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Polchar’s Record Shop 1950’s…..

As a fifteen year old schoolgirl, I was offered a Saturday job in Polchar’s record shop in Deptford High Street, London, SE8. I loved the idea of working there, as rock & roll, jive, and even ballroom dancing were my particular thing. (I also got a good discount on the records…)

The shop, as was usual in those days, was quite small – separated into two halves - record players in one part, and the sale of the records in the other. I also have a very vague recollection there may have been some bikes involved as well. There was a very small staff for such a large turnover, but maybe because of the music connection, nobody minded the hectic atmosphere.
Because records were so popular then, it attracted so many people that the rather gloomy interior faded into the background with the lively atmosphere. On Saturdays, the shop was very busy: buzzing with young people coming in and out all day for their favorite record purchases, buying the music that we all loved to dance to. At that time going dancing was the trendiest and most exciting thing imaginable (even though our evenings ended at 10.00 p.m). Throughout the day, of course, there was always the most up to date music bellowing out all the time from the latest records.

My particular favourites were Chuck Berry, Bill Haley & His Comets, Little Richard, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, The Everley Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and last but not least, Elvis Presley.

I was involved in collecting the Hire Purchase repayments for the equipment that was sold in the shop. These payments were in the princely sums of around £1.2s.6d. I had to sit in a small “kiosk” and make a list of all payments received during the day, which I took through a small opening at the bottom of the glass panel on the front of the kiosk.

I had to reconcile the total money amount with my list of takings at the end of the day – but I was let off the hook a bit there, as the full time lady, Mrs Leicester (no first names allowed)who was at least 35, told me not to worry because she would do it for me on Monday morning. She said not to mention this to the proprietor, as he was a bit of a misery!

In fact, Mr Polchar was a misery and very fat and dour. It is difficult to say what he actually thought about the modern records. I believe he must have had the shop for many years, and maybe the “modern” music was not to his liking and too much change from what he was used to dealing with. He certainly didn’t seem very comfortable with it all.

My finishing time was 5.30 p.m., for the grand sum of £1, and for which I had to stand waiting for him for about half an hour each Saturday, to make a move and present me with the money. Marian Jones (nee Marke)…


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27, 36/98 High Street SE3 Deptford / London

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