RETRO: The birth of Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre

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What can you say about Meadowhall Shopping Centre?

It is the powerhouse which revolutionised Sheffield’s shopping, and put the city on the map for retail tourists across the region.

When it opened in September 1990, Meadowhall was the second-largest shopping complex in the UK.

It was an instant success, attracting 20 million shoppers in its first year.

The centre was built on the site of a former steelworks and boasts a floor area of 1.5 million square feet.

Here, you can see the scenes on the centre’s opening day, when the centre looked a little different.

The most obvious is the Oasis dining hall.

Back in the 1990s, the Oasis’ centrepiece was a large screen on one wall which played live television as well as music videos. If you were visiting Meadowhall on a Monday night, you would be lucky enough to catch an episode of Coronation Street booming out across the Oasis.

That was done away with and the food court was subject to a £7million redevelopment in 2011.

What you might not be aware of is Meadowhall’s eco-friendly approach.

The centre has, from 2006, harvested rainwater and condensation from air conditioning, as well as a ‘bore hole’ drilled into the ground, which is used to flush toilets and water garden areas. The tanks, at seven metres high, can hold 30,000 litres of water each.

The centre also recycles 97 per cent of waste and has an on-site recycling facility. Nothing is sent to landfill.

Looking to the future, the centre is set to be overhauled with a £50million refurbishment.

Some argue that the giant has contributed to the decline of the city centre.

Meadowhall will have to fight off the new £480million Sheffield Retail Quarter, but whatever your view, there is no denying Meadowhall’s iconic place in Sheffield’s history.