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The Bop Shop was a teriffic dealer mostly in promo copies when I was there in '75-6 . Comment: Julian

(Mar 18, 2013) Dave Penny said:The Bop Shop was owned by Johnny "Chester" Dowling, who also had his own record label: Mr C Records. The first Bop Shop was in Harrow-on-the-Hill and Chester later moved to Northampton where he still runs a retro toy shop/record shop in Far Cotton, called Big Boys' Toys


(Mar 20, 2015) Lawrence said:Great nostalgia trip. Not just records but all sorts of memorabilia as well. Groovy.
(June 12, 2014) Chester said:Over forty years and still doin` it... but gently..



Clive Webb 'The Bop Shop was the first 'oldies' secondhand record shop I visited as a rock 'n' roll-obsessed 14-year old. I used to cycle there from Edgware; the first record I remember buying was The Avenger/Londonderry Air by Duane Eddy - as neither side was on the Legends of Rock double LP I'd recently bought. I also bought some London American tri-centre badges which I wore to school hoping to impress my friends who were all into Genesis, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd! Needless to say I failed!'
(May 9, 2016)

Sad death of “Chester” Dowling last Friday. Many will have memories of visiting the Bop Shop, first at Rayners Lane and then Harrow, or of his Record Fairs, I took over the London R’n’R Fair from him many years ago, but he continued with his very successful Luton Record Fair (I understand that the May fair will still take place) And of course there were his books – great tributes to a R’n’R lifestyle. (April 27,2017)


Paul Vernon May 19 2017
Those of you who knew Chester, of Chester's Bop Shop, an original Ted with a strong wit, will be sad to know that he died last month. He was a real character, and we won't see his like again. Here's a story that, to me, tells you all you need to know about him; in the late 70's there was a scam going on involving stories of Bill Haley's UK Brunswick 78 of Rock Around The Clock being worth at least forty quid. This had its origin in an early evening local TV news show, wherein a bloke who shall remain nameless here but pm me if you want to know who it was, was interviewed about "rare records", and he advised the viewers to check and see if they had a copy - the following week, Exchange and Mart and Record Mirror were filled with small ads for them, all at 40,00 smackers. But there was another ad offering it for the bargain price of ten. That person was the TV interviewee, holding multiple copies. Say no more. So, a week or so after all this kerfuffle a bloke and his dog turned up in Chester's record shop with an unsleeved copy, proudly showed to him and said "how much will you give me for this then?..
Chester took it in hand, squinted at it and replied "Fifty pence".
"FIFTY PENCE??" said the astonished owner. "You know damn well its worth at least forty pounds!"..
"OK", replied Chester, "you want to know the true value?- here I'll show you", and he took one of
several copies off the shelf, showed to the bloke then shattered it across the top of the cash register.
"THAT"S how much it 's worth mate, now fuck off".

Dave Penny Chronology of Chester's Bop Shops is Wealdstone Market (1970-1972), Rayners Lane (1972-1976), Harrow-on-the-Hill (1976-1979) then north to Far Cotton (1979-2017). He was also responsible for running the Luton Record Fair for the last 38 years.



Comments

Dave Harwood
06 Dec 2023 at 04:28
I found this piece in the 'Harrow Observer' dated 30th March 1979: “Losing shops of charm: The loss of two of Harrow's most individual shops is a high price to pay for the town centre conversion. I am thinking particularly of the 'Down Memory Lane' antique shop in Clarendon Road and 'The Bop Shop' record store outside Harrow on the Hill station. Both shops are specialised and have the dignity and charm which bring tourists flooding to similar places in central London. It's a shame that future visitors to Harrow will be unable to to sample 'Memory Lane's irresistibly nostalgic collection or 'The Bop Shop's vintage rock 'n' roll. All they'll see that's reminiscent of London is a faceless imitation-Oxford Street sprawl.”

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