Skip to main content

Summer 1972 - "Let It Rock" boutique shop, 430 Kings Road, Chelsea, London.

Corrugated iron sheets were painted black and giant pink lettering was pasted onto it. This pink lettering was glued on by Screaming Lord Sutch, the singer, who also ran a window-cleaning business (and thus had ladders).

Having taken over the whole premises, Malcolm [Mclaren] (with Vivienne [Westwood] and friend Patrick Casey) split the shop into two sections (the shop's floor area was only 450 square feet).

The front was dedicated to sales, painted black walls, selling 1950s/1960s clothes, records, etc and decorated with 1950s rocksploitation movie posters, reconditioned 1950s/1960s valve radios. There was also an AMi Jukebox.

The small back area (only 180 square feet, and the back wall was just 13 feet wide), was designated for relaxation, a suburban 1950s sitting room suitable for a lounging Teddy Boy.

Out-of-date wallpaper across the three back walls / blue formica panelled lounger / stick-legged coffee table with piles of trash magazines / blue fabric covered fridge / a radiogram / Bakelite single-reel tape player / modernist rug on post-war linoleum flooring / ornate glass cabinet decorated with roses, silk scarves in blue / black, white and orange, flick-knife combs, love-heart necklaces, jars of brylcreem. pink nylon flounces, wild haired Screaming Lord Sutch mirror plate, pair of black patent leather stiletto heeled boots accompanied on the wall by framed photographs of James Dean and other 1950s icons.

(Note: Moravian Corner flats, 355 King's Road in the background).

"Paradise Garage" (May to November 1971): In May 1971, the lease for 430 Kings Road, Chelsea, London was taken over by Trevor Myles who opened the short-lived boutique, selling Hawaiian-style shirts, vintage denim and general Americana (the premises also contained something called 'Osteria' - a restaurant/bar? - see photo)

In October 1971, Malcolm Mclaren, looking for an indoor building for his and Vivienne Westwood's items (Rock 'n' Roll records, clothing, etc) that they were selling at a stall in Portobello Road market, meets Bradley Mendelsohn (shop manager), and is offered the rear of the small back part of the shop, opening initially on Sundays only and using a chalkboard at the front of the shop with 'In the Back of Paradise Garage' written on it.

At the back of 430 Mclaren was to realise his ambition to create a suburban 1950s sitting room suitable for a lounging Teddy Boy; on a linoleum covered platform along the base of the back wall he placed a kitsch glass cabinet, teen and showbiz magazines, a Dansette, plastic flowers and pink nylon decorative ruffles accompanied on the wall by framed photographs of James Dean and other 1950s icons.

In November 1971, accounts mention Trevor Myles’ marriage issues and a loss of interest in the outlet, including running out of money, he walks away from the business.

Within a few weeks, Malcolm and Vivienne take over the whole premises (they legally acquire the lease in early 1972), and his friend Patrick Casey and partner Vivienne Westwood converted the entire site at 430 Kings Road into 1950s retro outlet "Let It Rock".




430 Kings Road SW10 0LJ Chelsea / London
... loading ...

Next in London: Levy's For Records Radio
Prev in London: Leslie H. Parry
A-Z prev: Let It Rock