Syd Booths

This near-legendary Mansfield record shop was one of the triggers for Pop Goes Mansfield. If the town had been home to such an affectionately remembered music institution, what other memories from local fans might our research uncover?   Syd Booths original premises were at 17 Rosemary Street, with later locations at 11 Queen Street; the Four Seasons Shopping Centre and 26, Idlewells Precinct, Sutton-in-Ashfield.   By the time business had moved to Queen Street the shop was selling records and cassettes as well as the hardware on which to play them. As it expanded, Queen Street came to sell only hi-fi equipment, the record department having moved to the Four Seasons.   During the course of preparing our summer exhibition, we have been greatly impressed by the fond recollections so many Mansfield people have of this now-sadly defunct part of the town’s history. Many remember Syd himself; most are familiar with son Bill, who took over the running of the shop from his father.   Both are well-respected for their musical understanding. Several contributors also speak very highly of the knowledge of the many staff who were in charge of various specialist departments.   One ex-customer regaled us with the tale of the Trent buses which years ago doubled a profitable delivery service, stopping outside the Queen Street premises to deliver parcels of records from Nottingham!

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  • Syd Booth was our Great Grandad, Bill our Grandad, with our mother Janet being his daughter. Mum remembers the three gentlemen in the photograph as being from left to right John North, Bill Booth and Ted Charlesworth. Bill’s Mum, Hannah, always said that Bill must be sat on a stool in the photo as he looked so much shorter than the others!

    Ted was Bill’s brother in law – married to Nora, Bill’s sister. At the weekends a young man called Ralph Stone worked there, (he attended Brunts Grammer School, not Rosemary Second Modern like our mother!) – his expertise was classical music.

    Our Nana Booth, Edie, (Bill’s wife) often helped out there too.

    The company regularly won awards from HMV for selling so many records – once they won a holiday! On a Saturday the shop was heaving with people queuing outside to get the latest hits.

    Mum also remembers when the shop was on Queen Street there was a cafe next door which the staff had their dinners from. When this became available Syd expanded his shop to sell more varieties of hi-fi, (Uncle Fred’s expertise) televisions and white goods. They also had a workshop on Broomhill Lane carrying out repairs to televisions and a fleet of vans with Syd Booth’s logo on. Lots of local people were employed.

    We still have a plastic bag from the Queen Street store.

    Our father Derald (Del) Forshaw, rented out juke boxes to local pubs and every fortnight went on a round to collect the money from the machines and to change the records. Mum used to select the records for the juke boxes and her choice depended on the location of the juke box. Places like The Midland Hotel attracted younger people so she chose different records too, for example, a pub in Shirebrook always asked for ‘Lily of Laguna’!

    During school holidays we used to accompany Dad. We would call at the shop on Queen Street (and then later the Four Seasons Centre) to collect the latest hit singles to put on the juke boxes. We had to take the middles out the records so they would fit the juke box and then replace them with ‘spiders’ when they were taken off so they could be played again. We still have lots of these singles, most with no centres!

    By Helen Oliver and Jane Forshaw (03/08/2020)
  • Syd Booth is my Great-Grandad. (My Grandad was Fred). 

    I remember my Gran and Grandad working in Revolver, but not sure if I ever went in Syd Booth’s. 

    My Mum did work in her Grandad’s shop sometimes and has some fond memories.  I love seeing the pics and hearing about it. Very cool ??

     

    By Jo (28/02/2017)
  • Could you confirm if Syd booth sold records above a furniture shop in Ollerton called Watson’s . it would have been 60’s ?

    By Kate Croucher (12/01/2016)
  • I remember my boyfriend and I going upstairs and sitting in booths listening to the latest records.

    By Dawn Clarke (11/09/2015)
  • On the 12th December my new husband of 2 hours bought me a single, Roy Orbison’s Pretty Paper.

    By Margaret egan (10/06/2015)
  • Brilliant shop seemed to have every record you asked for

    By John hurst (22/07/2013)
  • I used to frequent Syd Booth’s as early as the late 40s and all through the 50s. Sid, Bill and the third guy, whose name I can’t recall, plus John who joined the team later, were so knowledgeable. I’d pop in during school dinner hour and they almost always had what I wanted. They’d also suggest other titles that would be of interest. Happy days!

