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marketplace shopping centreIn Pictures:The Market Place Shopping Centre Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

27th November 2016
By Peter Chapman

The Market Place Shopping Centre in Burgess Hill has today turned 25 years old having opened its doors to the public back on November 27th 1991.

Shopping Centre Manager Chris Goldfinch - who has been there since the beginning - has kindly lent Burgess Hill Uncovered a photo album which shows the centre's construction, images of shops from years gone by, and some pictures of some events held at the centre - which are sure to feature people you know.

Here's the land on which the Market Place Shopping Centre was built on. It was formerly the home of the huge outdoor Market.

The cottages on the left were in Clifton Road - which had to be demolished to make way for the development.

In the distance on the right you will notice that McDonalds hadn't come to town yet. There was no Station Road car park either.

Here's the old paying booth for the car park where an actual human would take your money. In the background is Oathall Switches.

Here's the outside of the centre when it was all shiny and new. The exterior would change 5 years later as more units such as KFC were added.

Here's the inside of the centre when it first opened. Thankfully there's no empty units in 2016!

Due to the recession, it proved difficult to fill the units when the centre was first opened, so the fronts were covered in hardboard and local artists and schools were invited along to decorate them.

Before Wilkinson came along in 1996, the Market Place had a 'Market Hall' which enabled local entrepreneurs to sell their goods. It was the first home to Game Trader, who went on to have their own dedicated unit in the 'West Mall'...

The Market Place opened with just a car park and Waitrose while the main centre was still being completed. Early tennants included Boots, and this place....

The legendary Herbert Sports! But was it as good at David White Sports? They too had a stint at the Shopping Centre when they took over the old Blockbuster Video unit which is now home to CEX.

William Hill Interiors were also an early tennant at the centre, originally located where Wilkinson is now. What's that up above?.....

It's the 'Market Food Hall Place'! Do you remember it? It wasn't around for long as Wilkinson took the space for their offices and warehouse.

There was once a fancy central staircase, now the space is used for the customers of Costa Coffee.

The 'West Mall' underwent a reconfiguration in the mid-nineties.

The arrival of Wilkinson saw the Market Hall having to be relocated to the 'West Mall' It had a grand opening with EastEnders' market traders Big Ron and Winston being a big draw on the day.

In the early days there were no retail units underneath the Martlets Heights. How did we all cope without Papa John's?

There was once a covered walkway in the Market Place Car Park. It was removed during a reconfiguration that saw the new canopy added to building.

The Market Place used to play a big role in hosting events during the Summer Festival This picture is from the 1994.

Here's some local school children waving the french flag from a time when town twinning marginly mattered a bit more than it does now. Your author has included this picture as it features many of our old school friends. If you left Birchwood Grove in 1994, then you are in this!

The entrance to the Market Place from Church Road. WHSmith were still using their old logo. Across the way is Square One. Do you remember that shop?

More To Come!

All this week we'll be sharing more photos of the Market Place Shopping Centre across our Facebook , Twitter and Instagram pages. So be sure to keep an eye out!

Spread the word, the Market Place Shopping Centre is now 25 years old and we have a boat load of photos to share!

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What are your memories of the early days of the Market Place Shopping Centre? Are there any particular photos that you'd like to see?

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