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Name: Stephen Battaglia
Comment: If I am right, this was a collectors record shop in the Old Town, Hemel Hempstead, and the place I started off my collection seriously. It was here that I visited one lunch time (when I should have been at school) and bought the Silvery Rain 7" single by Cliff Richard that was to be the first purchase of many more from here!

Name: Andy King
Comment: Old Town Records was (as the name simply states) in the Old Town in Hemel Hempstead. The shop was split into two - as far as I remember - with the main area for LPs at the front and another smaller room at the back (cassettes? or was it classical?).

I seem to also remember it struggled on (perhaps under new management) into the late 1990s or earliy 2000s? and then closed, but the people running it carried on trading online.

I'm rather ashamed to say that I didn't buy that much there - bar some German electronic music (Watford and London was always a bigger drawn, plus at that time - the early 1980s - WH Smiths, Boots and Woolworths all sold records). Good shop though.

Name: Roger Hudson
Comment: Old Town Records was first opened in Hemel Hempstead in 1976 by Arthur Grover, who was a very keen classical music fan and was a successful businessman who owned a plastics factory in Amersham, Bucks. The shop was split into two with pop records at the front and classical, jazz, and easy listening in the back.

I joined in early 1977 just as punk, new wave, and the indie record labels were starting out. As an independent store we were able to get all those early punk records, rare imports, picture discs, and coloured vinyls as soon as they were released. The late 1970s was a great time for anything new being released and of course the local Smiths and Woolies couldn't or wouldn't stock most of it!

By the early 1980s things had gone a bit more mainstream. Many of the indie labels were by then being distributed by major labels and Our Price Records were now a major threat. The great years (in my opinion) were behind us. CDs, for better or worse, were the new thing.

The shop was sold by Arthur in 1983 and we all left for pastures new. OTR remained a record/CD store until the 1990s.
(18 May 2015)

Name: Tim Smith
Comment: I loved Old Town Records and visited as much as possible from 1977 till I moved away from Hertfordshire in 1986. I bought many great and strange records there - my greatest and proudest purchases being the 'Little Johnny Jewel' 7" single by Television on Ork Records and the pink 12" single (which played at 33rpm) of 'Miss You' by the Rolling Stones.

Everyone who worked in the shop was really helpful and I remember the owner being a really nice bloke. Roger Hudson - were you the young fellow with the beard?

Name: Paul Rymer
Comment: I was a customer of Old Town Records from early 1983 when I moved to Hemel, and then from 1984 to about 1986 worked there on Saturdays and during school holidays. The owner was at that time I think called Charles, and he went fully in on the new CD format. He used the back room for customers who wanted to listen to CDs on a good system, and had many customers referred over by the HiFi shop that was a few doors away. The partnership worked, I sold a lot of CDs in those years.

The owner's wife worked at Island Records so we got in a lot of the rarer versions of records on that label - so we had the versions of Frankie Goes To Hollywood singles that nobody else in town had. The other big selling items were 12" singles. It joined the chart computer system while I was there, so we had a lot of attention from label reps who gave us freebies and promotional items like t-shirts to wear. It was a great time. I lost touch with the shop after I left school and started working in London.

Name: Ian Payne
Comment: A great shop.
I remember catching the 347 bus to Hemel and jumping off at end the 'New Town', college end. A quick stroll up to the shop to buy records other shops wouldn't stock.

Bought all the Tubeway Army early singles and Elvis Costello singles there.
Thanks for the memories

Name: Gareth Burgess
Comment: I remember this little peach of a shop - the back was for dance/rave music and was run by Darren Bolino and Lee Mellors, such great memories growing up here.




63 High Street HP1 3AF Hemel Hempstead / Hertfordshire
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