Masons Music – Hastings Pier 1978


Tony Ham… Before my day, it was up Queen’s Road when I went there, didn’t it move further up the road at one point?

Alan Esdaile… 187 Queens Road, then moved to 190 Queens Road. Looking at this photo I think theirs an album in the window you like, The Stranglers?

Tony Ham… Black and White, definitely 1978, then.

Jim Breeds… Brilliant Photo Alan Love the badges in the window 🙂

Leigh Wieland-Boys… Whilst going for a stroll on the pier one Easter Steve Demetri (my then boyfriend) bought me a Yes album from you, it’s still got the price sticker on it (seem to recall it was £1.25) – happy days

Alan Esdaile… Also see a Sad Cafe Misplaced Ideals LP, Kris Kristofferson and Elton John covers.

Julie Findlay-Jones… I  loved working there, Alan was such a grear boss.

Andy Qunta… Excellent! Great to see this photo! Good times!

Paul Marshall… Oh my. That was my first ever job working with Alan, making badges by the zillion and discovering toons.

Jim Breeds… Have you thought to give a copy of this photo to the pier didital memories archive Alan?

Alan Esdaile… I’m pretty sure they had this Jim but didn’t use it.


Masons Music – est 3rd April 1978, closed 4th November 2016

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Hastings Pier, 187 Queens Road, 190 Queens Road, Grove Road Ore, Ponswood Ind Estate St Leonards.

Alan Esdaile… Now time for me to get a proper job.

Matt Thomas… I drove past earlier – something drew me to the place today.Sorry it’s come to this. End of an era as Masons Music closes it doors for the last time today, up until last year I had spent nearly 30 years at the place so very sad for me to hear today.

Chris Coleman… That must be a record

Jim Breeds… Really? Gosh. Best wishes for the next venture!

Colin Norton… Sorry to hear this, Alan! Hope that everything works out for you!

Tony May… Oh what a year this has been for you and for me. So sorry to hear this but not surprised in the current climate. If you can please pass on my condolences to all who have lost their jobs today. I may have left a long while ago but part of me shall always belong to Masons Music and the legacy that its existence played in what we all used to recognise as the music industry. Best wishes to you Alan – I will be in touch soon.

Jo Turner… Sorry to hear that

Virginia Davis… Good luck in your next venture

Diane Barton… Have the best memories 🙂 Fun times xxx

Ian Mantel… Every week on pay day in early 80’s I bought records.

Simon Payne… Masons Music played an important part in many of our Hastings lives. Sad to hear of it closing it’s doors today. Sad news Alan, I wasn’t with you long but still remember it fondly. Good luck for the future.

Andy Qunta… End of an era!

Johnny Raff… Spent so much time at the Queen’s Rd shop. An end of an era

Paul Angelwitch… thanks for the great selection of my vinyl in my collection

Tony Ham… A lot of my collection has got the Mason’s Music stickers on it.

Zoe Honey… Wow 💙 xxxxxxx

Phil Gill… Good luck in wherever your life’s journey takes you next Alan.

Kevin Burchett… sorry to hear that Alan heres wishing you the best of luck in your new venture. from everyone in the Scalliwags group.

Nastassja Kaschevsky… Sorry to hear this Alan, all the best for the future x

Graham Belchamber… All the best mate.

Julie Findlay-jones… It’s the end of an era I loved working for you in the 70s brilliant boss lovely guy, good luck in your next venture xxx

Peter Howard… Sorry to hear that Alan. You were my favourite customer and I miss the weekly calls. Hope you’re well.

Peter Thomson… Hope you find something positive to move on with Alan.

Pete Prescott… Indeed its very sad news. I hope you remember that whatever you do in future you have a huge amount of support from so many friends. Please put me in that list. Hope your well.

Martin Stringer… Very sad. You did good.

Will Cornell… You were the greatest Alan! Let’s see, I think I met you in that location with the tile roof, Sept 1990. Is that the one? A quick train ride from Victoria station down to Hastings, a 30 min meeting and a cab driver that kept his promise to be back there to get me to the last train to London….it was 25 years of a great business relationship and a friendship to boot!

Shaun Cox… I worked in Stylus. Got any pics?

