Ex-Rental – A Video Store Graveyard

There are so many different aspects to VHS that I love, and none more so than any connection to a video store. My local store was called Video Vision and is now an Indian restaurant. I occasionally still go there for a meal and request that we sit next to where the horror section once stood. I know it’s childish but I can still picture the tapes on the wall, and how the shop once looked in its prime.

With the fall of Blockbuster, the final nail in the movie rental store coffin, I was thinking of when all of those outlets are empty, what would be put in their place – More fast food chains? It also got me thinking of how future generations will grow up not knowing that our favourite place to visit on a Friday or Saturday night is now where they get their hair cut, or even eat.

photo 1 copy

I purchase my tapes from all over the country, and with them being mostly ex-rental, find it quite amazing to think that they were once apart of a video store from somewhere in the UK.
Most video stores branded their stock with a sticker or stamp bearing the address of the shop, much like a library does with books. And that branding can be seen either on the reverse or spine of the cover, in some cases evenΒ on the tape itself. I became fascinated by this and wondered what these stores wouldΒ look like today.

When people pick up a DVD or Blu-ray they see the artwork, extras and plot synopsis. When I pick up a videotape, I too see the artwork and plot but I also wonder about what obscure trailers will play before the movie. I also think about where this tape has been, and what store it first started out in. So when I see a video store’s address slapped on the tape, my mind starts to wonder about this box being rented over and over again, moving from its store to a different home each week. Then the store eventually closes and, with many exchanges in between, the tape winds up in my collection. There’s a wonderful traceability with ex-rental VHS. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am a little odd.

So with the help of Street View, and as part of my preservation obsession with the format, I wanted to document the old addresses that you find on tapes and show how they appear today. Be them hairdressers, chip shops, restaurants, charity shops, furniture stores and alike. Because like the format itself, we must never forget.

Of course, i’m not going to go through my entire collection doing this as that would be both very time consuming and a little pointless. Instead, i’d like to ask for your old video store addresses so that we can build up a collection of memories. And if you have any tapes with these stickers/stamps on that you would like to contribute, please send them to [email protected] and I shall update the site accordingly.

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42 thoughts on “Ex-Rental – A Video Store Graveyard

  1. Luke Owen

    My video rental store is also an Indian restaurant now! My usual table is actually where the counter was so I feel like I’m part of the back room of the video store so I can look around and remember what it all looked like.

    I remember renting The Wizard a lot and just skipping over the boring bits until they get to the Nintendo action! I used to go in there a lot to ask if they were throwing away any of the posters in the front window so I could take them home. I didn’t get many did to be honest! My other very vivid memory is the front cover of Bad Taste. I didn’t see the film until much later in life but that video cover of the freaky alien flipping the bird will stay with me for a long time.

    But, for your records, here is the address of the former Plaza Video – now Asian Spice:

    D The Colonnade Overdown Road, Tilehurst, Reading, West Berkshire RG31 6PR

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Derek Warne

    Outstanding! I was a member of VMV Video in Lowestoft for many years! Express video on St Peters street in Lowestoft was another of my places of movie worship, it’s now a beauty parlour and hairdressers! Keep up the good work! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Derek Warne

    Express video was at 96 St Peters Street, Lowestoft. It’s now a barber’s called Blade Male grooming. Also found my old VMV and Express video membership cards, thanks for bringing back the memories!

    Reply
  4. Dan Wheat

    In Portsmouth we used to have a chain of Blockbuster Videos (not the US chain) that were changed to Movies stores when the US Blockbuster moved into the area around the early 90’s. There were three of these shops locally, here are the addresses of them:
    173 Francis Avenue
    Southsea
    PO4 0EP

    123 Winter Road
    Southsea
    Hampshire
    PO4 8DS

    183 Eastney Road
    Southsea
    PO4 8EA

    Reply
      1. usman khan

        Hi,

        First of all, just would like to say this is a great post that has been created! Excellent idea. I remember my old video store, I believe it’s a estate agent now.
        I’m looking for some help regarding trying to obtain a old blockbuster VHS case, I’m putting together a memory box for my brother and one of the things on the list is a VHS, cab can anyone help me with this? or point me in the right direction?

