Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lewisham Music Shops

This afternoon "I went to Staten island to buy myself a mandolin" (Joni Mitchell), or to be more honest I went to Lewisham to buy myself a guitar lead. But when I got there I found that Len Stiles, the only music shop in Lewisham town centre has closed down forever after 65 years. According to their website the building is to be redeveloped, though they are still trading from their warehouse in Kent.

They say: "As a customer of Len Stiles Music you are in the illustrious company of such people as Spike Milligan, Status Quo, Albert Lee, Mike Berry, Tommy Steele, Gordon Giltrap, Manfred Mann, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, Gary Brooker and many more". I know that in the shop they used to have a notice saying that Spike Milligan once bought a trumpet there and never finished paying for it, and in this interview, Milligan says "My mother bought my first guitar for eighteen shillings from Len Stiles’ shop in Lewisham High Street".

Thankfully Tune Inn in Hither Green is still going strong, so if you need a guitar lead you need to do what I did today and head down there.

3 comments:

spincat said...

I did hear a rumour they were looking for another shop, but that could just be a rumour: I will email them as there are plenty near me in SE4.

Commander Meehan said...

Why not venture to Eric Lindsey?

It's the biggest?

Anonymous said...

South Eastern Entertainments was at 375 Lewisham High Street from 1965 to 1982. It was owned and run by Frank Taylor, who also opened another musical instrument shop - Music & Entertainments (Croydon) Ltd. at 5 Savoy Parade, Croydon (next to the ABC cinema), run by John Edmed, which closed just before the Lewisham branch.

There is a Marc Bolan connection to the Lewisham shop, concerning his use of Vampower amplifiers, at this link:
http://www.vampower.com/dave.html