Pauline Sims… Sad to read this Alan but good luck in your next venture!

Mick O’Dowd… A well earned rest now Alan. You served the community well. Well done mate!

Joe Knight… Where was the tile roofed photo?

Kev Towner…  Grove Road mate.

Matt Thomas… Nightmare to park

Tom Pitts… Nightmare when we had heavy snow up there and had to walk home

John Wilde… All things must pass. You served us so well Buddy. Thank you for all your authentic enthusiasm and encouragement. You were rockin before the word! Best wishes.

Leigh-Wieland Boys… Good luck with your next venture – I am sure we’ll see/hear more from you! xx

Dave Nattress… REALLY sorry to hear this news. Very best wishes in whatever you do next.

Chris Sambrook… Sorry to read that Mason’s Music has now closed.

Alan Esdaile… Thanks to EVERYONE for your wonderful comments and a BIG thank you to the GREAT members of staff, who I couldn’t have done it without you.

Eva Neuke… An important part of my life has now disappeared….

Eric Cawthraw… I wish you every success for the future, We ought to have a whip round, but I doubt we could get you enough to retire. I hope you come up on the lottery and can buy out the BBC’s music archive and rock on in to oblivion like the rest of us old farts.

Matt Thomas… I would like to add that i started working in Queens Rd shop in 1985 as a school leaver and had a fantastic couple of years meeting such a diverse bunch of people from Punks to Reggae Fans until the shop closed in 1987 and i left.I came back in 1989 in the Grove Road warehouse and i carried on working for Alan up until 2015.These years working at Masons have been upon the best days of my life and it will always hold a very special place in my heart 

Iain Cobby… Oh, Alan. so sorry to hear your news, like leaves we touch, we once new the story, and as Autumn calls, we remember all thoughts of many years ago…………….. on wards my friend, towards the sun.

Ernest Ballard… That’s a shame. Great shop. Will be missed I’m sure.

Clifford Rose… I did buy a couple of albums from the Queens Rd shop. On one occasion I remember a discussion was taking place about people entering the record shop across the road, but never seen leaving Lol

Peter Fairless… Oh, to be elevated to the status where Jack would say, “Sonia’s just about to put the kettle on…” You’re right, Clifford, it was a bit of a Tardis, that ‘other’ shop!

Masons Music – 187 Queens Road Shop. Early 80’s.


Recognise a few Toyah Singles.

Andy Qunta… What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing!

Martin Richter… it`s a mystery….?

Matt Thomas… coco lol. Oldies Unlimited. Good times,even though i didnt start until the move up to 190

Darren Holmes… memories – used to get so many old and rare records from there especially when Andy got the catalogue out!

Mark Gilham… A proper shop

Mick O’Dowd… Same haircut as today. Change your stylist Alan.

Yvonne Cleland… There was a time… when everyone had those plastic coloured strips in the doorway hahahahaha

Julie Findlay-jones… Great times there x

Andy Qunta… Yes, Yvonne, I had those plastic strip things in my bedroom doorway!

Tony May… A great picture to see. Many memories…

Iain Cobby…  I remember a sixteen year old bassist being regularly taken to your shop by one Stevie D, to hear bands for the first time such as ELP eponymous album, Santana, Genesis and any other bands that he was into. Such great memories of you the shop and of course, the man himself.


Masons Music – early 80’s 187 Queens Road, with Bill Prince.


Alan Pepper…..I’ll have one from the top and five from anywhere else please Bill !!

Will Cornell…..Marley “Legend” up top…video…or did ya’ll have CD Longboxes over there? The first few years of CDs had those for security purposes (hard to stuff into your pocket). Yes, ’84 or later. Curious: what’s “staff only”? The pile of stuff employees promised to buy when the next paycheck came in? My own store’s “wish bin” looked similarly loaded.

Matt Thomas……that is actually the sign above the door to the back room – well camouflaged lo. Smiths ‘How Soon Is Now’ in the charts, 1985 – just had a closer look and King ‘Love & Pride’ is in the chart and Stephen TinTin Duffy ‘Kiss Me’



Hastings Records Shops by Tony May for Hastings Town Magazine

As regular readers will know, I have a very soft spot for all things musical and have written a number of articles for H.T. about local record shops and characters associated with them.

