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Growth of a Modern Shopping Centre

Map of Broadmarsh, 1957

In the late 1960s a proposal for a major shopping centre in the Marshes would lead to huge changes in the local landscape. The Broad Marsh Shopping Centre and multi-storey car park opened in 1975 and involved the demolition of almost the whole Broad Marsh area. On the map of 1957 (above) all the streets and houses between Listergate on the west and Narrow Marsh on the east would disappear, including the historic Drury Hill. See this map in more detail here [PDF 691KB] pdf logo .Protesters campaigning against the Broad Marsh Shopping Centre

Before the Centre's construction various organisations and individuals protested against the loss of the Marshes' old streets and its possible impact on the cave system. This picture (left, from The Nottingham Topic) shows a group of protestors who campaigned against the Centre and battled to preserve Nottingham's heritage.Drury Hill in 1968

The most historic street threatened was Drury Hill, which linked Low Pavement with the bottom of Broad Marsh. It was a steep, narrow, twisting lane that was only 4 feet 10 inches wide. This photograph (reference: CA/DP/2/4/D3105, right) shows the entrance to Drury Hill in 1968. Its threatened demolition fuelled the local protests against the Centre.Construction of the Broad Marsh Shopping Centre in 1973

Despite the protests, construction work began in June 1973. Much of Broad Marsh was demolished but one building which was saved was the mediaeval Severn's Building, which was moved from Middle Pavement to Castle Hill. The photograph of the Centre's construction (reference: DD/GN/1/80/2/1108, left) shows a new era of building materials, especially concrete, being used for building, and on Listergate, in the background, Woolworth's is visible and the Sawyer's Arms public house.Interior of the Broad Marsh centre showing Witney's and a wooden caterpillar for children

The new Centre was opened in 1975 by the Duke of Gloucester. The Centre included a large co-operative store which had up-to-the-minute displays of products such as soft furnishings, electrical goods, hosiery and its own popular restaurant. Other stores included Witney's, Newman Granger, and a Wimpy restaurant. The Centre also featured a large waterwheel and several hollow, wooden caterpillars for children, which were all later removed (see photo, reference CA/PL/2/81/10/73, right). Despite the protests, the Centre provided for a major expansion of retailing in Nottingham city centre and proved a major attraction for shoppers from a wide part of the region.

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