Showing posts with label Blockbuster Video Express. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blockbuster Video Express. Show all posts

Monday, November 02, 2020

Picture Postcard Magic - What have you been watching during lockdown?

Check out my latest guest post for the Reflections of a Bygone Age blog.

Picture Postcard Magic 31st October 2020 with Richard Gottfried What have you been watching during lockdown? With 2020...

Posted by Reflections of a Bygone Age on Saturday, 31 October 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

35 years of Blockbuster Video

The first Blockbuster Video store opened in Dallas, Texas, USA on this day in 1985.


Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester

At its peak in 2004 there were more than 9,000 stores around the world. 500+ of which were in the UK.

There is now just one Blockbuster Video store left open. It's in Bend, Oregon.

Blockbuster Video in the UK

Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.

I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day.

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013. At the start of that year there were 528 Blockbuster locations in the UK. The number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. The remaining stores closed on the 16th December.

There are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.

This is the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester, UK.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester

We've also been to the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire and found the remains of quite a few other old stores.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire


Finding a video shop on Video Shop Day 2020

Last Saturday happened to be National Video Shop Day and we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a video rental shop in Little Lever, Bolton! What are the odds?

B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever
It was like stepping back in time

The old-school video rental shop was fully stocked with VHS tapes. I haven't seen anything like it for years.

What a time capsule.

You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne

A look at the Blockbuster Video Express store in Colne, Lancashire.


Blockbuster Video Express in Colne

Since our out-of-home minigolfing adventures have been somewhat curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic I've needed to scratch my exploring and collecting itch somehow. During the first nationwide lockdown we spent our daily outside exercise time walking around the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport where we managed to visit and photograph every one of the 265 pubs, bars and clubs in the area.

My next mini 'tickable list' urban exploration challenge taps into my interest in ghost signs, shops, retail marketing and old brands. Ever since I found the remnants of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been amazed to see the brand still has a lingering presence in other places too.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020

My old local Blockbuster was on Park Street in Luton, Bedfordshire and while it is long-gone I still remember the amount of time I spent in it when I was a student. I built up quite a collection of big-box ex-rental VHS tapes from there in the early noughties.

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013 so it's amazing that there are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.

Blockbuster Video and Express stores

Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.

I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day. Check out this post from the excellent Abingdon Blog to see a photo of the shuttered shop in 2014.

Blockbuster Video Express stores were somewhat smaller than regular Blockbuster shops. Although all of the stores expanded to include video game rentals. Old signage for the games area has been clearly visible on both the Fallowfield and Colne stores I've been to.

In 2013 there were over 500 Blockbuster locations in the UK. Throughout that year the number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. On the 16th December 2013 all stores ceased operations.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne


Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020

While looking online for nearby places to have a wander during the local lockdown here in the north west I stumbled upon the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire.


It's crazy to see the store in person as Colne's main street is quite a busy thoroughfare and the prominently positioned Blockbuster was the only empty shop we saw in that particular part of the town.

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
You should've seen the size of the fine for taking back Police Academy almost seven years late. And I hadn't rewound it

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A view of the store from Market Street

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The old QuikDrop box has been sealed and painted over

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The box is still in place though

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
It's always nice to see old CRT TVs in place

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A view of the right hand side of the store. The Häagen-Dazs fridge is still there

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The left side, till area and games wall. Note the Coca-Cola and Ben & Jerry's fridges towards the back of the store too

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
The games wall

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
A letter about the Administration. That was a good printer and high quality paper to have lasted so long. The Blockbuster branded tape looks in great condition as well

Blockbuster Video Express in Colne. August 2020
Still sticky

Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff on Sea

Last month my friend and fellow blogger Mark Routh kindly sent me some super snaps of the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Westcliff on Sea, Essex. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person next time I'm down that way.

The Last Blockbuster

The very last Blockbuster Video store in operation is in Bend, Oregon, USA. We were planning a holiday to Portland this year and would've called in to the store on the trip.

Hopefully it'll still be there when it's once again safe to travel to the USA.

Other lasting signs of Blockbuster

We've seen other remnants of Blockbuster Video on the former Blockbuster Video Express store in Marple and the regular store in Cheadle Hulme. Back in 2013 we also saw the old store in Hastings had been converted into a shop called Bookbuster.

If you know of any other Blockbuster stores or branding still visible do let me know.

'Playing' Blockbuster

Interestingly there is a 'Blockbuster' storefront within another venue. You can find it at Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

Disappearing brands

We've seen traces of a number of old and defunct brands that were big in the 80s and 90s on our travels around the country.

These have included Woolworths in Stoke-on-Trent, Woolworths Big W in Edinburgh, Kwik Save in Barrow-in-Furness, Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Tandy in Hitchin, RadioShack in Lytham Saint Annes and Toys R Us in Ancoats and Warrington. I also recently took a look at the Happy Eater restaurant chain.