Well, I’m delighted to inform you this month that a new website called ‘The British Record Shop Archive’ has been set up by another such enthusiast, Leon Parker.

The aim of the website is not just to record for posterity the name of every record shop to ever open its doors in the U.K. but to also make sure that the social interaction, culture and day-to-day way of life that was buying a physical music product from a real person over a counter is documented and remembered.

Having been in more record shops than Sir Richard Branson over the years I have been having a whale of a time contributing photos, memories and memorabilia to the site and you will be glad to know, have personally made sure that Jack & Sonia London’s ‘The Record Shop’ webpage has been royally decked out and the part they played here in Hastings for 44 years properly recorded.



In fact, Hastings Town has played quite a large part in helping me to see that Hastings record outlets are not forgotten. As well as my article on Jack London, I have contributed my article ‘Remembering Alan Jensen’ about the man we knew and loved as ‘Big Al’ of The Disc Jockey and submitted the photos our sadly missed friend, Ron Fellows, sent me of Stylus Records.

Being a true ‘anorak’ I also sent in photos of a few old local record shop bags I found stored away in the loft as well.

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Its sobering to think now that at the height of the popularity of vinyl records in the 1980’s there used to be thousands of independent record shops in the U.K. In 2009 that figure had dropped to just 269 (according to The Independent newspaper).

Somewhat surprisingly, the current total is actually a bit higher than that but this is tempered by the fact that of the larger chain stores only HMV is still with us and even most of their shops have now turned into larger versions of a supermarkets entertainment section. Gone from our high street are once familiar names like Virgin, Our Price and latterly , MVC and Borders.

While it is fair to say that I will not cry too many tears for the multiples, their passing is a relevant reminder of just how much of an impact The Internet and the buying power and pricing policy of the supermarkets have had in recent years.

So, thinking back to the early to mid 80’s for a moment, how many of the following Hastings & St Leonards record selling outlets do you remember?

The Disc Jockey – Queens Rd

The Record Shop – Queens Rd

Masons Music – Queens Rd

Woolworths – In Hastings and along Kings Road… I still can’t believe they went bust…

Greens – A department in ‘Debenhams’

Boots – Robertson Street (Oh yes they did! Upstairs)

W.H.Smiths – Who were then where ‘Yates’ is today and who had a second branch along Kings Road…

Abnormality Records – I think this was in High Street along the Old Town?

The Rock N’ Roll Shop  – Not sure if this was its name but it was alive and rockin’ in George Street for years…

Stylus Records – My old shop in Castle Street.

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Aside from all these I also remember Alan Whitfield’s second hand place at the top end of Queens Road (just past where ‘Morrisons’ is today on the corner), a short-lived record shop in London Road opposite The Old England pub and another hi-fi style shop that sold records in Kings Road itself.

Phew! Makes me dizzy just thinking of how many miles I must have walked visiting all of those places while collecting my 5,000 or so records!

The beginning of the end for most of these places came when the ‘Our Price’ chain took over the old Disc Jockey premises in Queens Road so you can see why I shed no tears over losing most of the multiples. Sadly, the same rule of thumb applies today, if you want to ruin something throw big money at it because as sure as eggs are eggs as soon as you do the biggest fish devour all of the little fish and leave you with a pool that’s unsafe to swim in!

I know I wax lyrical about how great life in a record shop was but as those of you who have worked at some time in a shop will know, the general public can be a strange lot to deal with  (“Do you sell shaving cream? – “No. This is a Record Shop mate”. “Oh, what about Batteries?”) and quiet times can literally drive you nuts!

Thinking back to my days in Stylus Records, January and February were rather like volunteering for solitary confinement!

Mind you, this did have its merits because all there was to do was to stand at the browsers and look through the album sleeves and this came in very handy one afternoon…

I will always remember the day because a tired looking man of about 62 came into the shop. Looking at me in my rather brightly coloured clothes (I was a boy back then! HA HA) he kind of sighed as if resigned to his fate…

“I’m looking for a record entitled ‘The Ballad Of The Green Berets’ but I don’t know who its by”, he said, as if expecting a blank look in response.“ Oh, you need this by Sergeant Barry Sadler” I said, walking to the exact place the record sleeve could be found in the browsers. Well, you have never seen a man look so surprised in your life!

