Nine years after asking “Whatever happened to Comp Shop?”, I now have the answer.
For those who don’t know, Comp Shop was the ground-breaking computer shop, first in New Barnet and then later also on Tottenham Court Road, that played a major part in the early days of UK microcomputing through its production and sale of the “UK 101” – which was probably the most popular hobbyist computer in Britain before Sinclair came along with the ZX80 and ZX81.
My brother and I used to spend a lot (too much) after school time in the New Barnet shop where William (Bill) Wood, the ever-present chief engineer was seemingly happy to let us look at – and even use – the Apple IIs, Commodores and other machines that were much more powerful than our own ZX80. (We did occasionally buy stuff too, but very much at the book and cassette end of the market.)
Comp Shop was a retailer run by people who knew about computers – the difference between it and some subsequent retailers is enormous, but it seemed to disappear just as the market was going into overdrive.
William has now been in touch to say that he and Chris Cary – who had founded the business but more recently left the day-to-day running (successfully) in William’s hands (Cary had his fingers in many pies and as ‘Spangles Muldoon’ remains a legendary figure in radio) – had a catastrophic falling out (repaired in later years) that saw the business closed more or less immediately.
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