Vinyl returned to Twickenham last week after a 20 year absence, with the opening of a new record store on picturesque Church Street.
Eel Pie Records is the of brainchild of Twickenham locals, social housing consultant Kevin Jones and Phil Penman, ex-head of music at HMV.
After years of mulling the idea over, the friends finally secured a location on the site of an old bookstore, and will share the space with a butcher and a vinter.
“The main thing we were worried about was that someone would get there before us,” said Kevin, after a series of near-misses getting the idea off the ground.
It certainly appears that demand for a local record store is high.
“The response on social media has been phenomenal – far beyond what we expected,” said Kevin.
Named after nearby Eel Pie Island, a legendary location in music history, the shop stocks a wide range of music from rock to world and sells CDs as well as vinyl.
The island which sits in the Thames was the site of historic gigs in the 1960s including an early formative Rolling Stones residency in 1963.
A museum dedicated to the island is due to open this summer after local historian and curator Michele Whitby put on a pop-up exhibition in Twickenham Library in 2015 and secured funding from the Mayor’s office.
“Hopefully the museum will bring people to the shop and vice-versa,” Phil says.
And the owners hope to contribute to Twickenham’s fine musical heritage by holding local album signings and listening events in the shop soon.
“We want to be part of the community,” says Phil, who puts on gigs in the area promoting artists on his label, Drumfire Records.
The opening signals a wider trend in the UK vinyl market which has exploded over the past few years, and Kevin and Phil are confident the market will continue to grow.
Last year alone, vinyl sales in the UK grew by 53%, and vinyl and turntables are increasingly be bought by younger music lovers.
For now though Kevin and Phil were simply excited about opening in time for Twickenham Festival, which kicked off on Friday with a tug-of-war outside the Eel Pie Pub on Church Street.
“There’s a fantastic atmosphere on Church Street,” Phil said.
After Eel Pie Records opens its doors today, we can assume it will only get even better.