Computer Shops From Back In The Day

on-topic Acorn-related news and discussions not covered by the other forums
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martinw
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby martinw » Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:46 pm

I was looking at a BBC games disk I recently bought on EBay and the price sticker was from "The Games Room" in Epsom, anybody remember it ?

Martin

VincentVega
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby VincentVega » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:50 pm

My 8-bit shop of choice (forced upon me by parents) was W.H. Smith. Most of my Electron tape games were bought from there. I seem to remember wanting "Vindaloo" but my mum said it was "inappropriate" due to its toilet theme. The hardware was either mail-order or borrowed from a school due to my dad's job. When he went on secondment for a year, we had a Beeb full time downstairs (sadly broken by me in 1993 - a pin on the disc connector came off), complete with Viglen dual 40/80 floppy drive (which I still have, though it seems to have given up the ghost) and a Microvitec Cub monitor, which for some reason had a half-white and half-black casing, unlike all the other ones I've seen before or since, which were beige.

My 16-bit shop of choice was S.T. Developments on Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury - they were an Atari dealer.

Once we went on a day trip to York and came across a shop on a back street that sold Ataris, Amigas and (drum roll) Archimedes (A305/A310 era). I had never seen an Archimedes before, and it was spell-binding. Unfortunately I had to wait another four years to something with RISC OS. Up until that point, that was the best shop I'd ever been in.

Dixons was never my shop of choice, but back in the day it was fun to go in and mess up their Windows 3.1 configuration with people from school, especially when we found out what the password was.

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Commie_User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:03 pm

Well I can't give you any shops in my town - 'til I find someone's elusive black and white photos again - but here's some nice period colour ones of someone else's: http://www.voicesofeastanglia.com/2012/ ... s-hmv.html


Image

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Commie_User » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:03 pm

Never mind, here it is: http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/computer ... nteresting

Union Street, Reading. Aka 'Smelly Alley', as it used to be where all the fishmongers and others were.




Image

That's a spectacle shop now. And here we are again, for the true retrolovers: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... D25317.jpg

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jgharston
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby jgharston » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:21 pm

The first "computer shop" I ever went into was Lasky's, then about a year later discovered Just Micro.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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martinw
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby martinw » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:44 pm

jgharston wrote:The first "computer shop" I ever went into was Lasky's, then about a year later discovered Just Micro.


Where was that JGH? Sheffield?

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby JonC » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:25 pm

martinw wrote:I was just doing a bit of reminiscing with Rich. at Classic Acorn via e-mail and it occured to me there must be quite a few of us that crossed paths but never met each other in the old computer shops where we got our weekly 8 bit "fix".

My 8 bit journey started off in Leeds where my father and I (I was 14) went to buy my BBC B at the tender age of 14 (that's me BTW :))

I vaguely remember the strange shaped building and I therefore think it was Micro Power, Christmas 1981.

Micro Power Leeds Shop.jpg

I lived in Heckmondwike so it was a bit of a treck to Leeds every week, so my regular haunt was thoughts and crosses (where one of my mates at the time worked ;)) in Heckmondwike (a bit less of an architectural statement).

Thoughts & Crosses.jpg

Then every now and again I would venture to Bradford to Manningham Lane (I think, and no not for that reason, I didn't know about that kind of thing then!) to Eltec computers where I heard the "Golden Brown" tune for the first time in the shop and was blown away :shock:

This shop looks even worse than thoughts and crosses these days so no picture :)

It's all a bit blurry, I'm 47 now, but I think those locations were where I headed to get my game tapes and what have you.

Did anybody else venture to these places and what other places were on your bus journeys back in the day?

Martin

BTW isn't Google Maps an amazing thing 8)


I remember this! Especially thoughts and crosses where I bought all 4 of my Electron games (all I could afford sadly)
Jon
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martinw
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby martinw » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:44 pm

JonC wrote:
martinw wrote:I was just doing a bit of reminiscing with Rich. at Classic Acorn via e-mail and it occured to me there must be quite a few of us that crossed paths but never met each other in the old computer shops where we got our weekly 8 bit "fix".

