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End of an era as Islington Music closes after 30 years

Shop that sells classical instruments and sheet music prepares to close its doors

19 May, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Islington Music in Shillingford Street

POPULAR classical music store Islington Music, where customers have included Sir Simon Rattle and Margaret Hodge, has announced it is closing in a move described as “the end of an era”.

The store, located in Shillingford Street, just off Upper Street, belongs to Tricia Cottle, who set it up with her late husband Malcolm, a musician, more than three decades ago.

The shop specialises in selling classical instruments and sheet music and is popular with parents buying instruments for their children. It was originally located in Cross Street but moved to its current location in the late 1980s.

Sir Simon, who later became music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, was a regular visitor and former Labour MP Ed Balls once purchased a clarinet from the store.

Former Town Hall chief Margaret Hodge once popped in to buy piano music, Ms Cottle recalled.

The shop has been sold and will close in October.

Islington Music owner Tricia Cottle

Ms Cottle said she would miss her regular customers but found running the store “relentless” work, adding that customers would often come in to browse but end up buying online on websites such as Amazon.

“[Customers] spend a lot of time checking prices, and if they find out from me what things cost, and what things are worth, they’ll see if they can buy it somewhere else,” she said.

“I just think it’s really sad. But this is life. People will come in here and say, ‘thank goodness you’re still here, and go out again’.”

Ms Cottle, who lives off Essex Road, plans to stay in the borough and will says she will spend more time playing in orchestras and singing in her choir.

“I have family in Spain and other places in Europe, I have a large house to look after – there’s so much to do and I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

One regular customer, Jennifer Watson, who has been buying instruments and music books for her three children at the store since 2008, said she was saddened to hear about the closure.

“It’s the end of an era. There isn’t anything like this which is multi-purpose.

“I have always preferred to come here than go online,” she said.


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