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Bradford, Shipley, Castleford, Sheffield Harrogate,Otly, Scunthorpe Leeds,

Martin's father, Alec, opened the first Vallance shop in 1934 in Scunthorpe and from there the business grew to over 40 shops and out of town stores, turning over 50m per year. Always based predominantly in Yorkshire but we did have outlets in the Midlands and Lancashire
Martin sold Vallances in 1987.

Maybe an ex-Vallances employee will correct me, but I associate their Briggate shop as being Vallance and Davison's. I remember going to see 'Johnny Kidd and The Pirates' performing at the newly opened Vallance's record shop on New Market Street about three-years prior to when this photograph is dated. Vallance's was an institution in Leeds, it was sad to see them disappear. Comment: B Hallam.

I don't remember a store on Briggate but there was certainly one on the Headrow. They were Vallance and Davison originally and also had a wholesale electrical company - Valectric - which operated from Gathorne House on Roundhay Road. Vallances on New Market Street was THE place to go, not only to buy records, but also because there was a coffee bar adjoining the record department on the first floor. This was open in 1961, and was probably very new then. There were booths where one could listen to records before choosing which to buy, and each booth had buttons to press when you wanted to listen to the B side, the same records again, or the next record. On Saturdays the place was absolutely packed. Vallances also produced a free leaflet with their own Top Ten. Comment: Chris Went.

Yes there was a Vallances store on the Headrow. I remember listening in one of the booths, with my eldest daughter Sarah, about 1973. From memory I bought a Planxty album. Sarah was 42 last week! As well as Vallances, there was an electrical store called Isherwoods, which was near the top of one of the arcades leading from Briggate to Lands Lane. I seem to remember that there was a coffee bar there too. Me and my mates went there quite a bit, because we fancied our chances with the young female assistants. No such luck. About the same time we would go to a milk bar near the Plaza, could have been Youngmans, again hoping to score with the young ladies. Comment Michael Kirby

I was an apprentice radio & tv engineer at the Scunthorpe Branch, working from Fenton Street in town, they had two shops! One in high street Scunthorpe & one in ashby, enjoyed my time there! Went to college etc, can remember names such as Mr Smith, some kind of manager, and Bill Swithernbanck a delivery driver. Diddy David Hamilton from television coming to the to open or re open the Scunthorpe branch after refurbishment, there were crowds in the high street waiting to see him. Comment: Robert Hunter.

Thanks for this page. I have bought a 7inch record from a charity shop in skipton. it has the original VALLANCES receipt in with it.
dated november 1967. the record was 7 shillings and 5 pence. It was the theme from MAN IN A SUITCASE. by RON GRAINER. Comment: STEVE BORSBEY

(May 17, 2014) Karen Shelbourn said:My first job,aged 16 in1980,was at Vallances electrical store on sincil street in Lincoln .I used to feel nervous when Martin Vallance and his entourage were due a visit,I wore out many dusters trying to look busy on his visits.Sodastreams and Brevilles seemed to be popular- hi tech stuff!

(Aug 13, 2013) Yvonne Burns said:Yes I well remember Vallances in the 1960's, those music booths where you could listen to anything you asked an assistant to play. It was the place to go in those far off days.

(Mar 5, 2013) Steve slator said:I remember valances tried to get jimmy saville to open the bradford shop in 1965 but the greedy bastard wanted £2k and some young female assistant

(Jan 2, 2015) I can remember as a child being stood with my mum watching Elsie and Dennis Tanner of Coronation street fame open the New Market Street electrical store in Leeds. There were thousands of people present which halted all traffic, and I am sure it was in the early 60's. Comment: John Stockdale.

(April 17, 2015) I bought my first 7" single at Vallances Otley, and my pride and joy a new stereogram still going well 43 years later owned by my sister in law, good as new. Comment: Keith Pitts.

(October 06. 2015) My first job was in the record dept in the Headrow Leeds 1965 It was the best job ever! Lenny Lyons was our manager, Music was my life ( and always will be!) picking the hits was a big part of my job, playing all the new releases to dj's going to loads of clubs and concerts, the Beatles era was unbelievable we used to bag records up ready for the queues of fans waiting outside for the shop to open to buy them. We got to meet so many famous people and went down to London on training courses at EMI . I worked there for 17 wonderful years my latter in Market street Bradford which was so amazing in the 70's I am so grateful for those wonderful years and working with and meeting such lovely people I will never forget those amazing vinyl years. Comment: Madeleine Ackroyd.