The man’s mood lightened up in an instant and he told me that he had searched high and low for information and been to numerous other record shops without success (there was no Internet to look things up on in those days) before coming to Stylus.

“ When I saw a young person like yourself was working here I almost didn’t bother to come in and ask”, he admitted before telling me the record was for his dying father who used to be a green beret and had asked to hear the song one more time before he died.

The memory of being able to help provide that man with one final piece of happiness for his dying father has stayed with me all these years. Neither before nor after that day has my obsessive knowledge of music served a better purpose and I doubt I will ever see anyone look more surprised than he did when I just ‘came out’ with the information he required as if I was asked for the record every day of my life…

So, please don’t tell me that High Street shopping is rightfully a thing of the past because I know differently.

You can visit The British Record Shop Archive at the following web address:

Mick O’dowd….I can confirm that the one in High Street was called Abnormality and was run by a guy called Keith. He specialised in second-hand records and mainly of an “alternative” genre. I was a regular customer because I worked down the road from there for a while. I actually got “The Walls Ice Cream” Apple ep from him pretty cheap and a bootleg Elvis Costello, “Live At The El Macambo”.He always had good quality bootlegs
available under the counter. Just up the road near FILO was another shop which closed in the late sixties I believe and was run my Al Smith and i’m sure Andre would remember him. Although essentially a second-hand shop he had quite an extensive selection of albums and singles for sale. Also, I realise that the article was themed around the ’80’s, The Disc Jockey and Al Jensen had 3 Disc Jockey shops going at one time. There was the one in Queens Road that was virtually opposite your shop a couple of doors up from the Records Shop. The Disc Jockey +1 in High Street and one, I believe in either Kings Road or London Road.

Andre Palfrey-martin…. can confirm that there was a Disc Jockey Shop in Kings Road, by the steps to London Road, its now one of the St Michaels Hospice Shops, ran from about 1963 till I think about 1968.

Johnny Mason….I remember the shop near the filo, the guy would not let you look properly at the records and kept watching you and saying are you going to buy anything. Didn’t Attwells sell records in the piano shop on the seafront near London Road St Leonards?

Martyn Baker….Yep I remember the shop near the filo. I used to go in there aged about 14, in the hope of finding a cheap copy of Led Zepp II, or whatever, and got hugely distracted by the racks of secondhand porn. And yes. I used to get asked if I was going to buy anything too!

Andre Palfrey-martin….Quite correct Alan – see this advert from 1964 Observer



John….For anyone still interested in buying vinyl, there’s a new record fair starting up in Hastings. The first event is on the 29th of June 2014 at the Ore Community Centre, Old London Road.

Matt Garrett – Masons Music 187 Queens Road – 1984


Julie Findlay-jones….Happy memories, cant see the badge machine tho x

Matt Thomas….Definitely 84 Ghostbusters is in the chart and Bob Marley Legend video on top shelf lol

Tony Ham….If I had all the money I spent in there, still got all the records though!

Karen Sweatman….My friend really really fancied him!

Jim Breeds….I can almost smell the place! All record shops had the certain smell of paper, card and vinyl. Plus cigarette in this case

Alan Esdaile….I know what you mean by the smell of a record shop. I can remember the first Virgin record shop in Brighton, opposite the clock tower, you were certain to get high on the atmosphere.

Jim Breeds….OMG yes, that Virgin shop in Brighton was a revelation! After I first discovered it I used to get the train over there just to go to that store. Soft deep carpets and scatter cushions where you could squat all day if you wanted, just talking to people, listening to the music and taking in the “atmosphere”! That comment brought back memories!! Far Out Man. There was a pretty decent record shop in The Lanes too I recall, though somewhat more conventional than the Virgin store.

Mick Knights….Remember queing outside the Virgin store in the freezing cold to buy Led Zepplin tickets and not objecting to the blatant queque jumpers, only to be the first to be refused entry, as they had sold out. Not bitter or anything!!!!