RETRO: Colin Drury brings history back to life

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A peak at the past

IT is the Sheffield district shopping centre which boasts 94 stores, 100 market stalls, two tram stops and 13 million visitors to its 40-acre site every single year.

Now Crystal Peaks, in Waterthorpe, has another impressive number to add to its tally: this year is its 25th anniversary.

The massive complex was officially opened by mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington in June 1988 and bosses this week announced they would celebrate the landmark birthday year with 12 months of events.

And they’ve kicked things off by opening their archives and sharing these pictures of people enjoying the Peaks’ past.

“Crystal Peaks has always been about the local community,” says manager Lee Greenwood. “It was built specifically for the new estates which appeared here in the Seventies and Eighties. Until then, this area was largely farmland and the new communities had no town centre. We became that town centre.

“That means we are a destination for people coming from across Sheffield and North Derbyshire to have a day out but the centre’s also a place where people who live nearby can come and do their local shop two or three times a week. We provide that mix.”

And the centre - originally developed by Chesterfield Properties but now run by Hermes - has also provided plenty of entertainment down the years. As these pictures prove.

From celebrities (Mark Wright, Katie Ford and Postman Pat, anyone?) to life-sized dinosaur models, from boxing contests to princess pageants, one thing you could never accuse the centre of being is just another mini Meadowhall.

“We like to do things which bring a sense of fun to the place,” says Lee. “It helps create a unique and vibrant atmosphere.”