All the shops that were in the Broadmarsh Centre when it opened

Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in around 1975; Richard Shops and Gordon Scott can be seen on the right.
Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in around 1975; Richard Shops and Gordon Scott can be seen on the right. -Credit:J Snowden and

The remains of the Broadmarsh Centre could be seen by some as a grim metaphor for Nottingham in 2024. The city we all love is skint and despite a lot of effort, the remnants of the hulking great building looms over one of the main pedestrian gateways into the city.

There is some hope though, despite a critical lack of funding. The Green Heart is on its way, in theory, and there's plenty of other work ongoing in the Lister Gate area that should hopefully give the area a boost.

It wasn't always that way though. Those who travelled to the city on the train used to walk through a thriving shopping centre full of big-name brands, many of whom no longer grace any UK high street.

We thought we'd look back at the Broadmarsh Centre's glory days, when it first opened in 1974 and the official launch party for the city's exciting new shopping experience a year later. The opening ceremony was performed by the Duke of Gloucester - outside Dolcis - on March 25 that year.

But what was there to attract shoppers to this new mall? The main draw in the centre was a large Cooperative store which had soft furnishings, electrical goods, hosiery and other goods, as well as a restaurant.

But there were plenty of other shops to choose from, too. They included:

Choice (lighting and homeware). This was on the entrance to the shopping centre from Drury Walk, directly opposite the old Bench and Bar pub.

Currys (electrical). Still very much going, but not in the Broadmarsh.

Dixons (electrical). Founded in 1937, the chain closed in 2006, although many stores became Currys.

Decor Mecca (wallpapers and interiors). Great name, clearly not so great a shop, as it doesn't seem to have been around for too long.

Dolcis (shoes). Fun fact: Dolcis was one of the first UK retailers to use the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system - basically the first mainstream computerised system for selling items in shops.

Etam (women's clothing). You went to Tammy at a certain age, and then you progressed to Etam. So I'm told. Etam was bought by Sir Phillip Green's company in 2005, and were converted to other stores in the group.

Gentz. This was a fashion menswear shop owned by the Flitterman brothers, who also had Laurence Menswear at the side of the council house and three Army Surplus stores in Nottingham.

Gordon Scott (shoes). This famous Nottingham store originally opened in Friar Lane in 1964, before moving to the Broadmarsh Centre in the 1970s, and then on to Lister Gate in 2011. It was, of course, home to Charlie the Chimp, the mechanical monkey in the shop window that fascinated / freaked out generations of young children.

John Farmer (shoes).

John Menzies (books and magazines). It was a rival to WHSmith. And it was eventually sold to WHSmith.

Luminare (lighting).

Newman Granger (fashion). This was on the first floor. And a velvet skirt suit in black or brown (nice!) would have set you back £32.30.

Peter Robinson (department store). This was once one of the most famous retailers in the country - in fact, a certain Mr John Lewis reportedly worked as a drapery assistant for store founder Peter Robinson. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Interior of Broadmarsh in around 1975, showing Stylo and Peter Robinson
The entrance to the Broadmarsh Centre just after it opened in 1975

Poyser (jewellery).

Ratners (jewellery). This was located next to Gentz. You probably remember this one. The firm went into freefall after Gerald Ratner's comment in 1991 about one of its decanters being 'total c**p' (although the company later recovered as part of the Signet Group).

Richard Shops (women’s fashion). This was a big high street name from the 1960s right through the early 1990s, when it was bought by the owners of Selfridges. The shops had closed by the end of the decade - but you might still remember the jingle for the shops, which went along the lines of 'Richard Shops are filled with all the pretty things' (see below).

Stylo (shoe shop).

Wimpy (restaurant). The chain once had more than 500 outlets in the UK, including this one. It's coming back too, apparently

Witney (furnishings).

The above list is not definitive, so if you know of any others then let us know, in the comments below.