My 8 bit journey started off in Leeds where my father and I (I was 14) went to buy my BBC B at the tender age of 14 (that's me BTW :))

I vaguely remember the strange shaped building and I therefore think it was Micro Power, Christmas 1981.

Micro Power Leeds Shop.jpg

I lived in Heckmondwike so it was a bit of a treck to Leeds every week, so my regular haunt was thoughts and crosses (where one of my mates at the time worked ;)) in Heckmondwike (a bit less of an architectural statement).

Thoughts & Crosses.jpg

Then every now and again I would venture to Bradford to Manningham Lane (I think, and no not for that reason, I didn't know about that kind of thing then!) to Eltec computers where I heard the "Golden Brown" tune for the first time in the shop and was blown away :shock:

This shop looks even worse than thoughts and crosses these days so no picture :)

It's all a bit blurry, I'm 47 now, but I think those locations were where I headed to get my game tapes and what have you.

Did anybody else venture to these places and what other places were on your bus journeys back in the day?

Martin

BTW isn't Google Maps an amazing thing 8)


I remember this! Especially thoughts and crosses where I bought all 4 of my Electron games (all I could afford sadly)


Small world JonC; I've recently got back in touch with one of my old pals who used to work at Thoughts and Crosses and hey 4 games is better than none. When I bought my BBC Micro Model B in Leeds I went there with the intention of buying a ZX81. Thanks to the sales person and my father ((a BIG thanks to him) who had no idea what we were buying BTW) that never happened!!!

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby JonC » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:55 pm

martinw wrote:
JonC wrote:
martinw wrote:I was just doing a bit of reminiscing with Rich. at Classic Acorn via e-mail and it occured to me there must be quite a few of us that crossed paths but never met each other in the old computer shops where we got our weekly 8 bit "fix".

My 8 bit journey started off in Leeds where my father and I (I was 14) went to buy my BBC B at the tender age of 14 (that's me BTW :))

I vaguely remember the strange shaped building and I therefore think it was Micro Power, Christmas 1981.

Micro Power Leeds Shop.jpg

I lived in Heckmondwike so it was a bit of a treck to Leeds every week, so my regular haunt was thoughts and crosses (where one of my mates at the time worked ;)) in Heckmondwike (a bit less of an architectural statement).

Thoughts & Crosses.jpg

Then every now and again I would venture to Bradford to Manningham Lane (I think, and no not for that reason, I didn't know about that kind of thing then!) to Eltec computers where I heard the "Golden Brown" tune for the first time in the shop and was blown away :shock:

This shop looks even worse than thoughts and crosses these days so no picture :)

It's all a bit blurry, I'm 47 now, but I think those locations were where I headed to get my game tapes and what have you.

Did anybody else venture to these places and what other places were on your bus journeys back in the day?

Martin

BTW isn't Google Maps an amazing thing 8)


I remember this! Especially thoughts and crosses where I bought all 4 of my Electron games (all I could afford sadly)


Small world JonC; I've recently got back in touch with one of my old pals who used to work at Thoughts and Crosses and hey 4 games is better than none. When I bought my BBC Micro Model B in Leeds I went there with the intention of buying a ZX81. Thanks to the sales person and my father ((a BIG thanks to him) who had no idea what we were buying BTW) that never happened!!!


A ZX81 with 1k rampack was my first computer, followed he next year by my Electron. Both bought from Empire Stores (Catalogue company in Bradford) where my Dad worked - he got them cheap - staff discount I think.! :lol:
Jon
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby jgharston » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:34 pm

martinw wrote:
jgharston wrote:The first "computer shop" I ever went into was Lasky's, then about a year later discovered Just Micro.
Where was that JGH? Sheffield?

Leopold Street in Sheffield. Where The Bessemer is now.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby roland » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:09 pm

I found a short movie of the shop where I bought my first Atom: https://youtu.be/A-iwpWwbeaQ
It's a pity there are no computers in the movie. I remember when I bought my floating point rom there: he simply copied it from another eprom and sold it for too much money :lol: That was before I joined the Atom User Group in 1984.
256K + 6502 Inside
MAN WOMAN :shock:

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Commie_User » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:16 pm

Fantastic.

