The history of Aberdeen's best-loved music shop

When it first opened, it didn’t take long before it was known as the top music shop in the North-east.

People flocked to pick up records, instruments, gramophones and sheet music.

The George Street store in 1910, which had then been open for a decade

The owners even announced when the first TV signals could be received in the Granite City.

But, after 111 years of business, the final curtain came down for the popular Bruce Millers music store in 2011.

Charles Miller, 74, who worked in the family business for 60 years, said he had mixed feelings about the end of an era.

“We are all extremely sad to see the shop close,” he said. “But we’ve had many fantastic years and are really proud of the business – 111 years is a tremendous achievement.”

Bruce Millers was first opened in George Street in 1900, by Charles’ late grandfather Charles Bruce Miller, and it quickly struck a chord with Aberdeen music fans.

Charles Bruce Miller founded the shop in 1900
“By 1921 my father, also Charles, and my uncle, William, helped my grandfather with the business, They did extremely well and it flourished as a business. They had a contract with the firm HMV so they could get the latest records.”

When Charles’ grandfather died, his dad, uncle and grandmother Isabella, took it on.

The shop was upgraded and underwent a huge expansion in the 1950s.

Bruce Millers on George Street after the second World War

Charles said his father was also responsible for giving the shop front a new look.

"My father redesigned the front of the shop and they put up a sign which read ‘pianos, instruments and televisions, At that time there were no TVs outside of London. But they decided they would put it on the sign as television would be coming eventually. I’ll never forget when my father stuck a 50-metre mast in the back garden. I think he was the first person in the city to get a TV signal."

As the shop continued to grow, the family later moved the store to Loch Street.

"My father had a guy called John Wood, who was known for his incredible memory of music label numbers and was nicknamed Memory Man. If you asked him any track he could tell you instantly its record number and where you would find it."

In the 1980s, the family relocated to Union Street when plans for the Bon Accord Shopping Centre were announced.

Charles said as time went on technology developed and the way people sourced music, books, and instruments changed.

"In the last 10 years we have seen a huge change. People began driving to places they could park. There was the ‘dying High Street’ effect on Union Street. “Supermarkets began selling CDs, videos, musical instruments etc, which saw a lot of people choosing these places to shop. Then the internet has also played a huge part in decreasing the music shop market."
Bustling customers in 1984.

Charles, who spent several years as chairman of the business, said: "The support we have always had has been fantastic."

"We had a great 111 years of business and sadly the time came when we had to close. We were also twice nominated for best music retail outlet, which was great. We are very grateful for all the support over the years. The entire family were extremely proud of the business."
Created By
Callum Main
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This article was originally published in the Evening Express on June 21, 2011

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