        Thanks

        Reply
  5. Owen

    Jack Beanstalk Video (and Vidbiz for a few years after that) on Burton Road in Didsbury, Manchester. It’s now an Indian restaurant but street view still has the Vidbiz signs up.

    142-144 Burton Road
    West Didsbury
    Manchester
    M20 1JQ

    Reply
  6. Daz

    I remember my local video rental shop called Mr Flicks (now a booze store) quite vividly. In the early 90s, I would often look at the latest releases at the time, those being Total Recall, Robocop 2 and Terminator 2; I used to be fascinated by the slightly different looking, and bigger, covers (from the retail version). With Total Recall and Terminator 2, the Guild Home Video logo on the rental release was a gold colour, whereas the retail version was blue. I much preferred the gold logo.

    I will always remember the day when the shop first opened, can’t remember the exact year but something like 1988 or 89; I was about 7 or 8 at the time and had quite a surprise when someone dressed as Darth Vader walked through the door; he was there to open to shop and sign posters (which oddly where Raw Deal posters, dunno what because I’m sure it wasn’t the time of the films release on video) for people and have photos taken with him. To this day I’ve no idea who it was dressed up, very unlikely it was the “green cross code man” aka David Prowse (don’t think he was anywhere near Prowse’s height, probably not even 6ft), but he looked the part and his suit was authentic looking. I remember my older brother seeing him and ruinning straight out of the shop in terror; my mum had to grab him back. Glad I have some photos, which were taken by a newspaper photographer in b&w. The signed Raw Deal posters I sadly no longer have. What a way to open a video rental shop lol. Happy days.

    Reply
  7. Kate Lowe

    Hi, found your site and wondered if you wanted, or if you knew where I could send, my collection of video tapes. All pre-recorded and great condition. No charity seems to want them and I’m a big re-cyler!

    Reply
    1. Viva VHS Post author

      Hi Kate,

      Just realised I never replied. I trust you were sorted with these in the end?

      Dale

      Reply
  8. Simon Sherlock

    Great site ! I used to deliver leaflets advertising Video Village in Fulham palace road back when I was about 13/14 years old (I’m now 40) I used to get paid in free rentals and the occasional “X movie” such as “The Exorcist” – which was still banned at the time and lived under the counter!! Also I would get given all the posters after they used them. My bedroom was covered in Commando / Raw Deal/ Nightmare on Elm street posters ……was a fun place just to hang out with the older lads chatting about films. Be great if someone had a picture of the place back then. None on the internet. Keep up the research.
    Simon

    Reply
    1. Viva VHS Post author

      Fantastic! Do you have any old trade mags from back in the day? Or maybe video store posters/sample sleeves? Always worth asking.

      Reply
  9. T. West

    Lived in Vancouver Canada for many years, my favourite store was Videomatica on west 4th avenue, incredible collection of rare & foreign VHS tapes, another chain around town (forget the name now) used to offer 5+5+5, that’s 5 tapes for $5 for 5 days, then there was Tom’s video on Grandview Highway, these video shops always had hard to find titles and some pretty obscure stuff. Once I remember after watching a video and taking it out of the player something fell out of the tape onto the floor, it was a dried, desiccated and totally flat enormous black spider over 2 inches circumference, don’t know how many years he had been in there going round and round getting flattened between the tape and the capstans.

    Reply
  10. JOHN DOWDING

    My Video store was Pinewood Video at 69 The Broadway, Loughton, Essex.

    Really miss it. Its a sunbed lounge now πŸ™

    Reply
  11. MARK PULLEN

    HI im writing to tell you about a few stories about your video shop video vision in wednesbury, it wasnt my local shop but it was the best layed out store, when it closed down me and my grandad asked the owner if we could have some of the red shelves he said have what ever you want, also i have tons of the orignal video vision rental covers when you rented a video from there some magazines and loads of there videos asleep, if you rememeber every video had a red label on the side of the cover which said either family, action, horror, children drama etc etc.
    i also have my own video store in making i currently have over 10.000 videos which is way more than video vision its a massive collection !!!

    Reply
  12. Richard Nolan

    Do you know whether you can still buy vhs ones anywhere now? I can’t seem to find any as not even charity shops sell them anymore πŸ™ . I hate dvds as they jump so easily. I love the obscure trailers too especially before 80s horror films.

