Skip to main content

Name: John Russell.
Comment: Readings was originally located in the Station Approach, which was demolished to make way for the new entrance to Clapham Junction Station. I used to buy my records from there in the 1970s, my first single being I Am I Said by Neil Diamond.
(6 August 2015)

Name: David
Comment: One shop I used lots of times was Readings, Station Approach, Clapham Junction. It was similar to Tipples in that it had all the stock from way back. I bought most of my Gene Vincent 45s there going back to Be Bop A Lula. It also had the best selection of record players. My uncle bought a Garrard player there which my mother bought from him when he got a radiogram. I had it for years. Best record shop in South London.
(8 August 2015)

Name: Graham Barker
Comment: I remember using the shop at both locations, though mostly at the last location in Lavender Hill. On one occasion, when about ten years old, my father taking me in to ask the staff if they still sold the needles for wind-up gramophones! and that was just prior to their closure. I always looked forward to going to catch a train with my father as I was able to see the record players in their window plus a fantastic train ride to follow. It was a great shop, sadly missed nowadays.

Name: Mike Roberts
Comment: I used to frequent Readings in Lavender Hill (just up from Dub Vendor... such a great name!) from 1979 until it closed down. A friend who worked there said that their eventual commercial downfall was that they stocked practically everything that came out (as suggested by the motto on the bag: "South London's largest stockist"). It really was very eclectic. They once refunded my money on an LP I bought on spec, simply because I said it was rubbish. 'Fair enough' he said. It was The Whale by John Tavener.
(10 October 2016)

Name: Martyn Truss
Comment: We moved from Fulham to Wandsworth in 1970. I remember going to Readings for Records, when it was in Station Approach and when it moved up to Lavender Hill. But could someone remind me of dates: move and finale closure? Many thanks.
(8 December 2016)

Name: Lindsay Williams
Comment: I used to work Saturdays in the Lavender Hill Shop in the late 1970s/early 1980s - it was owned by John Readings.
(13 December 2016)

Name: Alan Lee
Comment: I remember the shop well in the late 1960s. It was in the Station Approach. Half the shop was records and half sheet music and musical instruments. Purchased my first kazoo and Bert Weedon’s “Play in a Day”. When the 1968 film was being made, I saw some scenes outside Readings and even purchased the Manfred Mann vinyl film soundtrack LP. When the Station Approach was demolished and remodelled, Readings moved to the bottom of Lavender Hill, opposite Arding and Hobbs.
(23 May 2017).

Name: Richard Pearce
Comment: I worked full-time in Readings from 1970 until the owner retired in 1983. I looked after the latest releases and back catalogue from the sixties. John the owner had amazing knowledge of jazz and forties music, Nick knew all the Dean Martin era etc., and Dennis did all the classical music. We also sold many accessories e.g.sheet music, guitars, styli etc. Among our customers were Balham library and Annibels nightclub. Prunella Scales used to buy spoken word albums of actors who were friends of hers. One of the highlights for me was when Hank Marvin came to the shop to promote one of his solo albums. Working in the shop and meeting all our great customers was unforgettable for me and among my most treasured memories.
(30 June 2017)

Name: Tony Dyer
Comment: I worked in the shop in Clapham Junction Approach on Saturdays in the late 1960s and into the 1970s. I helped John, Nick and Dennis move the shop over into Lavender Hill. I initially worked in the singles section with Nick but also helped John with the sales of instruments, sheet music and the many other items that the shop stocked! It was often said that people were sent from HMV in Oxford Street to us as we held stock that not many other shops did. I also remember John Reading's father coming in some days just to see how things were going. Later I worked with Dennis in the LP section. One of my long standing memories was playing A Whiter Shade of Pale 64 times through one Saturday alone. The shop also stocked many of the early Ska and Bluebeat records. I still have my collection of singles and LPs amassed whilst working there!

Name: John Evans
Comment: I was at school nearby in the first half of the 1960s and used to spend a lot of time hanging out in the Station Approach shop and wishing that I could afford to spend more money there. The first ever LP I bought was Wranglin' by Ernest Ranglin (Island ILP 909, an excellent trio recording that has never been reissued on CD). Readings was one of the early stockists of Caribbean music in south London, and was the first place I heard Bluebeat and Ska records being played. The first piece of sheet music I bought there was Dave Brubeck's (It's A) Raggy Waltz.

Name: Richard Neville
Comment: Great to read the post by Richard Pearce. Must be the young guy who was always in there when we at 15 years of age bought singles on the day of their release, Telegram Sam, Take Me Bak ‘Ome etc before having enough spare cash to move on to albums. Always felt welcome and appreciated there. Happy days.

Name: Rupert Cook
Comment: I worked at Readings as soon as Lindsay Williams moved on. He got me the job which was a boon to a record collecting fanatic like me. I remember working with Valerie Shatwell, her real surname!, and Richard Pearce, whom I recall thought Japanese Boy was a splendid song. Wonders what sticks in the mind. I remember ordering a Throbbing Gristle box set and being met with quizzical stares by the owner. I also remember working with a young man of 22 or so who had a weak heart and died only a few months after joining the staff. A young lad worked Saturdays for a while and I steered him away from his classical leanings into the murky world of The Clash and other bands of anti-establishment ilk. My stint at the shop was a little over two years, forced out by the 'last in, first out' rule as a new owner appeared. The shop was eventually shifted into Arding and Hobbs around 1985 where it became a shadowy version of its former self.

Name: Jimmy Kingston
Comment: 1967. Spent my first couple of weeks' wages in Readings, on a Larry Adler, Professional 16, Harmonica. £6.50!

Name: Simon
Comment: I'm the Saturday lad referred to by Rupert from Mortlake, above, whom I remember well! Readings was a great job, and I carried on for a couple of years when Citicenta took over. I'm a professional classical musician now, but still have a love of indie/industrial music, as introduced to me by Rupert!


Dave Harwood
21 Nov 2023 at 05:31
I found this advert in the 'South Western Star' dated 23rd November 1928: “BUY YOUR PARLOPHONE RECORDS FROM - B. READINGS, 314 Battersea Park Road, S.W.11.”
… and this advert in the 20th October 1950 edition: “B. READINGS & SONS, LTD. For Everything Musical. 1 STATION APPROACH, CLAPHAM JUNCTION. BATtersea 04541.”



... loading ...

Next in London: Recall Records
Prev in London: Razor Records
A-Z prev: Reaction Records
A-Z next: Reads