McCartney Times

Nems, (North End Music Stores)

Nems,  (North End Music Stores)

Nems,  (North End Music Stores)

Epstein & Sons, Walton Road, Liverpool
NEMS (North End Music Stores), Charlotte Street, Liverpool
NEMS (North end Music Stores), Whitechapel, Liverpool
NEMS (North End Music Stores), 24 Moorfield, Liverpool
and finally, NEMS Argyle Street, London


Brian’s parents, Harry and Queenie Epstein originally owned the family business. (Queenie was Harry’s pet name for his wife, whose name was Malka, which means “Queen”).

It originally began as a furniture store on Walton Road, (in the North End of Liverpool), when it was called Epstein & Sons. and later progressed to selling pianos and sheet music.

In fact, my late husband, Jim McCartney (Paul and Michael’s Dad) bought an upright piano from them. That must have been a huge decision for him in those early days of financial hardship, but his great love of music overcame his fiscal awareness, so anxious was he that his two sons should always be surrounded by music. How right he turned out to be, with both of the boys being so incredibly talented.

When Harry and Queenie decided to expand further, they opened another branch, known as NEMS, (North End Music Stores) in Charlotte Street, closer to the City Centre. Brian and his brother Clive were appointed to run this shop, which was doing well, encouraging them to open yet another branch, this time mainly a record shop in Whitechapel, again in the City Centre. Brian and Clive were really keen to become established in that particular branch.

It had listening booths where potential clients could listen to their favourite records through headphones. These booths resembled little telephone booths, but without doors. They became very popular with the youngsters, who would crowd in during their lunch hours and after work until closing time.

Brian’s entrepreneurial streak led him to register many more companies in the NEMS Empire, including a  theatrical booking agency, and once more, the company eventually opened new offices at 24 Moorfield in August of 1963. This is where ultimately, The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Cilla Black and artists such as Billy J. Kramer were signed up, and their careers began to move forward.

They then began a Concert Promotion arm, and moved to Sutherland House, Argyle Street, London. Brian wanted fan club secretary and Girl Friday Freda Kelly to move with them, but her Father was against the idea, as she was so young.

Instead, he moved her from being his personal Secretary to being The Beatles Fan Club Secretary, a story which is aptly documented in the award winning DVD called “Good Ol’ Freda.”

I am very proud to say that Freda invited me to take part in this piece of history. I was “ready for my close up! For sure!

There was some discussion at one time that The Beatles should buy NEMS, but  it seems that Linda’s father, lawyer Lee Eastman had some reservations about that, and the arrangement never came to fruition.  This was around the time that Alan Klein came on the scene, and as every Beatles aficionado knows, things were just never the same after that.

Great Liverpool Echo Article to the Lost World of Liverpool record Shops:

Map Link to the ex-Whitechapel Store:

<<<Back to Index