Comment I managed the record department in Vallances in Mansfield in the late 1970's and early 1980's, in addition to chart material and new releases we sold Northern Soul Records, Jazz Funk Disco records and imported material (picture discs, US and Australian discs in picture covers) from all over the world. We were one of the panel of 400 BMRB/BBC chart return shops across the UK. A regular weekly visitor to my store 'what you got for me to listen to today Dave' was a very young Pete Waterman who was an A&R man for various record companies at the time. Other regular visitors were Neil Rushton and Kev Roberts who both supplied us with Northern Soul products. The 70's was a golden age for record shops as in Mansfield we not only had Vallances but also the legendary Syd Booths both in the same town - Happy Days! David Andrews. (July 3, 2016)

Name Paul Metcalf Comment: I got my second job in electrical retail after working at an independent at Vallances in Grimsby..where 12 months interest free was the norm..met Martin a few times who seemed very down to earth. He also was in all the tv ads too!!..lots of manufacturer roadshows were common with free food and drink( often a mistake lol) but there was a bond between all stores which is rare these days..we would ring other stores for stock or info or just a chat..good times,.then he pioneered the out of town Atlantis stores I believe..then Rumbelows bought the company for a greater northern presence and ruined everything. (March 10, 2017)

Name Dave Shaw Comment: Vallances bought out a number of stores around Yorkshire. They bought a campany called Clay's in Mexborough. They also had a workshop there. I used to go on a Saturday and the Workshop Manager Eddie Smith used to teach me how to repair stuff. Eddie still has a little workshop in Mexborough (2017) Top bloke.

Comment
I remember when the Headrow store in Leeds was Vallance and Davidson before just becoming Vallances. My favourite recollection was taking my friend, Terry Foster's Ferrograph tape recorder in for repair. He'd previously purchased it 2nd from Stampers electrical shop in Cross Gates. Despite it already being around 20 years old it was sent away for a replacement capstan motor. We went back to collect it and there it was, repaired, with a complements slip from Ferrograph apologising that it shouldn't have happened!!! NO CHARGE. No wonder Ferrograph went bust. I still have THREE of their machines and Terry still has his repaired one. I also remember the shop in New Market Street because upstairs taking pride of place was the new Ferrograph Series 7 on Demo. I could only dream of owning one of those 50 years ago but I got one 20 years ago and still have that too. I bought records in both branches and also in Alwyn Isherwoods at the top of Thornton's Arcade. They had a coffee bar in the basement and I used to buy records and have coffee with friends there. I also bought records at Kitchen's in King Edward Street and even the basement of Matthias Robinson in Briggate where I bought Harry Belafonte's Mary's Boy Child on 78 !!! :-)
Name
Geoffrey Lidster
(2020)

Comment
My first ever job was as a Saturday lad as a drivers mate for Vallances. My driver, Neil Bickerdike, who has sadly passed away was a great guy. Our boss was Phil Wilby who managed the repair shop on Lower Oxford Street in Castleford. I then moved into working as a salesman in the Castleford branch after not doing too well with my O Levels. My manager there was Steve Fodden who influenced my thinking tremendously about management. I subsequently worked for Clive Silverthorne and Steve Slator who were also fantastic role models. I me Martin on a few occasions, once unannounced when I'd not had a shave, Never happened again! I subsequently managed Cleckheaton, Ripon, Rotherham, for Vallances and then Castleford Barnsley and Headrow in Leeds once Rumbeloes had taken over. Tandberg was one of the early exclusive TVs which came in beautiful wooden cabinets. TVs were even in the late 70s £300 a go as we're the early microwaves. It's funny what you remember, for example I remember that the code for a 3 pin plug was 501018. Vallances ran a live in sales course for some of Thier sales team for a while. I think that this set me up for a successful time in sales and management spanning. Vallances, Rumbelows, Clyde's Dale, Currys, PC World, Woolworths and Lloyd'sPharmacy. Without the confidence that that course gave me I don't think I'd have stayed in retail, so thank you to Martin Ballance and all the people I have mentioned above for fantastic start. I reflect regularly on many hilarious moments that happened to me.
Name
Andy Wilson
(2020)