    Reply
    1. Viva VHS Post author

      Sadly, car boots, ebay and lucky friends/family friends who can point you in the direction of leads is the only way.

      Reply
  13. maurizio sabatini

    Hi

    Forgot to mention in my last message that you have bought back many memories … I am 38 years old and have been into videos since the age of 9 and like a fool got rid of hundreds of videos before the launch of dvd recorders lol

    I am looking for the following titles… ALL BIG BOX EX RENTALS

    TROPICAL SNOW – CIC
    NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 / 3 – WARNER
    WALLS OF GLASS – RCA
    HEARTBREAKERS – RANK
    HARRY AND SON – RANK
    SUMMER LOVERS – RANK
    UNFAITHFULLY YOURS – CBS/FOX
    MASS APPEAL – CIC
    ALPHABET CITY – CBS/FOX
    JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS – RCA

    many thanks Maurizio

    Reply
  14. Jan

    The photo you have of the video rentals on Francis avenue Portsmouth of the co-op is actually inaccurate because I grew up nearby on telephone rd and we always rented from them and the video rental was opposite the Co-op on the left side corner of Jessie Road. The Co-op was always there even thought the 80’s.

    Reply
  15. Jan

    MOVIES on Francis avenue I’m Portsmouth has actually been turned into a house. I miss seeing it there but the age old greengrocers still remains across from it intact like how I remember seeing it going up.

    Reply
  16. MICK HUSSEY

    HI
    I WONDER IF THERE IS ANYWAY YOU CAN CLEAR UP A PROBLEM IM HAVEING ON A FACBOOK GROUP I POSTED A PHOTO OF YOURS OF THE BLACK ROCK STORE IN THE BROADWAY NO 2 WHITEHAWK RD BRIGHTON IT HAS RESULTED IN MEMBERS SAYING THERE WASNT A STORE THERE
    CAN YOU E MAIL ME THE DATES IT WAS OPENED AND CLOSED AND ANY OTHER INFO YOU CAN
    THANK YOU
    MICKO HUSSEY

    Reply
    1. MICK HUSSEY

      Futher to my post The store you show as being no 2 Whitehawk rd in Brighton is in fact in Haywards Heath which i have found very misleading and think you should correct it
      Mick

      Reply
      1. Viva VHS Post author

        These were all sent in by readers of the site, so I can only trust the source at that time. Should you have a better image from Google Maps or in person, feel free to email it in and I will correct the site to suit.

        Reply
        1. Nikolas Bouras

          Can you find old cartoons videotapes from labels like Childrens Video Network, Comic Toons, Funhouse Video, Krypton Force, Supertron and Take 2 Plus? Can you find all of them? Can you find:
          1. VIDEOTOONS Volume Six – Krypton Force
          2. Zany Days of ABBOTT & COSTELLO – Supertron
          3. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE PRINCESS & THE BEGGAR – Take 2 Plus
          4. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE MAGIC HERB – Take 2 Plus
          5. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – STOLEN BEAUTY – Take 2 Plus
          6. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE POISON DART – Take 2 Plus
          7. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE PHANTOM KNIGHT – Take 2 Plus
          8. Sport Billy Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 – Take 2 Plus
          9. Chuckle Toons Volume Three – Childrens Video Network
          10. Chuckle Toons Volume Four – Childrens Video Network
          11. Gulliver’s Travels – Comic Toons
          12. The Eastern Delight – Comic Toons
          13. Legend of The Moors Legacy – Comic Toons
          14. Teddy and Friends – Comic Toons
          15. Eastern Magic – Comic Toons
          16. The Magic Flute and Other Magic Fables – Comic Toons
          17. Don Quixote and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
          18. Toonerville Trolley – Comic Toons
          19. Mutt & Jeff in Westward Whoa and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
          20. Little Lulu II – Comic Toons
          21. The Queen of Hearts and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
          22. The Nutcracker – Comic Toons
          23. Flip The Frog and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
          Etc.

          Can you please find them as soon as you possibly can? Thanks!

          Nikolas Bouras.

