OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Before the time when most people in Ciren rented a Television from either Ted Ford’s shop or “Rentaset”, home entertainment came in the form of upright pianos, the “Wireless”, or record players. In the early 60’s there were still a lot of players for 78 rpm records around, although the records had stopped being produced in this form in 1958. If you did have a record player in the 60’s, it was likely to be what was a called a “portable”, by which it meant it be could be carried between room as long as there was a plug socket to plug it into. If you had the house room for it, and could afford it; upmarket “Stereograms” were available from Currys. Curry’s had two shops in Cirencester in the 1960’s; one in the Market place selling bikes and toys and the other in Cricklade Street, electrical items. In 1966, Stereograms ranged from 62 Guineas for a Fergusson model 3334 (£59.13) and up to a princely top of range Blaupunkt Arkansas Deluxe Stereogram for 125 Guineas; the equivalent today of £2031; more than three month’s pay for the average working Man
If you had a record player, you needed records to play on them. W.H.Smiths in Castle Street once had a proper record department at the back of the shop where the pens are nowadays. There were racks of records but ff you were unsure about whether or not to buy the latest Kinks single, or in my case; Booker T and the MGs, an assistant behind the counter would happily put them on for you. You would be given the record sleeve to read and you went to one of the booths to listen on headphones. We called them LP’’s in those days – “Albums” being something you kept your stamp collection in. or your Mum and Dad; the family photos.