It being Record Store Day weekend again (April 21) I thought I’d take a look at another of my teenage vinyl haunts. BRADLEYS was quite a friendly shop. Well two shops. Maybe more. They also had smart paper shop bags as the design above shows. The smaller branch on Fargate (No. 59) just down from the Town Hall was good for singles. It would take the staff ages to hunt out the relevant record from the thousands in store, but as they seemed to have the prettiest assistants, you were usually happy to watch them look, occasionally being rewarded with a glimpse of Paisley patterned underwear. There may have been more storage upstairs, I certainly recall it being quite cramped. It’s not easy to remember and sadly the no doubt London property company which owns the whole block gutted it from roof to cellar a few years ago, just keeping the facade, so we can’t check. This smallish photograph of the block shows Bradleys around the late 70s I would think ) check the Girlywig shop on the far left too!).
There was a second bigger shop at 103/105 West St called Bradleys Music (listed there in the directory for 1973), which dealt in musical instruments and had a good selection of guitars. I can’t remember going in much so perhaps they didn’t keep records.
After this the story gets a little hazy, one reason why it’s worth people trying to get stuff into print before memories fade altogether! The chain certainly expanded, and had branches all over Yorkshire by the late seventies (opening in Barnsley as late as October 1982). I have a later plastic bag from the shop which lists Rochdale, Huddersfield, Manchester and Doncaster as well. It seems to be agreed that they also opened a store on Chapel Walk in Sheffield, opposite what used to be the Methodist Bookshop. I think Bradley’s may have taken over another store in town later across from the Peace Gardens on Pinstone Street, and rebranded it. One of the Bradley’s stores was also a chart return one, but I don’t know which.
There was still a Bradley’s open in Halifax on Market Street in 2008, I think this too has now gone. Hopefully we’ll be able to track down someone who worked for the shops before long.
I do recall kids at school swiping album covers from the Fargate store as they were kept quite near the door and could be smuggled out to pin on bedroom walls or the school common room.
Check out a singles bag from the shop here.