Highams Harmony House - Shudehill
Owned by Godleys, later became White and Kaye.
Personally I could never work out the reason for the location of this shop. I worked at CWS around the corner and passed it almost every day (on the way to the chippie, that did 3/3d specials of pie and chips, tea and bread and butter) and it always seemed to be in the wrong place. Did anyone ever buy there? I presume it must have been a popular place in the early sixties but it was way off the Oxford Road muso route.
Mal Thompson bought there - here's a copy of his HP agreement!
Higham's was interesting, there was a guy worked there called Terry, who I still see around South Manchester. It's location was in the area where all the electronics suppliers, Globe Radio, and Newcross Supplies are the only two I can recall, and hi-fi shops, Godley's (owned by Kevin Godley's family) was also on Withy Grove. Higham's auctioned off their remaining gear and closed in the early 70s.
In the same area there was a very tiny music shop, that I can't remember the name of, on a little street called Sugar Lane, now swallowed up by the Arndale!
I have fond memories of Highams Music on Shudehill. My first ever job was repairing hairdryers at Pifco who had a warehouse/office opposite.
During the dinner hour we used to sit on the steps and the current guitarist of Johnny Martin and the Paiges (whose name escapes me) used to bring in his Colorama guitar and show off to us lesser mortals. He was very good at Buddy Holly style rhythm and lead and inspired me to stick at it.
I remember going over to Highams window to ogle at a Harmony bass (Ronnie Lane/Spencer Davis style) which I think was 45 guineas and way out of reach for a kid earning a measly £2.50 a week
A friend of mine worked there and talked me into buying a Fender Precision bass (I was playing a Fender six string bass at the time), but I didn't like it, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the Jazz bass I used to play so I took it back and asked for my money back, and believe it or not they gave it me back !
I remember Highams from about 1963, I bought a Hofner Verithin bass guitar, (my first bass), a lovely cherry red colour. It was £49 and my dad signed as guarantor and put down the deposit,(£5-12-6.)and I had to pay 12/6 a week for ever! I only earned £2-12-3 a week as an apprenticed electrician, and my mum had the 2 quid for my board. Happy days!
Could the guy, Geoff Parkinson & possibly Butch Mepham, refer to, be Terry Morton? I'm sure he worked there around this period, He was also a member of The Paiges & later The Country Gentlemen & The Scorpions ?
Phil Roberts - 7/1/11
My first guitar came from Highams (for 38 guineas). An anonymous (probably Japanese) twin pickup solid in red and white with tremelo. No maker's name on it except for a fancy letter 'Z'at the top of the neck. It's still in the back of the wardrobe! Also ventured into Reno's some years later and ended up with a 'Ranger' 12-string acoustic. still got this also. I'm a hoarder!
I remember Highams, although the only thing I recall buying there was a shaped hard guitar case at the auction when the shop closed. I had recently acquired a yellow sunburst Gibson 330 with the financial assistance of my uncle and to the annoyance of my wife and only had a plastic cover for it. I wonder what that guitar would be worth now had I kept it!
Bob Ainsworth - 25/10/10