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50 Years of Nottingham Victoria Centre

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  • 50 Years of Nottingham Victoria Centre

    I know that the majority of people on here are not local to Nottingham, but next month marks 50 years since the Victoria Centre in Nottingham opened back in June 1972. It was converted from the old Victoria railway station which closed in 1967 and was converted into (or Intu?) a shopping centre and flats above, which was one of the biggest in Great Britain at the time. I have many memories being in there.

    Anyone who remembers their own local shopping centres from the 1970s and 1980s might be familiar with what they used to contain such as the familiar brands of shops; facilities and all that. On receipt of the anniversary and birthday celebrations, I wrote to the Victoria Centre last week and got an email response today.

    After writing it, I realised that it would make perfect DYR material, so I shall copy and paste below as I am sure that you would be all interested in it. Enjoy!

    (Any familiar shop names and all that do you recognise from the past?)

    ---

    Dear etc,

    I would like to wish everyone at Victoria Centre a very Happy 50th Birthday for June 2022! It's not just Queen Elizabeth II who will be celebrating then, of course!

    I have always lived in Nottingham all my life, and I have preferred the Victoria Centre to the Broadmarsh Centre when it comes to shopping - the convivence of indoor shopping is inviting to customers in all weathers, and that is good news not just to the shop owners but to everyone. I have been in and out thousands of times over the years.

    That iconic 1970s and 1980s "snowflake" logo also brings nostalgia as well!

    My favourite stores in the present day are Tesco (perhaps the only shop in Victoria Centre where one can purchase a loaf of bread, methinks?); WHSmith; Boots. HMV, and John Lewis - I assume that WHSmith and Boots has been there since Day One?

    Regarding memories, I was born in 1978 and I can remember as a child Mothercare being next door on the left to WHSmith (I think it's now a sports shop?) and my parents frequently going in there for clothes and toys for myself. I can also remember the white (plastic?) climbing frame thing that toddlers (probably also myself circa 1981) played on: (I believe that there were more than one of them in the shopping centre - one upstairs and one downstairs?), and I can remember when the Tesco store had a Milton Street entrance where House of Fraser is now. I always wanted to go the Food Court that opened in late 1986 but my parents never took me there.

    I used to wear glasses as a youngster and I frequently used to get them broken in the school playground - I was registered with Dolland and Aitchison (now Boots Opticians) and used to spend Monday afternoons off school (and swimming lessons) trying to get the screw or lens on my glasses fixed by them. I think that they were next door to Walker and Hall that sold crystal glass items and perhaps jewellery?

    Although I wasn't in attendance, one of the big highlights that Victoria Centre has had was that the very first National Lottery Live show in November 1994 was presented by Anthea Turner from outside the Tesco store in the shopping centre - I am sure that you remember that? The ITV children's TV show Woof! (remember the boy who changed into a dog?) had scenes filmed in the Victoria Centre as well! And Auditing Britain visited the shopping centre as recently as last month. I know that WHSmith has had so many celebrities signing their books in their store as well - never met them myself though.

    Although I was too young to appreciate it at the time, it seemed quite strange to think that Victoria Centre had public houses (pubs) in them. One of them was called "The New Vic", I think, which was close to the Glasshouse Street entrance, and I think that they closed around 1986? I wasn't too fond of the Victoria Market's upstairs part as it used to stink to high heaven of fish and poultry (sorry about that!) It used to smell horrible to myself as a child.

    The Emmett Clock Tower with 1p and 2p coins thrown in the fountain - what a waste of money (not the fountain, I might add!) And the mosaic as well.

    Other memories: The Reject Shop on the Upper Level (now where House of Fraser is); Fox's Music; Vickerstaffs the newsagent and the "Old School" Bus Station in which National Express coaches heading north would pick passengers up and has now improved. I used to think its was odd that I could get onto Mansfield Road via the Bus Station while leaving the shopping centre on the Upper Level.

    The "Bridge" across Lower Parliament Street providing a good window view, and getting us to Fords without having to cross the road below.

    Stores come and gone include Woolworths (victim of the 2008 Credit Crunch of course); Matthews the butchers (I remember Central News interviewing a 15 year old circa 1985 who was working there underaged and refused to go back to school to do his exams, although it might have been another East Midlands branch of that shop); Pork Farms (best for their brown ham salad cobs); Richards Shops; Don Millers (are they still there?); SuperScan; Debenhams; Greens camera shops, Sarah's (Upper Level café or restaurant); and others, At least Jessops had only changed its name.

    Yes, the Victoria Centre still had something for everyone just as it did back then, and I think that it will still be around in another 50 years as well. I hope that this has given lots of great memories of your excellent shopping centre. You have my permission to share this email message if you like.

    Best wishes to 50 years of shopping and Happy Birthday to the Victoria Centre!

    All the best, etc.

    ---



    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

  • #2
    Normally coins in fountains are cleared out & donated to charity.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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