me in Mumbai to their original owner way back in 1967 ! Will appreciate any light or insights on this. ( April 22, 2016)
Ronnie K. Marker
Hi the 1st job i got when o left School in September 1967 was for Imhofs Service Dept at Milday Grove N1, as a trainie HiFi engineer. The service manager was Brian Mead? I didnt last long as someone told me to plug in some expensive Wharfdale Speakers and i plugged them into a mains block and blew the pair up.