Comment
I worked at the Headrow branch when Malcon Tiffen was mmanager,not a better pkace to work then
Name
Janet Waterhouse
(2020)

Comment
Started off my working life in the 80s as a 14yo Saturday lad at Vallances on Market Street in Bradford, Steve Slator took me on. David Hardcastle was his assistant. The record section had closed by the time I joined. Left school at 16 then started full-time at the same store. Did stints at Cleckheaton, Halifax, Huddersfield & Dewsbury also Atlantis in Shipley. I left not long after Rumbelows came along. Names that spring to mind - Ricky & John Kearns, Paul Vipond, Ron Rome, Malcolm Tiffin, Graham Miller, Clive Silverthorne, Steve & Ann Halmonroyd, Jenny Bell, all taught me a lot. Happy days indeed & a great start into the world of work!
Name
Simeon Davison
​(2021)

Comment
This is amazing! I’m Martin Vallance’s step son, and it’s great to read so much about Vallance’s and what it meant to people.
Unfortunately Martin passed away on Friday, but he was always very proud of the stores and the wonderful people who made Vallance’s what it was. He was still in touch with a few right to the end.
Thanks for the happy memories.
Name
Finlay Dawson
(2022)

Comment
I worked in some of the stores in the school holidays when I was deemed old enough. I can remember merchandising the new Castleford Store when it moved and the new out of town Shipley store and racing Sinclair C5s around the carpark. I also went out delivering on the vans one Christmas and had a great time.
Finlay Dawson
(2022)

Comment
What a surprise to find this trip down memory lane. I was apprenticed for five years as an engineer at the Vallances service department in Wharfe Street from 1960 to 1965. When Jonny Kid and the Pirates played at the opening of the Market Street shop I was operating the closed circuit television camera. I built a number of the record players that were used for people to listen to in the booths. My brother and I did a lot of the work in moving the service department from Wharfe Street to Stanningley Road. There was no Briggate shop. Headrow and Market Street. My brother in law worked at Gathorne House on Roundhay Road. I remember Martin Vallance well in his Mercedes sports car. I remember Steve Smith as the Service Manager. A lot has happened since then.
Name
John Holroyd
(2022)

Watch on YouTube

Comment
I was a student at Leeds U in the mid 60's, so I quickly became a regular at Vallances on The Headrow - (an easy stroll down the hill from the Uni buildings), from where I bought the new Beatles LP "Revolver" in August 1966. That was the best 19/6d I ever spent as it's now worth 187 pounds. Thanks Martin!
Name
Robert Newton
(2022)

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Sheffield

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Simon Robinson ST33

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Simon Robinson ST33

Image Derek Pearson

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Image Richard Hunter

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Julie Bussey,Madeleine Ackroyd and Lynn Cox- 1977

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The Bachelors signing New Market Street 1964

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Fat Larry meeting Madeline Ackroyd 1979

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Leeds

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Leeds v Everton 1967-68

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picture of items that were from that era, one is an amplifier with pre amp, (Mullard five ten with the two valve pre. amp) which I built whilst at Doncaster tech, college as part of the C&G qualification from the college. Richard Hunter

Video thanks to Finlay

Video thanks to Finlay


Comments

Paul beck
22 Jan 2024 at 04:54
My dad worked for martin. He started of as a tv engineer then he went on to be there transport manager at henconer lane at bramley. Spent quite a bit of time there as my mum worked there. Dont know if Martin vallance is still alive. He used to send grouse to my gran. When vallances shut my dad said he bought a country mansion and did grouse shooting weekends.
Dave Harwood
23 Jan 2024 at 11:11
I found this advert in the 'Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph' dated 8th April 1960:
“VALLANCES RECORD BROWSERIE AT ASHBY has the largest selection of records in town.”
Jackie Dawson
01 May 2024 at 10:15
I worked in Vallances, Broadway, Ashby, Scunthorpe in the Record Department, then in the Scunthorpe shop as Manager and loved it.
When I was 18 I went to EMI London and achieved a Diploma in Record Salesmanship. There are only 84 people who hold this Diploma as it stopped in that year 😂😂
I remember Robert Hunter who commented earlier.
The TV service Department was close by in Fenton Street and I remember a few of the drivers, Brian Theaker, Andy Capp, Stan Usher among others. A great place to work.

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