Smugglers Music Centre

Bridlington, on the East Coast of England, has never been rich in record shops. Even as teenagers when we used to stay with relatives here, a trip to Hull (our Aunt lived there) was always a must for records in the very early 70s.

smugglers records bridlington front windowThe only vinyl stockist left in Bridlington in recent times (apart from a few desultory left-overs in charity shops) has been Smugglers Records, on the Promenade. In most towns, the prom is actually on the seafront, but for some reason in Brid it’s a parallel shopping street. Much of Bridlington’s retail centre today has an air of neglect. Long the seaside destination of choice for much of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, it was always a little downmarket, but often cheerful. Today the empty stores and decaying buildings really cry out for some imaginative planning decisions (which judging from the bits of new-build that have gone up they’ll never get) and speculative restoration of stunning Victorian housing blocks.
smugglers records bridlington doorwayAnyway, Smugglers opened back in 1986, and is a typical example of the classic seaside type of shop which appears to carry on regardless, the owner seemingly incapable of operating a hoover or exercising any rudimentary DIY skills. The shop had two rooms rammed with stock and a strange cubby hole office in which the owner sorted stock, chatted with his regulars and seemed to be ticking off the days to retirement. Even getting in the place was difficult with the doorway stuffed full of stock (see photo!).
The vinyl racks stretched out in a long annexe room but by late 2010 this had all been emptied, so my visits – admittedly made more in hope than expectation, though I did find bits and bobs over the years – will now cease. In truth the records had been crammed into conti-plas racks so tightly they were often hard to go through, or creased through years of people trying.
All that was left was just the main front room which is mostly CDs, old cassettes and a few boxes of vinyl which aren’t worth wasting time over. It’s worth a look – if only to see how not to run a record shop!
I last went by in early 2011 and the place was shut up (love the fading signs on the security shutters) with a notice that they’d be open again in the summer. They do have an internet ebay shop so perhaps everything is going that way (and their feedback is generally very good). You can’t blame them for joining so many others online, but it’s a shame they didn’t make the most of what they had shop-wise. So possibly open, more likely closed (the shutter was still down in May!), check it out before making a special trip.
smugglers records bridlington shutter
97 Promenade, Bridlington, North Humberside, YO15 2QJ. Telephone (01262) 673216

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7 Responses to Smugglers Music Centre

  1. Pingback: ST33 • New Pages | ST33

  2. John says:

    Many a happy memory hunting through vinyl in the dodgy lean-to in the back. Record shops are making some sort of comeback so maybe there’s hope. It definately needs revamping though. It was old. musty and ramshackled in the early 90’s. Last visited in 2010.

    • simon robinson says:

      Yes, the offshot full of vinyl was something. Though it always had the feeling that very little new stock ever went in, and the sleeves were almost bent double by the time the place closed as so much was crammed in. I reckon Brid could support a small vinyl outpost during the season of it was nicely done and friendly. The old town has a fantastic second-hand bookshop which is a treat to visit, though maybe not so many people get over that end of town.

  3. Always buy something from this place when in Bridlington, everything fairly priced and some great bargains. Always a good selection of CD albums when I visit

  4. Stuart Rollinson says:

    Smugglers Records/Music Centre acquires his expensive Ebay stock from the destitute locals at insultingly low prices. His usual tactic is to pretend to be interested in your record collection so that you haul it all round to his lair, then he will go through it all commenting how dreadful it all is and virtually worthless. The scam is that he will say that your mountain of records is worth either nothing or next to nothing. You either haul it all away again – or accept his minimalistic offer – or just walk away and leave him it all completely free of charge. Over the years you would be astounded by how many thousands of records have been acquired exactly this way! This is virtually stealing.

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