Stock and Chapman - the musician's rendezvous - 93 Oxford Road
One of the older establishments, mainly school/brass instruments - with tuition rooms downstairs. I tried to learn sax with Ken Rodway (of Rodway/Leyland Duo) but I was a dreadful student and rarely turned up. He was a real gent and treated me so politely.
Stock & Chapmans, was run by a dear old lady affectionately known as Ma Chapman. She pulled me, and many others, out of the crap after having equipment stolen.
It was run by an old couple, the woman was nearly deaf and gave a Drum Kit to a mate of mine.
You can imagine the conversation:
"I've come to pick me drums up"
"Yes dear there they are"
" I haven't paid for them."
"Yes dear those are the ones"
"Sorry you haven't heard me, I haven't paid for them"
"Yes dear they're over there, just take them."
"Don't you want me to pay for them?"
"That's right they're paid for, you can take them."
Oh *?£%& it I'll take them then.
The shop was run by Martha ( Ma ) Chapman. She wasn't deaf - it was her husband who had a huge deaf-aid clipped to his coat which was always whistling and squeaking! Ma Chapman was a love.
She would often give me a pair of drumsticks and once lent me a new Premier 2000 snare drum for a week to see if I liked it.
Everything was on H.P. then and I was way behind with my payments on my kit but she never gave me a hard time. She pulled many musicians out of the crap.
I must not forget Bryant who also worked there and kept an eye on us musos.
Miss Chapman - Martha - was 196 years old and was a one off. Bert, the gent with the radiogram clipped to his lapel, was her husband and never seemed to be quite aware of what his lady wife was up to. Stock's was not really a shop for group gear. They were originally Boosey and Hawkes dealers and dealt mainly with 'proper' musicians. When I first started going in there, they had a very helpful Scottish guy behind the counter called Maurice. He played trumpet in the pit orchestra at the Opera House but unlike many of the old pro musicians, he was really friendly and helpful.
They did however begin to stock guitars, initially 'Hoyer', which I think were French and which came in weird and wonderful shapes. I bought my second guitar from them, a German 'Hopf' which was built like a brick s*** house. I later swapped it for a Harmony 'Meteor' which in turn was exchanged for a Guild 'Capri'. I've still got that 'Capri'; it carries the scars from a thousand gigs but I still play it from time to time and it just gets better.
A few weeks after I bought the Capri, the strap came off the button and it dropped to the floor and landed on the jack plug driving it and the socket into the body. I took it back to Ma Chapman and she sent it back to Guild Guitars in Hoboken, New Jersey. When it finally came back, they had set a new matching piece of wood into the side of the guitar. A real craftsman job. She never charged me anything for the repair and that just about sums Miss Chapman up. I bought everything off her on HP and if you missed a week or a fortnight or a month, it didn't seem to matter.
If you ever went in and tried out a new instrument she'd always tell you, "All the boys are playing these". I don't know who 'the boys' were, but they seemed to change their instruments regularly.
Bryant Trafford took over the running of the shop when Ma Chapman and Bert retired. Bryant played alto sax and in reality was an old school musician, brought up in dance bands. He was a nice guy but by no means a soft touch like Miss Chapman. He helped to run the Alan Hare Big Band which rehearsed on Sundays in the basement of the shop. They sometimes played at the MSG and backed visiting Americans from time to time. Bryant and I played together in the 'Norman Clare Big Beat Band' at the Majestic Ball Room Patricroft (Eccles's answer to the Las Vegas Sands).
Stock and Chapman was demolished when the Mancunian way was built leaving a lot of sad musos and no doubt a lot of unpaid HP. When I last saw Bryant he was running a music department with his wife Marjorie (a lovely lady) at Mays on Oldham Road. Mays were a household furnishers and pawn brokers.
As you get older, it's sometimes difficult to remember faces, but when I think of Martha and Bert and Bryant, I can clearly visualise them, that's how important they were to my musical development.
Pete Crooks - 30/5/09
I have such fond memories of Miss Chapman.
In 1962 I went into the shop aged twelve with my mum. I was desperate to play drums and with Miss Chapman's advice we chose a second hand Premier kit. We asked about lessons and Miss Chapman said the best teacher was Ronnie Pearson and gave us his number.
For the next year or so he regularly came to our house. He was a brilliant drummer. He was a proper jazz drummer, but could play anything. He said Joe Morrello was the best in the world (if you listen to him with Brubeck he was right) and once, I think in 1964 we saw Buddy Rich give a drum clinic at the Library Theatre.
At the end of each lesson Ronnie would play a five minute solo. Different every time.
Total magic, I remember it like yesterday, it was such a privilege to have known him.
I believe in the 70's he played for a while with Sting. I was sad to hear that he died a few years ago aged 65. His son runs a music shop in Newcastle. Does anyone else remember Ronnie?
I recently found this photo of him circa 1963.
Dan Robin - 14/11/13