Skip to main content


Michael Browne
07 Jun 2023 at 07:28
On leaving school in 1964 and starting work in the Ministry of Transport HQ in Southwark, just along from the South Bank, I very soon discovered Henry Stave & Co. in Dean Street, Soho - and it became my favourite record shop. There were others, like The Record Hunter near Waterloo Station, run by John Hunter(?), who went on to found Unicorn Kanchana records - always worth a browse - and EMG Handmade Gramophones just round the corner from Henry Stave, in Soho Square. But as a young 19 year old I found EMG rather intimidating and stuffy - they didn't so much recommend a recording, as tick you off for asking for something they did not approve: "Barenboim and Klemperer? - oh no," (curl of the lip), "you should go for Gilels and Szell.")
Henry Stave was a much more agreeable, friendly and supportive place for a young person to go to for advice.

At the MoT I inherited the running of the MoT Sound Reproduction Society (not a family planning advice centre!...) where in a top floor room once a week civil servants were able to relax and enjoy a lunchtime concert of carefully curated classical pieces. Henry Stave were happy to offer a generous 10% discount for members of the Society.

Going to live in Nottingham in 1971, I was unaware of Henry Stave's move from Dean Street to Great Marlborough Street, and later when on the occasional visit to London and Harold Moores' shop, quite unaware that it had once been Henry Stave and Company. All the London classical music shops seemed to have vanished; it's happened here in Nottingham too, where retirement saw the end of Classical CD in the Lacemarket, and the very smart Classical Music Shop on Chapel Bar went a bit earlier, probably as a result of exorbitant city centre rental demands. At least the latter morphed into the wonderful online Europadisc, based here in Beeston, on the outskirts of Nottingham.

Emma, above, mentions Robert F Leslie, her Great Uncle. The name rings a bell, and I think I can put a face to the name too. Certainly I can remember one of the senior Henry Stave staff featuring in an article in either Gramophone or Records and Recording as an artists' agent signing up the venerable Dr Eugen Jochum. Was this Emma's Mr Leslie?

In Autumn 1975 I travelled down from Nottingham to the RFH to hear the LSO and Previn do a lovely programme of Debussy, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninov, and sitting right in front of me were Dr and Mrs Jochum - and 'Mr Leslie'. This was the period when certain members of the LSO were agitating to have Previn dethroned and replaced with a more 'serious' figure, and Jochum was strongly mooted for this role. The Jochums appeared to enjoy the concert hugely, smiling broadly and vigorously applauding both the orchestra and Previn. Meanwhile, Mr Leslie, if indeed it was he, did not offer a single clap or indeed any other sign of approbation towards the man he wanted his client to supersede! Fascinating.

Thank you for prompting a huge wave of nostalgia. I shall return to this website again with keen anticipation.



70 Long Row NG5 6AW Nottingham / Nottinghamshire
... loading ...

Next in Nottinghamshire: The Dukes Record Shack
Prev in Nottinghamshire: Syd Booth