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Sad news - Banks Music Shop in York is closing


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10 hours ago, mrbouffant said:

Having spent many hours and £££ in there as a callow youth, it pains me to see this.

My late wife came from York and, during the summer holidays, we would visit her parents so that I could spend hours and hours up, almost in the attics, in the shop at the corner of Stonegate, hunting for new music for my, very able, choir to sing, buying a single copy and going away to look at it before ordering a batch of 40 copies. I remember Banks Music moving from Stonegate, across the square and around the corner, to the shop in Lendal. The names of the two guys who worked in the sheet music department escapes me but one of them was Nicholas and he was an amazing source of information. Miss Banks was a bit terrifying. In Stonegate you had to pass her office going up to the church music department and it was almost like trying to avoid the Headmaster at school. When she died Ray Lovely said that she had 'gone out of print'!!

I suppose it was, almost inevitable that it would close. Nowadays I could have looked on Choralwiki, found what I was looking for and, if necessary, and it was legal, have edited and printed it on Sibelius.

Banks was an institution. It's sad to see it go.

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Sad news indeed. I first came across Banks as a schoolboy. My school’s stamp club would run an annual trip in January to the York Coin and Stamp fair but the coach was open to non-philatelists for a day in York, and it was on one of these that I discovered the Banks shop in Stonegate/ St Helen’s square, and remember the tiny rooms filled with boxes of scores, from where I began my collection of music. The staff were of course memorable- Nicholas, Malcolm, and a third gentleman whose name I never learned, but they did seem like the living embodiment of Grace Brothers’ menswear department! There was a refurbishment which led to a very pleasant church music room overlooking the square- though this removed some of the character of the former small rooms, I suspect the local fire H&S retail buildings inspector breathed a sigh of relief. I spent many a day here too during my university days, a pleasant trip down the east coast main line, to be concluded by Evensong in the Minster, in the early days (and my later schooldays) still under the tenure of FAJ and his rather quirky back row, and later as Philip Moore established himself, both in the Minster and on the shelves of Banks. I did like how the shop reflected the Minster music list and stocked many a slightly obscure anthem- my own collection kept on growing. 
it wasn’t the same when Banks moved to Lendal. Though the staff was initially the same and the browsing experience and range of scores etc on the first floor was more spacious, the character of Stonegate was lost, to become a Scottish Woollen mill or similar establishment. I was always impressed that, despite my visits becoming less frequent, maybe 2-3 times a year, Malcolm, the youngest and last “surviving” store assistant, always greeted me almost as a long-lost friend and would point me in the direction of some new and interesting choral or organ score. 
My last visit to the store was some 5-6 years ago, and just wasn’t the same. But I shall have very happy memories of how it introduced me in my formative years to a wealth of choral and organ repertoire! 

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