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Topic Summary

Posted by: MedwayDweller
« on: January 08, 2010, 22:40:49 »

I do remember when Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre opened in the late seventies there was this weird scheme in the Savacentre supermarket where you had to check any shopping bags in. You were given a raffle ticket then, when when you had finished your shopping you returned to the bag check with your ticket to get your shopping bags back again. I guess it was an attempt to cut down on shoplifting.

I also remember some small "shutter-front" shops just behind where the rows of Sainsburys check-outs are now. They were only very small areas with no entrances as such, you just walked into this area and at night shutters were pulled down to make them secure. i do remember Dixons having such a shop and oggling the latest digital watches as a teenager!

Seems weird to think that Sainsburys once had competition there with the likes of Presto/Sainsburys. Wonder why they left, can anyone remember when it was?
Posted by: peterchall
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:50:24 »

Woops - sorry. Have just consulted daughter again, who says she doesn't know. She was on management staff from 1984 to about 2 years ago and the firm changed hands at least 3 times while she worked there. It was owned by Terence Conran when she started, then was taken over by an American company, now owned by Philip Green.That's her excuse for not knowing, what excuse can I think of?
Posted by: rainhamhistory
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:36:02 »

I can say for certain that BHS was never associated with Sainsbury's.
Sorry to pick this up but Savacentre was the name for the joint venture between Sainsburys and BHS's_Savacentre

In March 1989, Sainsbury's bought out BhS's 50% share in the partnership and Savacentre became a wholly-owned subsidiary

There is also some history of the area around Hempstead Valley
on their website
Posted by: peterchall
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:33:30 »

I can say for certain that BHS was never associated with Sainsbury's.
Posted by: rainhamhistory
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:30:00 »

I probably need to get a map or a current listing to compare with what is there now!

Safeway (originally Presto) was the opposite end of the centre where BHS is now. Savacentre was originally a joint venture between Sainsburys and BHS but they bought out BHS a few years back so the shop is now just Sainsburys. The additional space was added in 1991.

So far the list is:

NSS (Newsagents) then became Forbuoys (now half Argos & half JB Sports shop)
Our Price (Game shop)
Post Office (not one of the original shops but where perfume shop is now)
Dry cleaners
Sainsburys Savacentre (now just Sainsburys)
Thomas Cook
Presto Supermarket (was then Safeway now BHS)
Wimpy Burger Bar
Bejam (?) Suggested but may have been different freezer shop
Principles (Now Hawkins Bazaar)
Posted by: karlostg
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:29:31 »

I don`t remember Argos being anything other than a newsagents before ....was it Forbuoys ??

Wasnt it a John Menzies at some stage?
Posted by: flower411
« on: January 08, 2010, 17:22:33 »

I must admit that I thought the Savacentre was a joint venture between Sainsbury and British Home Stores.

I don`t remember Argos being anything other than a newsagents before ....was it Forbuoys ??

As to the rest ....the food area was the Picnic Parlour with a Wimpey ...I think !! 
Posted by: peterchall
« on: January 08, 2010, 16:57:54 »

Colin's Reply#8 just beat me to it, so I've just consulted daughter who worked at BHS Chatham from 1984. She went to Hempsted Valley to help open the branch, so there must have been something else there before, but she can't remember what. I've got a nagging memory that Safeways was where Argos is now, but wife disagrees. Oh heck, I'm confusing things more - sorry!
Posted by: peterchall
« on: January 08, 2010, 16:45:05 »

Purely from memory, my wife and I think that there has been very little change in the original centre. One that does come to mind is Safeways being where BHS is now. We thought at the time that the centre wouldn't support two supermarkets, and Sainsbury's won.

However, the mall leading up to M&S (WH Smith, Superdrugs, etc) was a later addition, but how much later we can't say.

We thought that the Sainsbury's premises was a 'Savacentre' - branches of the firm different (cheaper?) than the normal Sainsbury's. Was that so?

Posted by: colin haggart
« on: January 08, 2010, 16:41:05 »

I know Sainsbury's was there, I'm sure British Home Stores was too.
Posted by: rainhamhistory
« on: January 08, 2010, 16:01:20 »

Someone sent me those photos of the construction - a fascinating record of it.

One question we are trying to resolve - can anyone name the shops that were there when the centre originally opened?

Posted by: otis
« on: December 24, 2009, 20:09:19 »

My first job was also a trolley boy at the Savacentre. 3 weeks in the summer of 1983.

Used to love being in charge of the trolley escalator thing that fed trolleys up from the car park level. It made a heck of a racket, and every so often one would come lose from the conveyor and come flying back down towards you. Rapid exit needed until it landed.

That can't be still in service due to Health and Safety, surely ?

Aspired to be one of the guys who drove the trolley tractors around. They got paid a little more. They were the elite of the trolley boys.

One day.........

   regards Otis
Posted by: Riding With The Angels
« on: December 24, 2009, 01:00:22 »

Posted by: clive
« on: December 24, 2009, 00:38:04 »

There are 5 pictures of the construction phase on this website

Posted by: colin haggart
« on: December 23, 2009, 18:34:12 »

Wasn't the ground they built on something to do with a Monastory?
Posted by: flower411
« on: December 23, 2009, 17:10:45 »

Can`t help with pictures but my first ever Saturday job was collecting trolleys from the car parks and returning them to the Savacentre entrance.
Savacentre was, I think, the only shop open for months while they finished all the shops in the Malls. Everywhere was boarded up and we used to have great fun trying to smash down the walls with our trolleys !!!

If you are looking for photos or people who remember, it might be an idea to start at the Wigmore and District Smallholders club. My Dad was a member there and he told me years ago that he remembers parcels of land changing hands in card games, it was considered to be so wo
rthless !!

Posted by: Galgo23
« on: November 18, 2009, 21:29:50 »


I'm not sure if anyone can help me, but I moved to Hempstead in 1979 shortly after the shopping centre was opened. Does anyone recall what the area was like before, or does anyone have any photographs?

Cheers!  :)
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