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby lazarusr » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:25 pm

RobC wrote:One thing that's always intrigued me about WE is their poor reputation in some quarters - I've seen them called "WhatFraud" etc. in various places/posts.

I bought a few things from them in the 80s and 90s and never had any problems.


The Enemy :twisted:

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lazarusr
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby lazarusr » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:44 pm

Technomatic

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.41.04 pm.jpg

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby AndyMc1280 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:47 pm

Vaguely Remember my Beeb coming from Leamington spa (!) in 1987.
When we moved to Scotland My Acorn place was "The Computer Depot" - In an old building at 205 Buchanan street Glasgow. I think they were a chain as there was a place in Edinburgh as well. They did all the 8/16/32 bit stuff, spectrum/Amstrad/Acorn/Atari/Commodore and some PC's I think. I remember the Acorn stuff being on the upper level (I believe there were 2-3 floors).

Ayr had a COMCAL - which wasn't as well stocked but nearer to where we ended up living.

No pics I am afraid. :(

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Seldon2k » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:14 pm

Hi,

The only shop I recall from the late 1970's and early 1980's was Byteshop aka Computerland.
This was located just up from the Radiocentre (opposite Mathews Electronics) at 94/96 Hurst Street, Birmingham. B5 4TD. Tel: 021 622 7149.
(I found the address in a 1981 magazine).
They demolished and rebuilt Hurst Street, but it used to be between the Sushi place and Ladbrooks, in the nearest image I can find:
Computerland Hurst St.jpg


I could never afford any hardware from this shop but did buy most of my literature from there.
That is all of my 6502 books by Rodnay Zaks and all of my copies of my 'Micro - The 6502 Journal'.
https://archive.org/details/6502-micro-journal

The hardware I recall seeing in the Window included a Cromemco System One, a NorthStar Horrizon, an Ohio Challenger 1P,
and an Ohio Superboard II SBC. I can't remember if I bought my UK101 kit from Compshop, London, before or after seeing this.

I do remember being disappointed in the build quality of the first commercial dot matrix printer I saw in this shop.
It was an Anadex DP8000 http://www.computerhistory.org/collecti ... og/X628.85
I was used to the quality of the DEC LA-36 line terminal at the time: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/la36.html
You can see one in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ1jkINFVho

They even had a Scopex 4D25 Oscilloscope in the Window just after I bought my Scopex 4D10B via mail order in 1979.
irritatingly it was only about £25 more than my scope for over twice the bandwidth.

Terry, (Seldon2k).

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Seldon2k » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:29 pm

Hi,

I have just realised that I made a reference to 'Comp Shop', Station Road, New Barnett in the above post.
I never visited the place but ordered my UK101 in kit form from there in the Summer of 1979.

Here are a few links I have just discovered on 'Comp Shop'.
I wonder if anyone recalls the Comp Shop catalogue, it had a picture of a rather dodgy looking Chris Cary in it.
This picture alone gave me pause as to whether to patronise them!
He was holding a telephone and smoking a cigarette, and looked extremely untrustworthy:
'would you buy a used car from this man'.
The following links gave me some closure on this traumatising experience.

https://cartesianproduct.wordpress.com/ ... comp-shop/

https://cartesianproduct.wordpress.com/ ... evolution/
At last I understand! He was one just of those DJ types!
No less a personage than 'Spangles Muldoon' on Radio Caroline!

I may scan the catalogue if anyone is interested, it contained all of the 8 bit machines of that era.

Terry (Seldon2k)
Last edited by Seldon2k on Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

iainjh
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby iainjh » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:31 pm

oooh yes please if there s a compshop catalogue scan possible!

i have one of their ads as a jpg (i can upload if useful), I lived a few miles away and used to ride t'bike down to east barnet, the parade near the rail station, to peer at the UK101 in the window. would love to see a decent catalogue from bitd

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby jonb » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:22 am

Rich Talbot-Watkins wrote:I used to work in that pub!

