Calls for memories of Sheffield toy store Redgates to live on as demolition workers move in

The former Redgates store. Picture: Dean Atkins.
The former Redgates store. Picture: Dean Atkins.
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It was dubbed as the finest toy shop outside London but 30 years since it closed its doors for the final time the demolition of Sheffield's Redgates has begun.

Thousands of Sheffielders memories will be consigned to rubble after bulldozers moved in on the site yesterday to make way for the ongoing redevelopment of The Moor and city centre.

But a family member of the former owners wants those memories to live on and called for the redeveloped site, which will be a huge H&M store, to be known as the Redgate Building.

Maggie Nunn, who worked at the store with her former husband John Nunn, said: "There is so much love and affection for Redgates in Sheffield that it would be great for the new building to be known as The Redgate Building.

"It would mean an awful lot to the family. There were 52 members of the family involved as shareholders and there were about ten of them who actually worked there so it would be great for them.

"But it would also mean a lot to the people of Sheffield because everyone of a certain age has memories of the shop."

The huge store, across several floors, was a haven of brightly coloured stacks of Lego, dolls’ houses, Subbuteo, Meccano, bikes, outfits, Matchbox cars, railway sets, wooden horses and board games.

And staff would be encouraged to play with toys in the store - especially in the run-up to Christmas each year when it would come into its own.

Ms Nunn added: "It was sad to see the building being pulled down but, on the other hand, it was nice that it brought all those memories to the fore. I worked there myself for a little bit and it wasn't just a toy shop, it was a very special place.

"It was a place where people could go and touch and play with toys - that was encouraged. It was a very friendly shop and people would spend hours in there.

The shop was founded on Fargate by Edwin Redgate in 1857, later moving to The Moor and then Fitzwilliam Gate.

But the building is being demolished to make way for a new unit for fashion retailer H&M as part of the third phase of the development of The Moor and ongoing development of the city centre.

Phil Huby, head of retail at Aberdeen Standard Investments, who are carrying out the works on The Moor, said: “We have been able to secure leading occupiers in the market due to our continued commitment to Sheffield and the 22 per cent increase in footfall during 2017 when we recorded 11.2 million visitors to The Moor.

“We are also keen to ensure the leisure offers compliment the area and the city. Lane7 (bowling alley) will be a great addition to Phase 3 helping to provide a variety of leisure options to shoppers giving more reasons to increase their time on The Moor.

“New Look will sit well alongside anchor fashion tenant H&M. Demolition and refurbishment on this block starts this summer aiming for trading 2019.

“The level of Interest in the scheme and the environment we can offer on The Moor is both reassuring and exciting. It demonstrates confidence that we are providing what the occupational market and consumer want.”