This week’s article is on a more modern theme than usual and for that my thanks must go to Phil Farlow, who not only supplied the period images but was manager of Threshold’s record shop at the time of their opening in 1972 at 8 Chantry Way.

This striking colour photograph shows a celebration window for the Andover Carnival’s 50th anniversary and is a real explosion of musical tastes and artefacts from that 50-year period.

Threshold’s first shop was in Cobham in Surrey and was connected to The Moody Blues, whose 1969 album ‘On the Threshold of a Dream’ gave the shop its name.

Andover’s was the second branch of the company and Phil tells me that he was ‘poached’ from K L W (Ken) Cook whose shop was in The Broadway by a representative from Phonogram who put him in touch with the Threshold company.

The opening day in 1972 saw a large crowd outside waiting to be let in, possibly helped by some members of The Moody Blues, including Justin Hayward, being on hand to sign autographs.

Andover Advertiser: People queue outside Threshold’s record shop in AndoverPeople queue outside Threshold’s record shop in Andover

That said, the evidently young audience were able to access the largest stock of all music genres then available in Andover.

And if something required was not in stock, the large collection of record company catalogues available to Threshold enabled the staff to soon acquire it.

But it was not only the music-buying public of Andover who patronised the shop: DJs, pubs, clubs and juke box operators all made use of Threshold’s ability to supply not just the latest top 20 hits but those which were up-and-coming, together with a real musical knowledge not found in the small record departments of the larger stores.

Andover Advertiser: Not only music-lovers, DJs, pubs, clubs and juke box operators used to make use of Threshold’s collectionNot only music-lovers, DJs, pubs, clubs and juke box operators used to make use of Threshold’s collection

In those days of course, it was mainly vinyl. The top singles chart hits were supplied on 7-inch 45s while all LPs by then were 12-inch.

Cassette tapes and 8-track cartridges (to be played in vehicles) were also available at that time and the 1970s saw a competition for sales from all three formats, although the lesser known 8-track cartridge with its limits on use was always the least popular.

The battle of formats changed again when CD was launched in 1982 at the end of the Threshold years.

Besides records, Threshold experimented initially with having a small stock of musical instruments, though this did not really work.

However, accessories associated with record players were essential, such as replacement styli, record cleaning cloths and spare LP inner sleeves, for which there was a ready market.

Phil recalls that he tried to support local concerts and events by displaying their posters in the shop and Gladys New, the chair of Andover Music Club, was always very enthusiastic about any of their latest events.

Generally, the window was dressed by a professional company and, with their assistance in 1974 for the golden anniversary of the Andover Carnival, Phil was able to put his imaginative ideas to the test.

The centrepiece of the display was a 1920s HMV gramophone with a bamboo horn which he was able to borrow from an employee of Bartley’s garage in Salisbury Road.

This was surrounded by various artefacts and ephemera relating to the entire 50-year period, many of local interest that had remained with their original owners and were retrieved for the display.

Printed paper bags, 78 records and covers from the various record retailers of Andover, such as Sainsbury Fisher, Teague and King and A D Robbins, were represented, as well as related album covers and publicity photos from the 50- year period.

The display went right up to the (then) present day, including (with an eye to who was paying their wages) the latest Moody Blues offering, near the door.

Reliable staff was vital and although to begin with, Phil had just one assistant, he was able to recruit Mary Rolfe who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of record catalogues and had been employed variously at Sainsbury Fisher during the 1950s, then the Army and Navy’s record section at Parsons and Hart, and finally at P A Baker in Bridge Street.

Others included Chris Stagg from Walnut Tree Road and Anthony Uprichard from Chilbolton, all of whom were invaluable to him.

The company was successful enough during the 1970s to be able to open further branches in Birmingham, Swindon and Chichester but although accepting for a while the post of assistant general manager to all these shops, Phil left Threshold in 1977 to work as a sound archivist in the Houses of Parliament which were about to broadcast their proceedings on the radio.

Threshold in Andover brought in Graham Tyler who had already worked at Cobham and Swindon and the shop continued in prosperous vein until 1982 when financial difficulties saw the lease of the shop being sold to David Mann of Marvo Music whose premises selling musical instruments were in Mylen Road.

The new owners retained the record shop downstairs in their name and opened a new upstairs showroom for instruments.

However, this was all rather short-lived and in February 1985 the business folded, when costs had become too high for the business generated.

The shop that was Threshold is now the third section of the four units occupied by JD Sports.

Andover Advertiser: The site where Threshold was onceThe site where Threshold was once