Never knew anything about the infamous fight back then though. Never saw Sir Clive come in for a cheeky half either - maybe he was banned for life! :lol:


If you believe "Micro Men", he drank G&T in the pub.

"You know me, Chris - no grudges.."

Classic stuff!

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jonb
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby jonb » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:53 am

Back on topic.

When I was 17 I was doing my A-levels, but at the time (Maggie, high unemployment, etc) I thought for some bizarre reason that I'd be better off dropping out of my A-Levels early and getting a job selling computers in a local shop. Ah, the impetuousness of youth. This would have been in 1983.

I went to work full time in a small computer shop called "Melgray HiTech" in Hereford. It was set up by a couple of chaps who already owned a successful photographic shop in the town, unsurprisingly called "Melgray Photograpic". These guys knew everything about cameras and photography, but sod-all about computers, so they hired me as some sort of "whizz kid". There was only one other place in the town to get an 8-bit fix and that was owned by a really lovely couple that I got to know quite well, because my boss used to send me over to check out the prices of the competition. I was always greeted with a wry smile...

So, anyway; one pre-Christmas week I got the job of setting up the window display and I took my time, building a beautiful wall of computers, boxed and unboxed. It made the place look like some kind of Aladdin's Cave of 8-bit Wonders. What shoppers didn't know was that, having done this, the stock room was basically empty. I left work at about 9 PM.

Next morning, we discovered that someone had tried to smash the glass (with a car, unsuccessfully) and the beautiful display was covered in shards. It all had to come down! :cry:

That Christmas was completely crazy. Everything Spectrum-related sold out. I think we shifted a few Beebs and Orics, but the other machines were ignored. Ironically, these are the most sought after today, especially the Lynx and Jupiter Ace. However, by the New Year we were inundated with angry parents, because the Speccies all had faulty power supplies and didn't work properly (they would power up for a while then crash). It was a bad batch of machines that we'd unwittingly sold. Took a while to get all that straightened out... those poor kids.

Another thing I remember was when Manic Miner came out on the Spectrum. We would get a batch of 10 of them in the morning, and they'd be gone by lunchtime at a tenner a pop.

Of course, it goes without saying that I utterly hated the job, as it paid a very poor salary (even by the standards of the day) of £2700 p.a. It really was pretty stressful having to control the hordes of kids that came from the local Catholic (private, posh) school every lunchtime. Most of them just wanted to do a

10 PRINT "Crispin is the best. So there. Cuz I said so!"
20 GOTO 10

..or some such nonsense, but one or two of them were really smart and wrote some clever stuff. Trying to spot a "customer" amongst all that was a challenge indeed!

When I resigned I wrote a very honest and scathing resignation letter which I still have a copy of. It makes me laugh to read it now..

And to think I could have finished my A-Levels properly, gone to uni and had a proper career. That did happen eventually, but not until I'd wasted three years doing dead end jobs. I have no regrets, though - it worked out in the end.

:)

Now, surprisingly, this shop still exists today as Melgray HiTech, but it only deals with photographic equipment, and it was relocated. The original Melgray Photographic closed.

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby martinw » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:45 pm

martinw wrote:I was just doing a bit of reminiscing with Rich. at Classic Acorn via e-mail and it occured to me there must be quite a few of us that crossed paths but never met each other in the old computer shops where we got our weekly 8 bit "fix".

My 8 bit journey started off in Leeds where my father and I went to buy my BBC B at the tender age of 14 (that's me BTW :))

I vaguely remember the strange shaped building and I therefore think it was Micro Power, Christmas 1981.

Micro Power Leeds Shop.jpg

I lived in Heckmondwike so it was a bit of a treck to Leeds every week, so my regular haunt was thoughts and crosses (where one of my mates at the time worked ;)) in Heckmondwike (a bit less of an architectural statement).

