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

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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Weird World of Crazy Golf

Check out The Weird World of Crazy Golf from Britclip - a look at the World Crazy Golf Championship in Hastings.


It's fun seeing the excellent Hastings Adventure Golf course being played by a colourful cast of crazy golfing characters.

World Crazy Golf Championship in Hastings
In action in my tilt for the title

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Video Future

Spotting an old video shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.


Video shop in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Video Future!

You can also see the remains of a Woolworths store on the main street in Longton
. It's quite a sight to behold in 2020!

Friday, September 04, 2020

Lost Blockbuster - Chester

Another day, another lost Blockbuster Video store.

The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020

This one was in Chester, Cheshire, England.

The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020

It's now a Roy Castle Foundation charity shop.

The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020

The QUIKDROP box is still in place. A lot of the paintwork and fixtures inside are from its days as a Blockbuster too.

The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020
QUIKDROP

The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020
You could still see a number of familiar pieces of the Blockbuster shopfittings
  
The former Blockbuster video store in Chester. September 2020
The old Blockbuster counter

Other lost Blockbuster stores

On our travels we've found the remains of other lost Blockbuster stores in Manchester, ColneOldhamCheadle HulmeMarpleHastingsFelixstowe, Telford, Prescot and Chester.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Movie Box in Manchester

A look at a Manchester video shop.


The Movie Box in Manchester
You don't see video shops all that often any more

The Corner Store in Manchester
The shop is also called The Corner Store

The Corner Store in Manchester
And the Mac & PC Centre

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside

A look at the old Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside.


Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside

The former Blockbuster Video shop on Church Street in Prescot is now Partyworld, but the old QuikDrop box is still in place with visible branding.

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Another 7 years late fee


If you look closely you can also see that the original Blockbuster sign is underneath the Partyworld sign.

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Another Lost Blockbuster. It's good to see the Partyworld shop trading in its place though

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Can you see the blue and yellow branding?

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
The old and the new - we didn't know Prescot had links to Shakespeare before our trip there. The crane is part of the building work of the new Shakespeare North Playhouse


Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
Quite a sight to see a Blockbuster Video QuikDrop box AND social distancing measures in the same place!

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
I wonder how many letters get posted in the QuikDrop box by mistake

Lost Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
QuikDrop

Retail archaeology

It's always nice to see remnants of old brands and ghost signs when they are hidden in plain sight.

Since we found the remains of Blockbuster Video near us in Fallowfield, Manchester we've been looking to see if there are any other former branches still showing signs of the brand. We've found a Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, as well as remnants in Cheadle Hulme and Marple.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne

A look at the Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne.


Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
Video, DVD and Laser Disks!

While doing some grocery shopping in Ashton-under-Lyne we took a look at the old Jubilee Films video shop on Old Street.

Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
Jubilee Films closed its doors in 2013, the same year as Blockbuster
 
Jubilee Films video shop in Ashton-under-Lyne
I wonder how many Laser Disks (sic) were still being rented or sold before the shop closed its doors for the final time?

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.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Urbex - Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield

A look at the remains of the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.


Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester. July 2020

Blockbuster Video lives on in Manchester. In a way.

Kind of.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Lost Blockbuster Video in Oldham

Last month we popped over to Oldham for our daily walk and a look for an old Blockbuster Video store on Ashton Road.


Sadly there were no traces of the brand visible at the former location. Until fairly recently the upstairs windows had retained the Blockbuster branding. Sadly they had been boarded up. Had the store been open I believe the old QuikDrop box is still in place. Next time we're over that way we'll take another look.

Discount Square in Oldham
Interestingly the new shop in the building has retained a blue and yellow colour scheme and a Square is a kind of Block too

It wasn't all for nought though as we did spot an apt road name on the way back.

Corona Avenue in Oldham

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Check out more Blockbuster Video related blog posts

Monday, July 27, 2020

Remnants of Blockbuster Video

Finding some more traces of the lost brand.


We've always enjoyed exploring our surroundings, looking for and hunting out interesting things. We've seen quite a few ghost signs on our travels and many of these are hangovers from another time, some even dating back over a hundred years.

Since we found the remains of Blockbuster Video just up the road from us in Fallowfield, Manchester we had a look to see if there were any other former branches still showing signs of the brand.

We were in luck as on our walks around Cheadle Hulme and Marple we spotted the ghostly outline of a sign, as well as an old QuikDrop box.

The outline of the old big ticket logo of Blockbuster is still visible behind the Majestic Wine sign. A modern day ghost sign

The QuikDrop slot is the only part of the former Blockbuster Video Express in Marple that hasn't been painted over. It's now a Post Office
The QuikDrop slot is the only part of the former Blockbuster Video Express in Marple that hasn't been painted over. It's now a Post Office

It'll be interesting to see if we spot any other traces of the brand once we're back out on the road on Crazy World of Minigolf Tour travels.


The Blockbuster shop hole at Ghetto Golf Birmingham
The Blockbuster shop hole at Ghetto Golf Birmingham

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff-on-Sea

A look at the old Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff-on-Sea, Southend.


Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Many thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Mark Routh for sending me these photos of the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Westcliff on Sea, Essex.

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

It's amazing the signs are still up seven years since the demise of the brand.

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Blockbuster Video Express on London Road in Westcliff-on-Sea. Photo by Mark Routh, July 2020

Since I found the remains of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been intrigued to see the brand still has a lingering presence on the high street. It's always fun to see ghost signs, remnants of old & dead brands and interesting signage while out and about on our travels.

I found out the Blockbuster signage was still in place at the Westcliff-on-Sea store via this post on Instagram.

We should've been visiting family in Southend-on-Sea this summer but that trip has been postponed. Hopefully we'll get back down there soon so I can check out the old Blockbuster store too.

Check out Mark's superb postcard blog at Mark's Postcard Chat and his Facebook Page. The blog is a wonderful insight into the world of postcard collecting and social history.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Urban Exploration - Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester

A look at the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.




Since I found the remains of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been intrigued to see the brand still has a lingering presence in the retail world. It's always interesting to see ghost signs, remnants of old & dead brands and signage while out and about on our travels.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
It's so odd to see Blockbuster branding along with social distancing signage and notices 

Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
A notice on the door at the old Fallowfield branch. Some retail history

As well as the Fallowfield Blockbuster there are still signs of the stores in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, Chiswick in London and Norwich in Norfolk.

Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Manchester
A view inside the old store

Related blog posts:
- Blockbuster
- Fallowfield
- Urban Exploration