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  • Jack Starr

A Guide to Sheffield Record Stores

In an ever-digitalised world, vinyl records are making a surprise comeback. Between the superior analogue sound, aesthetic value of record jackets, and the fun of collecting, people are returning to the hobby in droves.


Sheffield has a rich musical history, and a wide range of independent record stores across the city. You don’t have to break the bank for records at HMV or Amazon – you can support local businesses in the city, and grab some great bargains, with this handy guide.


Record Collector (Fulwood Road, Broomhill)

Opened in 1978, Record Collector is Sheffield’s largest independent record store, boasting 50,000 titles in stock. The store is split into two sections – the vinyl shop, and the CD shop (the CD collection is also very extensive, very cheap, and also features bargain DVDs and music-related books, along with a few discount cassette tapes). The vinyl section is very snug, but every inch is stacked with records. Record Collector also boasts a Discogs.com page with thousands more titles available to order.


The back area of the store is the second-hand section – this is where you are likely to find the best deals. The records are typically in very good quality – no tatty old charity shop records are found here – and very fairly priced, with plenty of classic albums available for £5-£10. The store also features new releases, usually much cheaper than you would get online – brand new records are typically around £20, whereas elsewhere they can be marked up to £30 or more.


Record Collector is considered a Sheffield institution – it has been featured in many top record store lists and local guides. It has even been championed by local musicians including Martin Fry (ABC) and Philip Oakey (Human League). A must-visit for music fans.


LP Record Store (Arundel Street, City Centre)

This snug little record store is right in the city centre, on the Hallam campus, next to Wellies Café and Tamper Coffee/Laundry for Hair. Featuring a mix-and-match of different pre-owned records, it is a good place to find house and dance singles. They also have some interesting memorabilia and posters decorating the walls.


I'm a big fan of this small store, when I find it open! The opening hours are a bit unclear online. You may be able to catch it on a weekend with a record fair in town. Otherwise, it’s a total gamble.


Record Junkee (Earl Street, The Moor)

Just across from Moor Market, Record Junkee is upstairs inside Music Junkee. This is a very unique location, as the downstairs is a shop for musical instruments and equipment, while the upstairs is both a record store and a venue for local gigs, with a stage and a bar. This makes it an odd sort of three-in-one stop for Sheffield music lovers.


The record section features a very wide variety – plenty of pre-owned pop, along with extensive dance sections, a heavy metal section, and a big indie selection. There is a very large section of Record Store Day exclusives. There are also CDs and 7-inch singles to choose from. The only downside to this store is the overpricing on pre-owned records – many records in the pre-owned section are quite marked-up compared to what you would find elsewhere. That being said, it’s still a great place to check out.


Bear Tree Records (Division Street, City Centre)

Bear Tree Records is inside the Forum independent shopping arcade, through the same doors as the Common Room bar. Here, you can also find trendy vintage clothing stores, hair salons and body piercing shops. The record store is right at the back.


A fairly new store (opened in 2015), Bear Tree is spacious and trendy, featuring mostly all brand-new or near-mint records. The collection is very much specialist – if you’re after specific indie, alternative, electronic, or obscure releases, this is the place to come. For example, they have a whole section dedicated to old Italian horror soundtracks! Pricing is fair, but can be expensive given the fact they have new, unused stock of rare and obscure titles. Bear Tree are also favourites for organising intimate record store shows, including Sea Girls, Easy Life, Fontaines DC, Sam Fender and Wet Leg. They have a catalogue and online store at beartreerecords.com.


The Indie Arcade (Scotland Street, City Centre)

Located just up from West Bar and down from the student village around Edward Street, the Indie Arcade has been one of Sheffield’s hidden gems for years. It features every kind of vintage and antique tat imaginable – old retro clothes, furniture, decorations, toys, comics, and of course, vinyl records (as well as CDs and cassettes). A charming little boutique, it even features a chill-out area with sofas, a TV, and a classic Nintendo Entertainment System you can play on.


The vinyl selection is all pre-owned, and mostly consists of bargain bins – mostly old rock, pop, country, folk and other assorted records for £2 a pop. This is a great place for record collecting on a budget, or if you’re just starting up. Yes, there’s a lot of tatty old Frank Sinatras, akin to what you’d find in a charity shop – but there’s also a bargain or two to be had if you check closely. There are other sections of records in the store, operated by different sellers – such as the corner section, which has a good selection of pre-owned rock, pop and new wave, individually priced. The separate room in the side of the store has a lot of 7-inch singles, CDs, and cassette tapes for bargain prices – usually around 50p.


Kelham Island Books and Music (Shalesmoor, Kelham Island)

A two-minute walk away from Indie Arcade, Kelham Books is just on the cusp of the trendy Kelham Island neighbourhood. It is chiefly a bookstore, with a large selection of brand new art books, history books, biographies, and music-related books, along with sections on local interest, novels, and everything you can think of.


The vinyl section is in the back end of the store, and features a nice selection of pre-owned records – rock and pop, soul/funk/disco, and electronic in the back section, with the main bulk being folk, country, classical, jazz and world music. It features an interesting collection of music from different countries around the world. As far as I know, it is the only record store in Sheffield with a large classical selection – and very cheap, too.


The Kelham Flea (Neepsend Lane, Kelham Island)

The Kelham Flea is a flea market and antique store in Kelham Island. It features a massive amount of stock from various independent sellers – furniture, toys, clothes, homewares, plants, and handmade decorations. The music section there is one of Sheffield’s best pre-owned selections, with a large and varied selection of pre-owned records from every decade, including 12-inch dance singles, contemporary dance and hip-hop, synthpop and new-wave, soul and disco, and rock and heavy-metal. There’s also a fair few oddities and soundtrack records that are hard to find elsewhere.


They also have a large selection of very cheap cassettes, and even laserdiscs (the pre-DVD movie discs that are as big as vinyl records – they make great art pieces!). This corner features vintage stereos and hi-fi equipment, including speakers, turntables and occasionally portable radios and Walkmans, all at bargain prices. Be careful here – you may end up walking out with all kinds of ‘80s and ‘90s gizmos!


Kelham Flea stands out as it has a professional quality turntable for you to try your records before you buy, ensuring that your records sound great before making a final purchase. (Once upon a time, this was the standard in record stores, and it’s nice to see it being brought back!) The area is also decorated with music-themed neon lights, and the speaker system (with an old-school CD changer) supplies the whole shop with music while you browse. A wonderful place.


Sheffield Record Fairs – AA Record Fairs and Premier Record Fairs

If you’re seriously into record collecting and fancy hunting out the real bargains, you may want to go to a local record fair, where independent local traders come along to offer their collections. They are typically held once every 2-3 months.


AA Record Fairs are more frequent, typically taking place in the indoor Moor Market, but occasionally also at Crookes Social Club on Mulehouse Road. Premier Record Fairs are more occasional, usually appearing at the Showroom Workstation (behind the Showroom Cinema on Paternoster Row). Usually, the same local merchants frequent all the fairs, though they get visitors and new sellers regularly.


AA Record Fairs also do regular fairs at Chesterfield Market, which is only 10 minutes from Sheffield by train. The fairs they do here are absolutely huge – they make for a great day out. Check their Facebook page for dates and information.


With record fairs, you never know what you’re going to get. Usually traders have specialist selections – be it dance and electronic, hip hop, heavy metal, jazz, soul, indie, or ‘80s pop. Some sellers have an odd mix, so it’s always worth checking out.


Don't worry, we aren't done! Part 2 coming soon.




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