‘Pioneering’ record shop Peckings honoured with blue plaque

Image above: Pictured left to right are Milton Campbell, Duke Price with plaque, Likkle Minty and Onee

Pioneering reggae shop Peckings Records has been honoured with a blue plaque at its original location on Askew Road in Acton.

The plaque, secured by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and the Nubian Jak Community Trust, was unveiled by H&F Mayor Councillor PJ Murphy and Jak Beula, founder of the trust. A ‘huge group’ of friends and family joined the party.

While not a traditional English Heritage plaque, the blue plaque recognises the importance of Peckings as a Black-owned and run business in Shepherds Bush, as well as its immense contributions to music and culture in London.

H&F’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Sue Fennimore, paid tribute to the owners of the shop, the Price family, by saying:

“Almost 50 years later, the name ‘Peckings’ and the sound of reggae the Price family has championed remains vital today.

“The plaque highlights the rich heritage and diversity of music we have in our borough. And we’re delighted to be working with Nubian Jak to acknowledge the huge influence that Peckings has had on music and culture across London.”

Images above: George ‘Peckings’ Price inside the original record shop (right), the exterior of the original store at 142 Askew Road 

50 years of being a destination for DJs and music lovers

Over the past 50 years, the Shepherds Bush reggae shop has been a destination for sound system operators, DJs and music lovers alike.

Opened in 1974 by George ‘Peckings’ Price at 142 Askew Road, now Jude’s Barbers, it became the first London outlet to import records directly from Jamaica to the UK. This was full two years before Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, started popularising the sound to a wider audience.

George and his wife Gertrude had settled in Shepherds Bush 13 years before opening the shop. After their arrival to London in 1960, the family catered for legendary sound systems and labels – primarily by his close connection staging dances in Jamaica and later importing tunes to the UK produced by Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, made famous via Studio One.

From his suitcase walking the streets around Ladbroke Grove, George also supplied UK-based Jamaican soundmen including Duke Vin, Count Suckle and Daddy Vego with RnB, ska and reggae records. Other famous customers who have relied on Peckings over the years include Jah Shaka and BBC DJ David Rodigan, as well as important London labels Hawkeye, Daddy Kool and Cha Cha.

Jak Beula said:

“Peckings Records is an oak tree that grew from the acorn of Jamaican music enthusiast George Price, whose love for the music of his island helped to create the phenomenon of ska and reggae in the United Kingdom.”

Images above: Roy Forbes Allen – aka Hawkeye of Hawkeye Records – unveils the blue plaque, Chris Price (centre) with Mary Price (left) and H&F Mayor Cllr PJ Murphy (right)

Shop still run by family

George’s love of music started in Kingston, Jamaica, where he had formed a partnership with Coxsone Dodd, famed producer and label owner of Studio One Records. He also worked with seminal artists such as Prince Buster, who frequently stayed with the Prices in London, and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry.

After George passed away in 1994, the shop passed to his sons to continue the legacy. Tony and Trevor were based in the shop, while younger brothers Chris and Duke have more recently taken Peckings Records and its associated label to a higher level.

Peckings, now based at 81 Askew Road, was awarded both ‘Best Label’ and ‘Best Producer’ at the British Reggae Industry Awards in 2013. The label has released more than 90 records and been responsible for breaking some of the most influential reggae artists of the last two decades, including Bitty McLean, Gappy Ranks, Peter Hunningale and Tarrus Riley.

Chris Price said:

“It’s a special day for our family. We’re all very honoured and it’s great to have friends and family here today. Thanks to H&F Council and Nubian Jak for the plaque. It’s a very emotional day. On behalf of Peckings – love!”

Duke Price added:

“It’s not just my dad but also my mother who are getting this plaque today. The entire family. We had humble beginnings and we’re humble people. Thank you.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Chiswick Playhouse closes

See also: Chiswick security expert supplies tech support for Ukrainian refugees

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.