    By Jim (21/05/2013)
  • Sad to realise that there is now no music or record type shop in Mansfield. I remember well buying records/tapes/posters in Syd Booth’s in the four seasons,then “Revolver” as it became. Now HMV is closing as with its many other counterpart stores countrywide. Anyone remember “Our Price” up near where Jonathon James was, and Andy’s Records?? Used to call in here from work and get tapes and CD’s. Mansfield has lost a lot over the years.

    By John. (24/02/2013)
  • Surely on the photograph the gentleman on the left is John North who is involved and runs the JAZZ CLUB at the Unwin Road Social Club at Sutton-in-Ashfield. A very knowledgeable and a sociable character who spent years in the Record Section before he moved upstairs to sell HI Fi and TV’s. He would personalize equipment deliver and install the same. My personal equipment which he provided me with is still in use today, some 40yrs old That is most of it is really good stuff, provided on his advice, and as amplifiers etc became more advanced he supplied replacements of superior nature. I took Johns advice, there was never any high pressure selling to which we are subjected today just very good advice from all the staff be them Syd’s Family or those who he employed. Pity we cannot turn the clock back.

    By MGR (10/05/2012)
  • A memory to me when I was a conductor on traction and making my name as a local DJ was to nip in between bus trips listen to the imports and new releases,picking up the very first (I believe)R Dean Taylor’s “Lets Go Somewhere”on VIP and playing it the same night at the horse and Groom or Bellevue(known as “Colours Discoteques”) on Rosemary street, wonderful people and the bus stops on Queen Street where so close to the hub of Mansfields retail life hub, all changed when they pulled down half of inner Mansfield”Granada Cinema” etc and built the shoppin centre.

    By Doug Hall (30/04/2012)
  • Ozzie, that is a name from my past, did you use to frequent The Crown on Stockwell gate?

    By Angela Roche (12/04/2012)
  • As a teenager in the” Swinging Sixties” I and my friends spent many happy hours in Syd Booth’s, we waited with baited breath every week to see the charts outside the shop. This was iconic everyone knew about the chart on the wall! What great memories.

    By ozzie (11/04/2012)
  • Comments spot on mgr they used to write the record down possible the number artist etc every time ,and if you wanted to know anything about any record Syd was always helpfull no HMV shops in those days ,happy memories yes Syd was a truly remarkable man to all the Mansfield people

    p.s wonder what the shop is now ?

    By g.t.burton(former wodus lad) (31/12/2011)
  • My great, great, great Uncle Edward Clay was the licensed victualler of the Black Horse Inn, Queen St in the 1881 & 1891 Census.

    By Darrell Jones (08/12/2010)
  • My memories of Syd Booths were

    1 / That it was truly a Fine example of how a Business should be run. The staff were always friendly- courteous – knowledgeable and go to great lengths to assist you.

    2/ There was no high pressure selling and nothing was too much trouble and their advice was exceptional and honest in content be it Records Hi Fi or TV They would bend over backwards to meet your requirements. The most remarkable memory of Syd himself was in the days of the 78’s when you asked for a particular recording he would quote its number and the Label. I remember on one occasion when a friend of mine at the time asked for what was a new release . He asked for a copy of Trumpet Voluntary but Syd knowing our taste in music corrected him and produced Harry James & His Orchestra playing Trumpet Blues and Cantabile quoting number and playing the same for us . Syd knew his Records, who was on what Label and his customers taste, a Truly Remarkable Man

    By Mgr (12/10/2010)
  • I am the adpoted son of William (Bill) Booth and have many memories and stories about my dads running of the business together with his brother Fred, after the death of Syd. The article did not mention the shop we had for a short time in the old market square next to Cornercopia which is now opposite the libary and is today a cafe. We also rented TV’s in the early part of the 70’s and 80’s, having a repair shop on Broomhill Lane directly opposite Bould Street. It is good to know that people still remember the family buisness with such fondness so please keep sending your memories in.

    By David Booth (03/04/2010)
  • I believe my Grt. Grandfather William Wintle, was a Licensed Vitular at the Black Horse, Queen St, Mansfield, where Syd Booths Shop stood. Could you tell me any information about this fact. My tracing my Family History.Thankyou yours sincerely Sheila Heald

    By Sheila Heald (14/03/2010)

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