The Mander Centre opened on the 6th March, 1968
and became an instant success. It was designed by James A. Roberts
(who also designed the Rotunda in Birmingham) and built by C. Bryant
and Son Limited. The centre belonged to the property division of
Mander Holdings Limited, part of the Mander family's enterprises. In
1969 it received a Civic Trust Award. Part of the interior had to be
rebuilt after a disastrous fire on Christmas Eve, 1970.
On the 20th May, 1974, one of the
main entrances to the centre, the old Central Arcade,
was destroyed by fire and had to be demolished. The area
was rebuilt into the present Dudley Street entrance.
In 1987 the centre was refurbished and became the
first shopping centre in the UK to be fitted with a
barrel-vaulted polycarbonate sliding roof, to provide
more comfortable shopping in poor weather. The centre
covered four and a half acres, with space for 134
outlets and a car park that catered for 550 vehicles.
In February 1994 the Mander Centre was sold to the
Prudential Insurance Company for £82m.
In September, 2003, work began on an £18m
refurbishment programme to make the centre fully climate
controlled. Work included the replacement of the marble
floor and the relocation of the escalators and
stairways. The scheme was designed by Bradshaw Rowse
Harker and increased the size to 484,500 square feet of
shop space and 57,110 square feet of office space. There
were more than 150 shops.
What follows is a number of photographs taken in 2001
before work on the 2003 to 2004 refurbishment began.
Shops on the upper floor included Discount Shoe Zone,
Tammy, W. H. Smith, T. J. Hughes, Tesco, Woolworths,
HMV, Ace Models, Dixons, Etam, Greggs, Boots, BHS,
Coffee Royale, Perfume, H. Samuel, Jessops, and Shoe
Shops on the lower floor included Poppins Restaurant,
Regis, MVC, Bodycare, Sports, Evans and Our Price. Pride
of place was given to Barbara Hepworth's sculpture, 'Rock Form (Porthcurno)'.