In 1942 we got to know Derrick Stewart-Baxter who re-formed the Brighton & Hove Rhythm Club and introduced us to the premises of WICKHAM & KIMBER in George Street, Hove. Mr Wickham had been a pre-war dance band pianist and the stock reflected this. He would go to much trouble to find scarce items for us and Saturday afternoons there became a regular meeting place for jazz lovers. He took on another partner and it became WICKHAM, KIMBER & OAKLEY, moving to larger premises on the other side of George Street.
Derrick was paid a retainer and sat in an upstairs room, acting as an adviser on the quality of the jazz records in stock. He had forthright opinions and was quite capable of dissuading a potential customer from buying anything! Comment Horace Harris.
Phil Farlow "I discovered Wickham Kimber & Oakley in the mid 1960's. It's stock was awe inspiring. You could go along 7" 45 shelves yourself and pull out stock that must have been there since the advent of the 45 itself. A collector's paradise. The LP stock also reflected this seemingly 'never sent anything back on returns' policy. At this time there was a girl called Hazel that knew everything there was to know about their stock. The stock wasn't apparently jazz orientated at this time - they stocked everything." (April 16, 2016)
Name Peter Milner Comment: I happily found WK&O in about 1957 when I was doing a day release Engineering course at Brighton Tech. I was already a keen jazz fan but dear old DBS made a major contribution to the expansion of my knowledge, taste and record collection. I was fortunate that Derrick became a close personal friend so that not only did I visit his upper sanctum on a regular basis but I was actually invited to his home to listen to some of his amazing private record collection. It was a sad day for me when we left the area and I had to say goodbye to WK&O and to Derrick. Apart from his work at the shop he was of course a frequent compere at Brighton Dome when it was graced by a Jazz or Blues evening, so it was at the Dome that many of us heard great American bluesmen like Howlin Wolf, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Lightnin' Hopkins, plus of course all the British Trad and new Orleans jazz bands of the time. Happy Days ( February 25, 2017)
Richard Sidnell 31 March 2020 at 9.47am Reply I shopped at Wickham & Kimber George Street, Hove regularly in the 1940s. The first record I bought was Benny Goodman Trio playing WHO.
I remember them being one of the biggest sheet music sellers in the area when I was young.
“Derrick was a frequent compere at Brighton Dome when it was graced by a Jazz or Blues evening, so it was at the Dome that many folks were able to hear American bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Lightnin’ Hopkins, plus of course all the British Trad and New Orleans jazz bands of the time.”
I believe these would have been record evenings with talks, not live performances. Obviously I’ve got no personal memory of that time, but as far as I know none of the major blues revival tours that broke the music in the UK in the early 60s hit Brighton (Croydon was the nearest). Spreading the live music was limited to shops and places like the Starlight Rooms and other small clubs. I’ve been working on Brighton gigs for years, and haven’t come across anything in the early 60s that would help with this.
The Alternative Brighton entry says: strong on pop singles and Classical
Woolworths (F.W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.)
In the late 1970’s and 1980’s Woolworths was always a good store to visit immediately after the new music charts had been announced as those singles and albums that had dropped out of the Top 40 (as from 1978) would be greatly reduced.
We used to top up a few items for our Top 40 backstock cheaply, and the stuff they were persuaded to take ‘a couple of copies of on sale or return’ from the cheap racks. One I nearly missed was when a regular dropped in one mid-week afternoon to smugly show off the black cover version of ‘Anarchy he’d just picked up for 20p. I left him in the shop, and scorched tarmac to Woolies in Western Road to pick up the other 8 copies. Never seen the black cover before!
Woolworth’s was by the mid-70s largely an MOR/Budget label racked outlet, with Top 40s singles.