40 Years test

Forty Years of Queensgate

In the late summer of 1976, planning permission was granted for a new purpose-built shopping centre in the heart of Peterborough.

In November of the same year, the John Lewis Partnership announced they had agreed to be the anchor store for the development, marking the company’s return to the city after an absence of over twenty five years.

Andy Cole, a financial surveyor who saw the project from start to finish shares some of his experiences:
“Once we had agreed a figure, a cheque would appear sometime later and it was my job to deliver it to the National Westminster Bank and handover £14 to have it telegraphically transferred to Carlisle – this was ‘cash flow’ 1980 style.

One month I stood on Cathedral Square with a cheque for three million pounds in my pocket.” – Andy Cole On the 9th March 1982 the Queensgate Centre opened, followed by an official opening ceremony by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands on the 18th or November of the same year. Whether it was Walkmans, crimped hair and yuppies in the 80’s, hip-hop grunge and the worldwide web in the 90’s, social networks and Harry Potter in the noughties or Tik-Tok and the Kardashians in the last decade, Queensgate has remained a focal point at the heart of the city.
This exhibition presents a visual journey through the last four decades, charting the changing faces of the Queensgate Centre over its forty year history. Today the centre continues to evolve and respond to the needs of the Peterborough community.

In 2022, Empire Cinemas will be the new anchor tenant in a new £60 million extension known as The Loft, with a new food court and several new stores on the way.

With special thanks to Chris Porsz, Andy Cole, peterboroughimages.co.uk and everyone else involved in capturing Queensgate over the years. See more of Chris’ work at www.chrisporsz.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Construction begins with the formation of walls

Looking east with the back of Westgate arcade and the Still P.H. visible. The east end of John Lewis abuts existing Westgate buildings

Construction of the car parks

An aerial image showing: John Lewis near left at one storey high, The central area raising from ground level and the basement tunnel and excavations. The old post office building is still there and the Peterborough Telegraph offices are yet to be built. The site offices are tight against the Bourges Boulevard roundabout. The car parks have yet to be built

The construction of the New Bridge across the Nene in August 1983. This structure has this year been undergoing structural repairs including to its foundations. There is currently a steel pile cofferdam in place

Blocks of tar being melted down to be used in the construction, specifically on the roof

Materials arrive on-site for cement works

Workers taking a well earned break from the construction of Queensgate

Man with walking stick on Cathedral Square outside hoardings before the clearing of the site occurred

Construction of Queensgate basement begins

The construction underway

 

Construction of Queensgate basement begins

Looking across the Queensgate site from Long Causeway with Peterborough hospital in the distance

An extract from the John Laing Construction Staff paper ‘Team Spirit, August, 1979’

Construction in action

 

A member of the public taking a seat in Central Square

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands enjoying a display of Morris dancing at the official opening

Queensgate being officially opened to the public by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1982

Going up! The glass sided lift at the centre

Don Miller’s, the Greggs of the day, serving everything from fresh bread to cakes and hot pizza

Crowds of shoppers enjoying their day in the centre

Trendy girls compare fashions in the mid eighties

Punks checking out some new books in Virgin