The Singer shop in George Street, between the almshouses and Allders arcade, had a record department upstairs. I remember buying the first Spencer Davis Group album there when it came out in 1965. Their window display had a lot of French picture sleeve E.P.’s and my friend Mick Cantwell bought one by a French group called Les Fantomes. I read somewhere that the Singer shop later relocated to the Whitgift Centre, which opened in stages between 1968 and 1970, but I’m not sure if they kept the record department. I’ll check with my friends to see if they have anything to prove it wasn’t just a dream! Dave Harwood
On a whim, I decided to visit the only Singer shop remaining in Croydon (now a franchise) yesterday. I wasn’t expecting anyone there to have any memories of the shop I remember in George Street but, surprisingly, the lady who runs the shop used to be the manager of the Singer shop that opened in the newly-built Whitgift Centre, Croydon in the late 1960’s. She was rather busy and on her way out of the shop but when I asked if they had a record department in the Whitgift Centre branch she confirmed that they didn’t. Probably just as well as it would have been in competition with the newly opened Gooses Record Centre next door and WH Smith opposite which had a record department. She also said that there were other branches of Singer shops in Croydon, but not all open at the same time, and only some of them sold records. It all depended on their location what they stocked. Dave Harwood.
Hi Dave. Yes you are correct, you’re not dreaming, there was a record shop above Singers and I did get that French Les Fantomes there and still have it lurking with my single’s at the back of the wardrobe somewhere. They were also selling a EP by the local band “Glen Athens and the Trojans” which I never got, DAM! That would be worth money now, but I did get the “Group X” singles there which are also at the back of the wardrobe. Mick Cantwell
Extract from 'Scorcha' Skins, Suedes and Styles From The Street 1967-73