Skip to main content

Name: Wendy Easton
Comment: I bought my first record from this shop and I would love to have a photo to share with old friends.

Name: Jeremy Isaac
Comment: I remember going to Sparks in Coulsdon all through the 1970s, got all my T. Rex 45s there and many others. I well remember a lovely lady called Mrs James who ran the art deco record bar in the back. Happy days...

Name: Jeremy Isaac
Comment: I'm not sure just when GHT Sparks opened but old photos suggest it wasn't there in 1955. It was certainly there for the first 20 years of my life - 1960s and 1970s - and it really was run by a gentleman called Mr Sparks (not an electrical pun) who often wore a white coat like that worn by scientists.

Located on the corner of Edward Road and the main Brighton Road in Coulsdon (Surrey then, now London Borough of Croydon), the front part of the shop specialised in electrical items - plugs, light bulbs, fuses, lengths of cable, fans, fires, alarm, radios etc; I even bought a hi-fi there (although I think we called it a 'music centre' in those days). But if you walked through the electrical department at the front, the shop narrowed a bit, then took you up three or four steps and opened out into an art deco-style record bar which was run by a lady called Mrs James. There were also a couple of old-fashioned listening booths to one side.

The art deco style might suggest the shop was opened in the late 1950s - I was born in 1958 and always remember it being there, but I moved away in 1979 so do not know how long it continued or when it closed.

The shop had display windows on both Brighton and Edward Roads, electrical items being displayed on a surface lower down, with record sleeves suspended higher up (you can just make this out in the photo).

Needless to say I bought many records there over the years, ranging from the theme to the 1960s TV series 'White Horses' and Ron Goodwin's 'Excitement' film themes album, to T. Rex singles and Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. It's now home to Daniel Adams estate agents.

I hope these snatched memories might be of interest to your readers.

Name: Maureen Clarke
Comment: My best friend at Purley Grammar School for Girls was Maureen Sparks - Mr GHT Sparks' daughter who died last year, and opposite was the old-type Sainsbury's with the long marble counters and you paid your money to a lady in a little glass box at the back of the shop - also my mother used to send me 'down the village' to buy cracked eggs from there - they were much cheaper of course; also my uncle Alan was a butcher in that Sainsbury's.

I would also like to add that Maureen joined Purley Grammar approximately two years after me in 1953/54, so Mr Sparks would have opened his shop about the same time - no later indeed. I was instructed by the Headmistress, Miss J.C. Simpson to call for her and bring her to school on her first day.

I lived in Coulsdon and latterly in Old Coulsdon since 1951 until my husband and I upped sticks and moved to Dorset in 2004. After my husband's death I moved on to Poundbury, still in Dorset but still make a yearly pilgrimage along with my son to Old Coulsdon's St John's Church where my husband's ashes are scattered in the Remembrance Garden and to visit old friends, of which there are now fewer.


Dave Harwood
29 Nov 2023 at 11:09
I found this advert in the 'Croydon Times' dated 30th November 1956: “G. H. T. SPARKS Invite you to visit COULSDON'S RECORD CENTRE. No waiting - hear your record in one of our booths. NOW OPEN AT 141 BRIGHTON ROAD, COULSDON, SURREY. Phone: UPL 2530.”



141 Brighton Road CR5 2NJ Coulsdon / London
... loading ...

Next in London: G.W. Groom
Prev in London: G.G's Records
A-Z prev: G.G's Records
A-Z next: G.Lock