It is one of Huddersfield’s most iconic shops.

But the town’s only surviving record store, Vinyl Tap, was never intended to become the record nirvana that it is today, after it started life on a market stall simply as a way for owner Tony Boothroyd to make pocket money.

Now, 30 years on, the shop and its associated massive mail order service feed the passions of discophiles the world over, who go to it to find everything from punk and calypso to grindcore and gospel.

Tony, 50, has revealed the history of his company ahead of the ninth annual Record Store Day to promote independent shops, which will take place tomorrow.

WATCH footage from Record Store Day 2016 below:

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“It started completely by accident,” said Tony, who began trading in 1986 at Huddersfield Open Market when he was 20.

“I was working for Hepworth Electrical as a trainee electrical draughtsman and I decided to have a stall on Huddersfield Saturday second hand market to raise some extra money.

“I was selling things that were mostly junk really and at the end of the stall was one box of my records, which were mostly punk and new wave.

“Over the next few weeks I realised that this box was the best selling and after talking to customers this soon became two boxes and then four and then a full stall of records.

The first ever picture of Vinyl Tap, taken at a Huddersfield second-hand market in 1986 and featuring its owner, Tony Boothroyd

“People started coming up to the stall to ask me if I’d like to buy their records, then I sold them on. Others started asking for certain bands so I’d go looking around for them.

“I learnt a lot about genres I’d never explored before but I’ve always wanted to stock more alternative music rather than chart stuff.

“We’ve always done proper music, not X-Factor singles.”

Before he knew it, his side project had become a full time venture.

Tony Boothroyd of Vinyl Tap on John William Street in Huddersfield.
Tony Boothroyd of Vinyl Tap on John William Street in Huddersfield.

“After a few months I started to earn more on a Saturday than my full time job so after speaking to my parents, who were obviously worried, I gave my notice and became self-employed.

“I started to do other secondhand markets during the week such as Oldham and Barnsley and after a short time I realised that record fairs would be a good place to progress to.

“I was quickly selling in London and other UK towns and cities and within months of those I started selling at fairs across Europe including Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Milan and even in Tokyo.”

Tony decided to open his first shop around 1989.

A photo of Vinyl Tap's shop in Leeds, taken during the mid 1990s

“It was incredibly hard work and I was hardly ever at home so I decided to open a shop to have a base.

“For a short time we had a shop in the Piece Hall in Halifax and then moved to a big shop in the centre of Leeds next to the Corn Exchange.

“We had a business changing day there in 1995.

“Some Leeds university students came to see me and ask if they could use the shop as a project to make a web site for us.

WATCH footage from Record Store Day 2015 below:

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“They gave me my first ever look at the web and I knew immediately that everything would change.

“Within months we had a web site (several years before Google started) and coincidentally at the same time we had an offer for our shop from a hotel chain.

“I made the decision to become a web-based music company and moved to a warehouse in Linthwaite near my home.”

It now contains up to 400,000 records and CDs.

“There’s not a country we don’t sell to – we even get requests from China now.

Queues snake out of Vinyl Tap on a previous Record Store Day

“People just find out about us through our website.

“We send out 100 sacks of mail a week just for the mail orders.”

Tony decided to set up shop in Huddersfield in 2011.

“After we left the shop in Leeds there was a decade of record shops closing down all over the world due to many factors.

“But in 2011 I heard that the local Huddersfield record shop Wall of Sound was going to close down so I organised to meet the owner and bought it.

Grand Northern Ukelele Festival, Huddersfield - Kris Ball performing at Vinyl Tap.

“I wanted a bricks and mortar base where people can come to buy or collect their orders from.

“We’ve got a section in store dedicated to local releases and encourage acts to get in touch with us.”

The shop’s support for the Huddersfield music scene has grown through its free live music instore events.

“We started putting on gigs two years ago due to two things.

Record Store Day at Vinyl Tap, Huddersfield.

“I was talking to a young band in the shop who were complaining that the only gigs they were being offered was to play covers in pubs and it was hard to get a gig anywhere when unknown.

“Then the following week I was in Austin Texas at SXSW and was watching a band in a shop, which made me think that we could do this.

“A stage was donated to us thanks to Alan Riley at Kirklees College and we got up and running. We’ve already had 80 acts play and the only rule is that the artists have to play original music.

“We get established acts as well like Hooton Tennis Club, Sam from Nine Black Alps and a real highlight was Wreckless Eric.”

Record Store Day preview at Vinyl Tap, John William Street, Huddersfield - some of the special editions for Record Store Day.

Tony wants to keep the future of Vinyl Tap as much of a surprise as its start.

“I really have no idea what will happen next – I just know it will involve music.”