COLIN DRURY: Records of the past

The record sleeve display on the Moor
The record sleeve display on the Moor
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IT’S an exhibition which will strike a chord with any music fan who ever enjoyed record shopping in Sheffield - and it’s all down to The Diary.

Simon Robinson has spent the last five years gathering the paper bags and card sleeves in which old city stores once sold their vinyl.

Now, after city centre bosses read about his unique collection right here, he has been invited to display the artefacts in The Moor.

We told in March how the 57-year-old of Stannington had amassed the packaging by trawling charity shops, second hand stores and jumble sales.

“The response has been amazing,” he says. “I’ve been putting the exhibition up this week and so many people have been stopping and gawping, and telling me how a certain bag reminds them of going in a certain shop when they were younger.

“That’s the effect things like this have. People see them for the first time in 30 years and the memories start clicking into place.”

Sheffield shops included are Violet May, which was in South Street, Cann which was in Chapel Walk, and the Heeley Gramophone Saloon which was in Heeley Bridge.

But there are also rather more unusual places too.

Who would have thought the City Tyre And Vulcanising Company, which was in Rockingham Street, would ever have sold vinyl?

“In the early days of the 20th century there were no record shops so they would be sold in all kinds of places from grocery stores to chemists,” says graphic designer Simon. “That’s why there are some quite unusual shops which I have sleeves for.”

The bags themselves have been reproduced for the display for fear the real thing would be damaged by the prolonged exposure to sunlight.

The exhibition will stay up - in one of the thoroughfare’s empty shop window - until the end of summer. It is possible the collection will be revolved midway through to show off more of Simon’s 120-strong collection.

In the mean time, as previously revealed, he is still working on a book featuring the collection scheduled for release in 2013.

“As part of that I’d like to talk to anyone who worked in those old record shops,” he says. “If anyone is interested they can call me on 0114 233 3024.”