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Topic Summary

Posted by: Rainwoman
« on: March 21, 2010, 17:22:53 »

Great photos!  I actually applied for a job at the Savacentre before it was even finished.  I was interviewed in a mobile office on the building site.  I never actually worked there though. I can confirm its Sainsbury/BHS origins - BHS clothing was sold there under the BHS label.  They used to have a black and yellow logo on their clothing label with "Prova" (or something like that) on it.

it was known to children as White Gate Woods. 
That's as I remember it too.  
Quote
Quite fre
quently a group of friends from the St Mathew's Church youthclub, led by the vicar's sons Harald and Mark Muller
I was also a member of St. Matthew's youth club and was friends with Mark & Harald.  Perhaps I know you...?  
Posted by: Galgo23
« on: March 21, 2010, 17:16:42 »

Some more old photos.

Putting the finishing touches to the centre (1978?)


Simon Bates at the Radio One Roadshow (1979)


The original petrol station (1979)


Inside the centre (circa 1980)

 

:)
Posted by: Galgo23
« on: March 21, 2010, 14:55:21 »

Here's an old aerial photo of the shopping centre from about 1980. Spekes Road (Kingsdown Close) is accessible from Sharsted Way and still only runs as far as Kingsdown Farm. Spekes Road (Lambs Frith Grove) has been cut off on the other side but I remember this used to be accessible from Sharsted Way before The Rise was completed. Other notable differences to today, Chapel Lane on the top right of the picture is still a lane running through the woods, this was soon built over. The Hungry Fox is yet to be built, indeed when I remember Hempstead Valley Drive at this time was only open as far as the Savacentre delivery area. The woods at the bottom were cleared to build Stalham Court and Coppice Court in the mid 1980s, and of course, this picture was taken long before the extension of the shopping centre and Marks and Spencers. Now all I need is to find a similar photograph from a few years earlier.  :)

Posted by: seafordpete
« on: March 21, 2010, 11:10:45 »


As to the early years of the shopping centre.  Memory suggests that the whole project was by a development company part-owned by Sainsbury's and a clothing company who were also the partners in the Savacentre shop itself.

It was a joint ownership between British Home Stores and Sainsbury,
Posted by: Rex
« on: March 16, 2010, 22:50:56 »

Hi

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!  :)

Woods, as someone mentioned earlier..
but, i lived in wigmore most of my life, when i was aged around 7 or 8, they were called bluebell woods at the time ( i believe now, that bluebell woods are in springvale) before grain road, harty avenue and the rest of wigmore road was built up it was all fields, and only a few houses dotted around, there was a local builder called Skinners who built quite a few of the houses in the area, who was friendly with my dad. if you go along wigmore rd now, there should still be a small lane running of it opposite the housing estate, called houghton avenue, in the early days you could walk down here, as a wooded path which led to a pig farm owned by a Jim Jeevus, he was a bit mad apparently and his pigs used to run all over Bluebell woods, and you would often see him chasing them through the trees. if you went to the bottom of wigmore rd, by the prefabs adjoing fairview avenue, there was a bumpy lane which led to a few old houses and some more fields, to the side of the fields was a small track /path which went from one side of wigmore over to hempstead. the link road hadnt been heard of at this time, it was from this small lane up to houghton avenue that they built the savacentre, the link road actually ended there and further up past the savacentre( or the continuing of the link road, there was a chalkpit where we used to ride our claude butler fixed wheel bikes, it wasnt until later that the rest of the link road was built when the had made the next link of the motorway, after this link was made, they added the rest, Farthing corner, etc.. thats the best my memory sserves at this time of night, i will post some more when my eyes are open wider, i have some pics of this area but they may be on an old cine film which is in the loft if i can work out how to transfer i will envetually put it up.i have some of bredhurst as well.
Posted by: Jason
« on: January 09, 2010, 17:23:53 »

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!

I'd forgotten about that! I seem to remember that one of them was a tobacco kiosk but some
others there too. I guess they removed them to make more space for their tills.

Wasn't one of them owned by WH Smiths?  They used to sell that old favourite "Protect and Survive" there.

Argos and the next door sports shop started out as Forbouys, then became NSS and John Menzies (or it could have been in a different order) with a first floor area as well.

Wasn't Fads where the opening to go to Marks and Spencer is now?

I remember the odd moulded fibre-glass seats with fixed tables in red and green in the cafe area.  Great if you were in a group of four or less, and you weren't too tall or short :)
Posted by: seafordpete
« on: January 09, 2010, 09:30:35 »

The pub there which opened late December 1980 ( I think - in similar weather to this) was originally to be called "The Snooty Fox" after threat of legal action by a Restauranteur ( Conran?) with a place the same name it was changed to "Hungry  Fox". In all the panic the brewery forgot to apply for a licence and it was opened on a succession of occasional licences from all the local Whitbread managed houses in Medway. The other design failure was the building of a childrens play room with its own soft drinks bar at the end of the main bar. The magistrates went mad on their tour as seemingly the law referred not only to the purchase of alcohol by minors  but them  "having sight" of it being done. Another day wasted removing all the draught soft drinks kit so it could be boarded in.
Posted by: rainhamhistory
« on: January 08, 2010, 23:49:34 »

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!

I'd forgotten about that! I seem to remember that one of them was a tobacco kiosk but some others there too. I guess they removed them to make more space for their tills.
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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainsbury'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 http://www.hempsteadvalley.com/history
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)
Boots
Thomas Cook
Presto Supermarket (was then Safeway now BHS)
Wimpy Burger Bar
Spud-U-Like
Fads
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?

Andy
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


http://www.rainham-history.co.uk/html/hempstead_valley_savacentre.htm


Clive
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 »

Hi

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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