Music Centre

The place to hear the latest hits


Farmer's music shop was the place where generations of pop-lovers could listen to new records before deciding which to buy. Its building, remarkably unchanged today, was left as the corner shop after the entrance to Church Street was widened in 1963. In more recent years it has been the home of Bradshawe's estate agents and then Swinton's.

Farmer and Co had moved to Church Street by at least 1933 from their previous music shop which had been in West Street since at least 1903. The business was founded by Albert Farmer and local musical prodigy, Fred Gostelow, who had been appointed organist at Dunstable Congregational Church when he was only 13. He was organist and choirmaster at St Mary's Church, Luton, from 1888 until his death in 1942.

Next door to Farmer's in Church Street was the Gibbs and Dandy hardware store, which had deceptively large L-shaped premises. Customers could walk through various showrooms and emerge in High Street South, in the shop which was later occupied by Herington's, the chemist. Before the arrival of Gibbs and Dandy, the premises had been the drapery and furnishing business of Lockhart and Son, founded in 1840 and probably the largest shop in Dunstable at the time.

The original Herington's shop, founded by Frank Herington in 1887, was further down High Street South, at number 29 next to what became the Vantage Indian restaurant.

Farmer's music shop and Gibbs and Dandy are seen in the background of this photo of Church Street being resurfaced in 1952.
'Farmer's music shop' and 'Gibbs and Dandy' are seen in the background of this photo of Church Street being resurfaced in 1952.
Side profile photo of Fred Gostelow
A photo portrait of Fred Gostelow.

Text: John Buckledee of Dunstable and District Local History Society. ©
Design: David Turner.
Narration: Chris Young of Dunstable Repertory Company.
Recording: David Hornsey.
Website developer: Joshua Buckledee.