“Does anyone remember Clarke’s Music Services? This picture of one of their carrier bags from the 1960s might just jog your memory.” Well if it did, or anyone saw the posting, nobody could be bothered to write in to the Spalding Today website and say so. Clarke’s operated two music shops, one in Spalding the other in nearby Wisbech, two market towns inland of the Wash. They sold sheet music, instruments, record players and other associated goods.
The Spalding branch – “your record rendezvous” – was next door to the gunsmith’s (still there) on Broad Street but the Wisbech shop remains unlocated.
This Clarkes bag (the same design the newspaper showed) – which might just have held a vinyl album but more likely was for ten inch discs – doubled up for both shops and turned up on one of my flea market rambles recently, and has a very early Sixties look about it. Let me know if the name rings any bells.
One forum writer suggests there was a second record shop in Spalding, The Milroy Music Box in Hall Place.
UPDATE : “The Wisbech branch was on the Market Place (No. 1 I think) and was still there until around 1985. They were still using those bags well into the seventies to! When it closed they had a huge clear out and were selling not just 78s that had mouldered in a back room, but wax cylinders too! I bought masses from them in my time and the great thing about the shop was that they were in such an out of the way place (and really not into ‘pop’) that there were some strange things to be found – I got an original press of ‘Their Satanic Majesties…’ at some point in the early eighties that had probably been there since it was released and many other obscure gems.” Mark Lake