195 - John James (Bristol) Ltd.
Television and radio supplies

A prominent Victorian shop building on the corner of Church Road and Victoria Parade. For many years it had been a grocers shop trading under the name of J.H. Mills Limited. In the late 1950s, Hedley Ward Ltd took over this shop trading in electrical goods including televisions, but it will be best remembered as a 'John James shop'. It was a branch of a chain of shops he owned, the official name being Broadmead Wireless. The shop was very modern looking with large glass windows that let in a lot of light. They sold televisions, record players, radiograms and radios. John James also sold batteries for transistor radios, vinyl records and record player needles. When televisions first came on the market they were very expensive compared to the average persons wage. John James provided a rental service making them accessible to families who otherwise would not have been able to afford one. This became a big part of the business. He also offered part exchange and hire purchase arrangements as an alternative to paying cash. In addition he provided a television repair service.

Picture Dave Cheesley remembers: "We rented our first television from Broadmead Wireless. This would have been about 1956 when we lived at Cadbury Heath. I remember the Church Road shop in the 1960s, as it was where my Mum and I went to buy records that were in the pop charts. The latest chart would be displayed on the glass counter and on the wall behind. In those days record shops had record booths and you could ask to listen to the record before you purchased it. There were other Broadmead Wireless shops including branches at Union Street, Redcliffe Hill and Stapleton Road. I particularly recall the Stapleton Road Branch, we would pay our rental there on the way to my Gran's house."

John James had vacated No.195 by the early '70s. It may then have been used as a wine shop before becoming a second hand shop. In the mid 1980s Cyril Dark leased the premises, expanding his carpet and furniture business.

This arrangement only lasted a short while before it was taken over by Ladbrokes, which it still is at the time of writing.

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