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Name: Richard Thompson
Comment: Ah Showells, originally a greetings card shop with a record area at the back. Music eventually took over.

I lived in West Wickham and in the late 1960s/1970s regularly bought singles from them. The owner was Brian Showell and I remember when Mungo Jerry’s In The Summertime became number 1, he had boxes of that single on the counter selling like hot cakes.

The original parade of shops, Showells, a gentlemen’s outfitters, and an aquarium bordering the Unigate dairy were demolished and a new M&S food hall built.

When remembering local record stores of the 1970s and 1980s mention must go to WH Smith in Bromley, the department managed for many years by my good friend John R.

Does anyone remember that Alan Freeman had a store within Medhursts in Bromley? Also Robertson’s in Beckenham, a sort of Curry’s electrical with a record department upstairs.

Name: Richard East
Comment: Oh happy days, I used to shop at Showells every Saturday, after being paid on a Friday; Brian, the owner was very good to me, he ordered me the entire back catalogue of Beatles singles and LPs that I didn’t already own. Brian was brilliant with his knowledge of music particularly early 1960s and late 1950s. The shop originally had two listening booths which there was always a queue for and the shop was a hub for many music fans like me. I always managed to find an album or single to buy, hence my rather large range of vinyl records, both singles and LPs which I treasure to this day, next door was the Unigate Dairy milk yard and the other side a men's outfitter which my friend's brother worked in and an aquatic shop.

West Wickham to me has lost its old charm, my dad used to manage the Co-operative shop on the corner, and having spent my youth in West Wickham I remember it very well, but Showells will always be a big part of my life as I spent most of my wages in the shop.

Name: Raymond Hill
Comment: The place that almost defined my teens. Walking there to flick through all the album racks, staring in wonder at all the LPs I wanted but couldn’t afford, and sometimes leaving with a single (7” only in those days). The excitement of getting new T.Rex and Slade singles.

Last weekend I saw Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert at the O2 on Easter Sunday. I remember that I brought my first EJ single (Rocket Man) and Album (Don”t Shoot Me…) at Showells in 1972. Whilst listening to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road I was reminded of having an Easter school holiday job at Sainsbury’s in West Wickham and on Saturday after getting my first pay packet (literally cash in a brown envelope in those days!) I walked to Showells Records in the High Street and if my memory serves me right spent £3.25 on the GYR double LP. Memories.


Craig Crane
21 Oct 2023 at 10:21
Fond memories of Showells. I used to help our local Unigate milkman as a teenager in the 1980s. At the end of the round, the battery-powered milk float would limp/return to the depot and I’d be paid cash for helping out that week. The money never even saw my pocket. It stayed in my hand as I exited the depot, a sharp right and into Showells and ultimately into their till! I still have all those records (of course).



94 High Street BR4 0NF West Wickham / Kent
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