Back in the 1970s and 80s it was possible to go into a record shop and listen to a vinyl in a sound-proof booth
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Reading town centre is host to an array of different shops and restaurants. The Oracle Shopping Centre is the go-to spot for clothes and gift shopping, whilst Broad Street Mall offers budget-friendly items and coffee shops.
Back in the 1970s and 80s the town centre looked very different to how it is today. There was one type of shop that dominated the high street.
Record stores were everywhere and vinyl was all the rage. It was the best way to listen to your favourite band and some shops even had soundproof booths where you could sit back, relax and put on some tunes.
READ MORE: Quicksilver: The lost Reading vinyl shop where Ricky Gervais bought his first-ever album
Ricky Gervais grew up in Reading and used to go into town just to visit the vinyl shops. The Office star lived on an estate in Whitley and bought his first-ever record in the Butts Centre (now known as Broad Street Mall).
The comedian said that he bought the album when he was around 12 or 13-years-old. He recalled the experience during a Twitter livestream earlier this year.
He said: "I went into town. Saved a bit of money. What would I have been? 12? 13? I can't remember the name of the shop. I think it was Quicksilver. Or another one?
"It was at the Butts Centre in Reading. I know I had to go up the escalator to a little shop. It was cool. It was really cool. It was one of those shops where its like really dark, with a red light, do you know what I mean?
"Lava lamps, joss sticks, it was one of those and I remember I felt so grown up. Yeah, Stranded by Roxy Music. I think I'd only heard one track. I think I'd only heard Street Life and I took a chance, but it was different in those days because you loved having an album."
Other people in Reading also recall visiting Quicksilver. Michael Fairburn said: "Now That’s what I Call… a proper record shop. I used to buy up to 30 12” singles a month from them. Once they got to know you, they’d put aside promos & (back in the day of chart pushers) 12” & 7” singles at half the price (to get them to chart)."
READ MORE: The things you'll remember if you used the internet in the 1990s
Susan Chatterton used visit Quicksilver as well and said: "We all went there. A great shop Used to go to the one opposite the station too". Tony Burrow said: "Happy Times. Pre-Internet days. We were so lucky.
"Great shop. The joy it gave me to come away with a white label or a t-shirt along with a standard release. Chats with like-minded people about music. Often u hadn't even heard the song before as it wasn't released. I was always so excited to be on that escalator."
This isn't the only record shop fondly remembered by people in Reading. Helen Mace said that she remembered going to Cavaliers which used to sell t-shirts as well.
Other people liked to visit Hickies on Friar Street (which is still up and running). Back in the day, the music shop had a record collection upstairs.
Browns was a go-to spot for music lovers as well and customers loved the sound-proof listening booths. There was also Red House Records on London Road which had a jukebox.
Quicksilver– Butts Centre
Green River Records
Rumbelows – Friar Street
Boots Audio Shop – Friar Street
Hickies – Friar Street
Hackers –Market Arcade, Broad Street
Browns – Friar Street
Wax Records – Friar Street
Record Basement – Oxford Road
Woolworths – Broad Street
Red House Records – London Road
Harlequin – Smelly Alley
Fopp Records – West Street
Knights – Broad Street
Virgin Mega Store – Broad Street
HMV – Friar Street
Barnes and Avis– Friar Street
Are there any record shops that we missed? Let us know in the comments.
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