A TREASURE TROVE OF MUSIC HISTORY; Iconic City Store's Records Found in Forgotten Safe

Article excerpt


AN OFFICE conversion revealed a treasure trove of documents relating to the historic Liverpool city centre music store Rushworths.

The artefacts, which include old ledgers and business records from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s, were discovered in a huge safe on the top floor of the Whitechapel building when E Rex Makin & Co solicitors firm relocated.

The safe was hidden behind a wall which was being knocked down in preparation for the law firm moving in.

An expert safe cracker was called to open it and reveal its secrets.

At its 1960s height, Rushworths was known as the "largest music house in Europe," with five sales floors of musical instruments, televisions, record players and household appliances, as well as sheet music and records.

It also has a strong association with Liverpool's rich music tradition, in particular with the Merseybeat scene of the early 1960s and The Beatles.

Paul McCartney's first guitar was said to have been bought from Rushworths, and in 1962 John Lennon and George Harrison were presented with their Gibson J-160E guitars specially imported from Chicago.

The whole archive has now been donated to Liverpool University's research into Rushworths.

Jonathan Rushworth, who is supporting the project, said: "This is a wonderful discovery.

"These documents are incredibly useful and will help to form a picture of how the company was performing, especially at a time in the 1970s and 1980s when Liverpool's economy was in a downturn."

E Rex Makin & Co moved into the former Rushworths premises at the start of the year to make way for the Forever 21 development in Whitechapel.

Managing partner Robin Makin said: "When we moved into the premises, we had a wall removed. …