In 2015, Buxton’s indoor Springs Shopping Centre celebrated 30 years of being the town’s main shopping place for the Buxton community. The idea of a sheltered shopping centre was first initiated in London, 1819, with the opening of the Burlington Arcade in Mayfair that was commissioned by Lord Cavendish. The first modern shopping centre in Europe was built in 1965 at the Elephant and Castle in London. It was designed to save on ground space whilst providing a variety of shops to the general public. The shopping centres that followed suit were designed to regenerate towns and cities and provide relaxed seating areas for resting and socialising. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14555871
Buxton saw its regeneration programme developing an indoor shopping centre in 1985 that brought an air of excitement to the town of Buxton.
I was a teenager at the time and the opening of the foodstore ‘Fine Fare’ that gave you brown paper bags to take your purchases home in, just like the American malls, was very exciting. Also, the opening of fashion stores, Dorothy Perkins and Fosters fashions for men also felt like the sophistication of the city was coming to town.
Three decades of ‘The Springs’ has seen shops change hands as new trends in food, clothing and other retail items take place. Thirty one years ago which Buxtonian or visitor to the town would have ever thought that one day they would be able to go into the precinct to buy a phone you could walk and talk on at the same time? This quote from the Guardian newspaper highlights this fact:
‘For the first decade the predictions that mobile communications would not be mass market seemed correct. “In 1995, 10 years into the history of mobile phones, penetration in the UK was just 7%,” according to Professor Nigel Linge, of the University of Salford’s Computer Networking and Telecommunications Research Centre. “In 1998 it was about 25%, but by 1999 it was 46%, that was the ‘tipping point’. In 1999 one mobile phone was sold in the UK every 4 seconds.” By 2004, there were more mobile phones in the UK than people – a penetration level of more than 100%.’ https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/jan/01/25-years-phones-transform-communication
So, from this perspective the shopping centre already holds a timeline of social history from the Buxtonian’s shopping viewpoint.
Prior to 1985 shopping in Buxton was predominantly down the main shopping street, Spring Gardens. Traffic ran through the town centre, including buses and lorries at a time when transport was still of manageable size. Shops were still very much of the traditional kind with your green grocers, florists, fishmongers, butchers and an array of cafes trading to Buxtonians and visitors alike.
Buxton is now in the universal fashion league with shops like New Look and J D Sports keeping the teenage fashion scene up to pace.
People of all ages enjoy relaxing, socialising and shopping in the indoor shopping precinct.
Do you have any distinct and interesting memories attached to the opening of Buxton’s first, large indoor shopping precinct?