Thoughts & Crosses.jpg

Then every now and again I would venture to Bradford to Manningham Lane (I think, and no not for that reason, I didn't know about that kind of thing then!) to Eltec computers where I heard the "Golden Brown" tune for the first time in the shop and was blown away :shock:

This shop looks even worse than thoughts and crosses these days so no picture :)

It's all a bit blurry, I'm 47 now, but I think those locations were where I headed to get my game tapes and what have you.

Did anybody else venture to these places and what other places were on your bus journeys back in the day?

Martin

BTW isn't Google Maps an amazing thing 8)

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby iddod » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:29 pm

i'm also a Leeds lad...
i never bought anything bbc related back then cos the beeb i had for a while wasn't mine...
but when i got my c64 i used to buy games from wh smith's in the bond street centre, and, further down the bond street centre, near the trinity church, kinda opposite M&S at the bottom of that silly flat escalator thing, was a computer shop whose name i can't recall... bought a lot of games from there... but my fave one was just up from where the duchess put used to be, in one of the shopping arcades, little shop that always seemed to be the first one to get the dizzy games in stock, i may be wrong but i think it was called microbyte...

in 1989 (mebbe 1990), when i found an amiga in a skip, i needed to buy a psu, mouse, modulator etc... that was when i discovered trilogic in low moor, bradford... that was the place that made me fall in love with hardware rather than software... :D

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby z0m8ied0g » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:30 pm

RobC wrote:One thing that's always intrigued me about WE is their poor reputation in some quarters - I've seen them called "WhatFraud" etc. in various places/posts.


Back in the day they were pretty good. The issues came later they went bust with 3.5 million owed and then started up as SavaStores the next day sold their stock to themselves for practically nothing and even used the same premises.
How the hell they managed to get away with it I've no idea but if I was one of the people who was owed money i'd have been furious for good reason.
Acorn... lots of Acorn... http://blog.retroacorn.net

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Seldon2k » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:25 am

A start to the CompShop Catalogue.
I found this advert in the remnants of a 'Computing Today' magazine, it is the one
that caused me to order my UK101 kit in the Summer of 1979.
The catalogue is mentioned down the left side of the page and set me back 60p.

Comp-Shop Advert (CT 1979).jpg

I hope to eventually unearth and scan the full catalogue.
Terry (Seldon2k)

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Lardo Boffin » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:35 am

I recently bought a copy of Castle Quest on disc from eBay and was surprised to find the address on the competition form was the shop I used to buy my games from BITD!

Good old Dudley!

C2388CCA-60E1-4317-9255-30687CF8EDE3.jpeg


The shop is long gone. The Merry Hill shopping centre pretty much destroyed Dudley town centre.
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby BigEd » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:53 am

I thought it was called Merry Hell...

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Lardo Boffin » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:22 pm

BigEd wrote:I thought it was called Merry Hell...


Clearly you have been there! I preferred it as Round Oak Steel works...
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby JohnH » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:47 pm

I too visited the Micro Power shop in Leeds, but working in Bradford Center I more frequently visited the shop on Ivegate I think it was, just up from Market Street, was that where Eltec moved to from Manningham Lane? I visited them on Manningham but it was a bit of a trek on a lunchtime. The one on Ivegate was near to the Thurstons, yum!!

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby Pernod » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:28 pm

JohnH wrote:I more frequently visited the shop on Ivegate I think it was, just up from Market Street, was that where Eltec moved to from Manningham Lane? I visited them on Manningham but it was a bit of a trek on a lunchtime. The one on Ivegate was near to the Thurstons, yum!!

Yep, that was Eltec. Am sure there was a Gregs next door!
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

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Re: Computer Shops From Back In The Day

Postby daveejhitchins » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:35 am

JohnH wrote:I too visited the Micro Power shop in Leeds, but working in Bradford Center I more frequently visited the shop on Ivegate I think it was, just up from Market Street, was that where Eltec moved to from Manningham Lane? I visited them on Manningham but it was a bit of a trek on a lunchtime. The one on Ivegate was near to the Thurstons, yum!!
That was my port of call for all my Electron bits too. Happy days . . .

Dave H :D
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Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com


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