          Reply
  17. Nikolas Bouras

    Can you find old cartoons videotapes from labels like Childrens Video Network, Comic Toons, Funhouse Video, Krypton Force, Supertron and Take 2 Plus? Can you find all of them? Can you find:
    1. VIDEOTOONS Volume Six – Krypton Force
    2. Zany Days of ABBOTT & COSTELLO – Supertron
    3. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE PRINCESS & THE BEGGAR – Take 2 Plus
    4. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE MAGIC HERB – Take 2 Plus
    5. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – STOLEN BEAUTY – Take 2 Plus
    6. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE POISON DART – Take 2 Plus
    7. CHOPPY AND THE PRINCESS – THE PHANTOM KNIGHT – Take 2 Plus
    8. Sport Billy Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4 – Take 2 Plus
    9. Chuckle Toons Volume Three – Childrens Video Network
    10. Chuckle Toons Volume Four – Childrens Video Network
    11. Gulliver’s Travels – Comic Toons
    12. The Eastern Delight – Comic Toons
    13. Legend of The Moors Legacy – Comic Toons
    14. Teddy and Friends – Comic Toons
    15. Eastern Magic – Comic Toons
    16. The Magic Flute and Other Magic Fables – Comic Toons
    17. Don Quixote and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
    18. Toonerville Trolley – Comic Toons
    19. Mutt & Jeff in Westward Whoa and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
    20. Little Lulu II – Comic Toons
    21. The Queen of Hearts and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
    22. The Nutcracker – Comic Toons
    23. Flip The Frog and Other Cartoon Classics – Comic Toons
    Etc.

    Can you please find them as soon as you possibly can? Thanks!

    Nikolas Bouras.

    Reply
  18. Peter Cooper

    Anybody remember Variety Video in Burnley centre in the 1980’s?

    It had Betamax on the ground floor and VHS upstairs.

    I think the logo was a top hat and magic wand? Would love to see some pictures of that place!!! It was EPIC!!!!! πŸ™‚

    Reply
  19. Dave

    Hi. I have an incredibly random and somewhat tenuous request. I was born in 82 and around the ages of 11-13 I owned an ex-rental copy of Aliens (1986) on VHS. I used to hate watching it because there was a trailer for a horror movie before the film started that used to scare the wits out of me. All I remember was it was all set at night time in a city and the baddies were muscular guys with reflective glasses on. Standard menacing voice over and music – I used to fast forward it with my eyes closed. Now, at age 34, I think I’m ready to watch said film but I have absolutely no idea what it is. I appreciate that it’s a needle in a haystack but does anyone have any idea what film I’m referring to?

    Reply
    1. Viva VHS Post author

      I’ll have a think on this for you. Shame I don’t have the VHS to hand otherwise i’d find out exactly, but it’s in storage. Trying to think of ’85/’86 movies that would have been on there, like Zero Boys or Neon Maniacs but I guess it would have had to have been CBS related in some way.

      Reply
      1. Dave

        Thanks! I know it’s a complete shot in the dark, but it’s been bothering me for years. The only other information I can give you is the ex rental box was a large white one – great help, I’m sure – and upon further reflection the bad guys were wearing jeans and leather waistcoats and it was some sort of zombie/demonic street gang arrangement. Again, a great help. However, I figured that if it was advertised before a film like Aliens then it might be locatable. I have no idea what year the Aliens VHS was released for that matter – could have been 87 or onwards I suppose, I have no idea how many were produced and how often. I’ve checked and it’s definitely not Zero Boys or Neon Maniacs. Thanks for your help!

        Reply
  20. Garr Davies

    My local videostore was in Brackla, a housing estate perched just above the town of Bridgend in South Wales. I remember my father driving me there and I would either grab a horror film or a few episodes of that star wars droids cartoon.

    Great memories there as a kid staring at the images on the tape boxes and wondering if my dads car broke down on the drive home, would Jason Vorhees get us.

    Drove past it with the missus for the first time in over twenty years recently. It is now a Dominos Pizza, of course we went and bought a pizza and much like you I remembered the times when the door to the kitchen was a horror section, and where the drinks machine currently is there was an ‘adults only’ locker.

    Address is Unit 1, Somerfield Site, Tremains Rd, Bridgend CF31 1TZ

    Reply
    1. Viva VHS Post author

      Wonderful! I need to look into what the place looks like now and add it to the site…

      Reply

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