The comfortable depths of your own armchair



Two more vintage 78 shop sleeves from charity shop finds. It is to me remarkable that 100 years after these were first sold they are still sometimes turning up, and as these two were in almost mint condition I couldn’t resist! Davis’s Music Store was sited in the prestigious Victorian arcade on Lord Street in Liverpool (the firm also had three more branches around the town). The arcade has survived, I don’t know when Davis’s stores closed. But clearly they had a lot of pride in their business, enough to have this special design drawn up, based perhaps on an early speaker cabinet design. All the lettering is also hand drawn. I think the sleeve dates from the 1920s and clearly the main emphasis here is on selling gramophones to the higher end market, the firm boasting of “The sound way of securing sound machines”! I cannot find any references to the business on the web.

Joseph Riley Birmingham 78.jpg

The second sleeve is from a shop in Birmingham, Joseph Riley’s, “opposite the town hall” on Paradise Street. I really like the pen and ink drawing of the old gent relaxing in his comfy chair in front of the fire, pet cat doing the same, and the wind up gramophone at his side. The sleeve promotes HMV machines; there is an HMV sleeve on the front and on the back promotional blurb for their gear, suggesting you “enjoy it all from the comfortable depths of your own armchair” as it is “better than an orchestra”. The local Birmingham history forum suggests Henry Riley & Sons Ltd had been in business since 1851 selling musical instruments and that Joseph Riley may have been his son. Perhaps the original business stuck to instruments and Joseph went after the gramophone market? Joseph Riley’s first shop was in Corporation Street and they then moved to Paradise Street, the address on this sleeve.

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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