A music-obsessed Cambridge graduate, Geoff Travis hitch-hiked across America in his mid-twenties, where he picked up “literally hundreds of records by the time I got to San Francisco,” then shipped them back to London. A fantasy was forming in his head: “Opening a shop where you could listen to records all day without anyone bothering you too much.”
A fantasy was forming in his head: “Opening a shop where you could listen to records all day without anyone bothering you too much.”
Acquiring more vinyl stock from a bankrupt Cambridge record store, Travis eventually settled on scuzzy low-rent Ladbroke Grove as a London location that offered sufficient passing trade thanks to its mix of bohemians and reggae-loving Rastafarians from the local West Indian population.
Opening in February 1976, Rough Trade became a magnet for the local community. Because Joe Strummer’s 101ers played nearby at the Elgin pub, and Mick Jones lived by the Westway flyover, Rough Trade made the connection with punk really early.
In many ways, Rough Trade provided a bridge between the new punk movement and its spurned precursor, the hippy counter-culture.