I bought my first SLR from Dixons - a Chinon - which gave me heaps of decent pictures and a good learning curve into SLR's.
I used to buy my films from the shop on Pelham Street, can't remember it's name, but upstairs, they used to keep the film in a tall glass fronted fridge. If I remember right, the shop was opposite the Bodega, later to become a denim jeans shop, then something else, but who knows,? I stopped going up there when the photo shop closed (unless Mrs frank dragged me down town!)
I used to like the Ilford Iso 25 B&W and also the C61 slide film when I developed my own negs. Had a little dark room at the back of the garage and I think the B&W kit is still in the attic.
I used to send my films off to a company in Liverpool, Max Spielman, great pictures at reasonable prices. The string of shops they opened later didn't seem to do well.
Moved onto a Canon SLR but ended up preferring NIkon. Currently hanging my nose over going full frame DSLR - a D3.
Keeping up with the times, I now prefer digital over film because you can shoot lots of frames, can see the results instantly without having to wait for the postman to bring that little envelopes with 36 prints (of which 30 could be crap) and you can manipulate the files in Photoshop or other software to your hearts content.
At the end of the day though, a good photo is all down to being in the right place, at the right time, with the right light and a decent camera.