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I've lived in Clapham, South London since 1968, and sometime in the 1970s a record shop opened on the high street called Moonfleet, run by a soft-spoken guy called Maurice. If I'm remembering it correctly, the first location was on The Pavement, where there's now a fast photo shop. Later on, Maurice moved across the road to a much bigger shop which is now the bar. For quite a while, his assistant was Pete Flanagan, until Pete moved into his own second hand shop on Clapham Park Road, from which he launched the Zippo label. A silver-haired live wire called Sandy ran her own card and gift shop in the back section of Moonfleet.

I've always considered good record shops to be like academies of learning, with the people behind the counter as my teachers. I shudder to think how many hours Maurice and I spent nattering about music from our respective perspectives. I vividly recall one moment in 1994 when he played a record that unlike anything I'd heard before. It turned out to be an advance copy of Dummy by Portishead, due to be released in a month's time. I didn't have a radio show then, having left Capital four years earlier, but I got that powerful urge to want to share this discovery with listeners. By the time I did get a regular programme on Radio London, everybody knew about Portishead. But I heard it first at Moonfleet. Charlie Gillett SOTW

(Oct 31, 2014) Terry said:Hi,
I remember Moonfleet Records, (Clapham Pavement) well. I worked there for a while, approximately March '78 - May '79. I used to travel over there every day from Notting Hill. Trouble is, being a vinyl junkie, it was like putting an alcoholic in charge of a pub - I'd spend half my wages on records - well at dealer price, it was impossible to resist.
If memory serves, it had been a bit of a C&W/Irish store until Maurice took it over. Our only competition was Woolworths on the High Street and their record counter had shrunk dramatically from a staffed counter to a small self-service rack by the time we'd been operating for a few months. I remember Saturday Night Fever was also a huge seller at the time.
Sometimes I would shut the shop for 20 minutes to jump into the back of a van parked around the corner to listen to and select some new pre-release reggae imports. It was an exciting time for independent record shops, as the rise of the one-stop wholesalers loosened the stranglehold of the major record companies.
As a pro muso for most of my life before and after that period, what I found totally shocking was that if there was an ad on TV on Friday night for Nat King Cole's Greatest Hits, or for that matter, anybody's 20 Golden Greats, you had to be love sure you had box fulls of the stuff by first thing Saturday morning, when alarming numbers of the general public turned up like automatons to buy them, but if the ad campaign ceased, you'd hardly sell another copy!
Maurice was indeed a lovely guy, sad to hear he's gone. I Remember Sandy, she was nice too, also Tiny the shop dog. I've found a pic I took back then. Sadly it doesn’t show the Moonfleet fascia, but it does have Tiny! I'll attempt to upload it.
Now I'm steadily selling all my vinyl collection, a lot of which were bought at Moonfleet, but I've gradually, lovingly transferred it all to uncompressed file formats, some even have the original clicks and pops!
Thanks so much for a fascinating archive.

(Mar 20, 2012) Nicky Barclay said:Maurice later moved to St Annes Court in London's west end where he sold hard to get CDs like you Charlie I spent hours in the shop talking music and other stuff with Maurice he was an absolute gem and became a good mate of mine sadly he passed away due to Cancer a couple of years back after getting married he always talked about Moonfleet and his days in Clapham...he fondly remembered always Nick x

In fact Maurice's first shop was on the north side of Clapham Park Road. It sold a mixture of records, books, posters, prints craft items etc. I began selling some leather belts that I made through him in 1975. Then he moved to a shop on the west side of the High Street that was purely records and later to a larger one on the opposite side of the road.

Richard King


dubmillCake icon9y ago•Edited 9y ago

Interesting to read but gives a false impression of what the area was like back then. I was brought up in Clapham and lived there during the 1970s and 1980s. The High Street was ordinary but far from run-down. In fact, gentrification had already begun in the 1970s and there were obvious signs of this in some of the shops around the Old Town: Some time around the late '70s I remember my mother complaining about a shop called 'Here is Food' (she thought the name pretentious); there was also a gifts/cards/knick-knacks shop called 'Zeitgeist' established perhaps a little later and which actually closed down only a few years ago (the people who ran it also had a decent record shop -- Moonfleet Records -- during the 1980s, on the corner of the High Street and Clapham Park Road).

We lived off Abbeville Road and that area certainly began to change in the 1980s. I remember when the first wine bar on Abbeville Road opened (was that 'Flumb's'? -- perhaps it originally had a different name). And it was a matter of local note that Roddy Llewellyn had moved in, I think into a house on Abbeville Road itself.

EDIT: Moonfleet Records was actually established earlier than I remember. The owner, Maurice Bransfield, died in 2007 and is remembered in this post by Charlie Gillett on his website:

Guilana Kinkead
06 Jun 2023 at 10:17
I remember moonfleet, as kids my brother and I used to spend our pocket money buying 12inch reggae. Great Times. (2023)



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