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Founded by John MacGillivray in 1976, Dub Vendor began life as a market stall in London's South London in response to the considerable lack of West Indian music at the time[3]. Clapham Junction at that time was a poor inner suburb, and the surging population of immigrants from the West Indies made Clapham and nearby Brixton their new homes. The stall, and the shop that followed, were instant successes, and the second Dub Vendor store (or 'record shack' as it's known) opened four years later in Ladbroke Grove right next to the Underground station.

In response to London's reggae scene flourishing in the early '80s, larger premises were required to cater for the increasing demand for reggae, ska, and allied genres. Subsequently, 274 Lavender Hill became Dub Vendor's flagship store and also the home of its home-brew recording studio label, Fashion Records.[4]

The Ladbroke Grove shack continued to operate alongside the Lavender Hill store until 1991, when it was moved down the road to 150 Ladbroke Grove, due to the lack of space in the shack to accommodate the ever-increasing patronage of reggae lovers.

The future for the Ladbroke Grove branch began to look bleak, however, as sales fell and the rent increased. The final nail in the coffin came in 2007 in the form of the Western Extension, which resulted in the store closing its doors to the public just over a year later on the 28th June 2008[5].

I'm a South African. Never been to
London in person. The Name Dub Vendor brings back the memories of how dancehall used to be nice because of reggae records (Lps, 7" 10" and 12") from Dub Vendor. Mi Brethren name Jeff Thomas the most famous and prominent reggae Dj of the 70s to early 90s used to work on cargo ships that would dock ashore England. He personally would go to Dub Vendor and buy reggae records and bring it come ayard in Cape Town. He later began to order some of the records. Even to date,some of his reggae records has the famous Dub Vendor logo. As the youth then, it was and still is my dream to come visit the shop that played a critical role in ensuring that it kept us updated with new songs and sounds. This was during the height of apartheid and some reggae albums were banned by then apartheid government. Just to name the few. Some records like Peter Tosh's Equal Rights album, the song Apartheid was not on the album including the song Fight On from the album Mystic Man. The covers or sleeves of the Cimarons album titled Freedom Street, where the Cimarons posed behind bars was to a tarred road and Daddy U Roy album titled Dread ln A Babylon, where Daddy U Roy in a cloud of Ganjah Smoke. The cover was justvpitch black. The Jimmy Cliff album titled Give The People What They Want was banned totally. And list goes on.

Lastly, l was busy going through the recent reggae vinyls catalogue and saw the album titled "The Very Best of Billy Boyo". It took down memory lane. It's so sad that nowadays classics such this album I've just are so hard to find. Worse in shops like Dub Vendor where these records used to be galore. I'll try some means to buy myself the Billy Boyo and be able to say "l bought this album or record at Dub Vendor. Thanks! Blacks aka G- Had.

Pete Stevens

In the summer of 1982 I lived quite briefly in Westbourne Park Road above The Elgin pub. I worked in Hammersmith, so twice a day I walked right past the door of The Dub Vendor Record Shack, when it was located right next to the Metropolitan Line tube station. It almost felt like it was part of the station. Via The Clash I'd developed a love for reggae - roots and culture at the time - and for many weeks built up the courage to enter the shop.

You have to bear in mind I was a skinny white eighteen year old northerner in a cheap suit and the shop was populated by what looked like some really heavy duty Rastas. You could barely see across what was a relatively small shop due to the thick veil of smoke.

Eventually I entered to purchase LKJ's 'Forces Of Victory' and 'Red' by Black Uhuru. I also picked up a 12" of Junior Murvin's 'Police and Thieves' there. The 'atmosphere' was fantastic once I'd plucked up the courage to enter. Over the following weeks I went in regularly and bought other albums by Misty In Roots, Steel Pulse and many others.

The shop moved across Ladbroke Grove to the corner with Cambridge Gardens, where it eventually closed a few years ago in 2008. The last thing I purchased from there was a commemorative T-shirt. The area has changed so much in the intervening 33 years that the shop cannot be supported by the current local population who are probably more interested in Coldplay, James Blunt and X-Factor....Comment:Pete Stevens

( Jan 7, 2015) Visited all 3 venues between 1990 and 1994. I was always very impressed by the neat and tidy presentation which was in stark contrast to my other main supplier, "Daddy Kool" which has been well documented as a fleapit.

All the sleeves were racked nicely to be taken to the counter and 7" pre's behind the counter I think. Dub Vendor was where you would go for the latest releases and in print stock.

I remember buying Tenor Saw "wake the town" LP from Clapham Junction probably around 1991 and it was all shrink wrapped and factory fresh just like any chart music you would by from a high street record store. That blew me away. I remember getting Nitty Gritty "Jah in the family" LP either on the same visit or around the same time. I remember being called "sir" by the guy that served me which seemed quite formal because I was only 16 or 17. I guess he was being polite and trying to make me feel welcome which was nice of him.

I can also remember feeling a bit apprehensive when I first walked into the tube station venue at Ladbroke Grove. The location seemed so "Ghetto" which probably says more about me and my life experience up until that point than it actually does about the shop. I remember the Ladbroke Grove record shack on the corner was open on bank holiday monday for carnival 1994. People were actually buying records in the middle of the carnival.

I couldnt help wondering if Clapham Junction got looted when they rioted in 2011? Or if the kids had some respect for that kind of business? Comment: Digital Killaz

Dave Harwood

13 Mar 2024 at 02:51

I found this piece in the 'Croydon Advertiser' dated 31st July 1992: “SOME of the biggest names in reggae music are lined up for the spectacular Flexx concert at Crystal Palace Concert Bowl on Saturday, August 15. The show, featuring Cutty Ranks, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Dennis Brown, Jack Radies and Tresure Isle chanteuse Phyllis Dillon, will be compered by Smiley Culture and Kiss FM’s David Rodigan. Tickets priced £15 are available from the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl box office on 081-778 9612, Ticket Master on 071-379 4444 or from Dub Vendor, BODY MUSIC and other London reggae shops.”
... and this piece in the 'Wembley Observer' dated 8th February 1996: “REGGAE veteran Frankie Paul tops the bill at a concert at Willesden Empire, Church Road on Friday, February 16. Nicknamed Jamaica’s Stevie Wonder, he has been having hits across the pond for more than 20 years. His album 'Freedom' is currently on release under Harlesden’s Jet Star label. Raw Roots, the band who backed reggae legend Gregory Isaacs on his recent British dates, provide support. Also on the bill are British reggae star Vivian Jones, Richie Davis, Robbie Valentine, the singer behind Nobody But Jah Glamour Kid and Nico Junior. Tickets at £14 are available from record shops such as BODY MUSIC or STARLIGHT in Harlesden or KLASSIC RECORDS in Wembley, For details ring 0171-635 9154.”




Cambridge Gardens W11 Notting Hill / London
274 Lavender Hill SW11 Clapham / London
Railway Arch 7 Station Way SE15 4QW Peckham / London

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