SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 20 of 767 Posts

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
A store that I feel is missing in Newcastle is the Habitat furniture/home furnishings store, they sell loads of cool mid range pieces and loads of nice decorative items for the home. Currently the nearest one is either Edinburgh or York. I emailed them several years back and they were really keen to find a location, could ES possibly be the solution? Many many years ago there was one in ES anyway. I often buy stuff from there but its a real pain haviong to pay to get it mailed out, would love it if it opened up here and I think it would do pretty well too!
The Habitat store in Eldon Square was a really big store, described in 1976 when ES opened, as one of the "anchor stores" of Eldon Square (along with M&S, Fenwicks, Bainbridge (called John Lewis now) and Mothercare). It was in a prominent place all along a long part of Blackettbridge as is shown on this 1976 ES Map. It was next to that 'brick built' open sited Cafe (remember?) called Sarah's Cafe I think (not certain about the name).



It is quite interesting to see the names of all the shops (on the map) that were there in 1976, when it first opened. There have been a lot of shop-changes since then!

Yes, it would be excellent to have Habitat back in Newcastle again, but I thought they closed a lot of shops as they became a bit unfashionable. Are they 'fashionable' (again) now?

Certainly the Newcastle store must have been profitable, it was always very busy, I seem to remember, with people buying rather than just looking.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
cool that you have that image, I think the problem back then was Habitiat was a little ahead of its time for Newcastle, if it were to open today I'm sure it would do well, good furniture/homewares is something we lack in Newcastle Barker and Stonehouse is OK but all the stuff they sell you can get much cheaper on the net. Another good store that should open would be MUJI, again most large cities have these, we really need to be brought up to speed in that department.
It certainly did not feel ahead of its time in the 70s and 80s when it was packed out and we used to shop there. Most people I knew did shop there, and while it was regarded as 'modern' it certainly suited Newcastle in the 1970s, down to the ground! It seemed like a very permanent feature of the shopping scene, like it was 'always going to be there', if you know what I mean!

Remember, Newcastle City Centre was even more dominant regionally and nationally as a shopping destination then, than now. Eldon Square was the first real big "City Centre" American-style shopping mall (easy to build in a green field site like the Metrocentre, but VERY difficult to 'graft into' an existing, old, City Centre) and of course Northumberland Street was then the richest shopping street in the country (revenue per square foot) apart from Oxford Street, in London.

I think the Habitat chain had problems in other parts of the country, rather than here, hence the constriction in their overall shop numbers.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
I'm just woundering why Mothercare don't have a store in Newcastle, nor do the ELC. I know Mothercare used to (not sure where though), I'm not sure on the ELC though, but again these are shops that are basic citey centre shops that we don't have, and just having them would be great to fill in some gaps.
Hi Chris,

Yes, if you look at the map I posted earlier in this thread (Post 20) you can 'just make out' Mothercare towards the 'top left' corner. It was one of the (as said) "anchor stores" of Eldon Square, along with M&S, Fenwicks, Bainbridge (now John Lewis) and Habitat, who would (and did) draw the other 100 or so stores in.

The arrival of Eldon Square in 1976, was THE most exciting of times (LOADS of new shops) in Newcastle City Centre Retail!!! Happy Days.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
Mothercare was where there now stands Monsoon/Accessorise. And Debenhams was the original anchor store for Eldon Garden, where now stands the defunct Pier, but it didnt last long due to its poor location and small size/limited offering. ELC have a store in Eldon Square, i was just in there last month getting Lebowski junior some typically noisy (and overpriced) toys...

Newcastle has always hovered 'there or thereabouts' in the top 15 nationally, but has suffered from some pretty high profile withdrawals. Some of these were just ill advised (Who remembers Hamley's and Lillywhites trying their luck up here?) others were just victims of bad location and poor planning (eg most of Market streets recent offering - Jigsaw, Shellys, Karen Millen etc)

Muji have looked at both Newcastle and M/C so they may land in the future.
Yes, I remember Hamley's on Northumberland Street, in the old Callers building (See the Historic Newcastle Photos thread).
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
I'd like to see an actual street created through from Northumberland Street to Eldon Square/New Bus Station. It wouldn't really take much as the link between Eldon Square and M&S is quite small and could be replaced by a overhead glass crossing similar to one i've seen in Manchester although i can't remember where it actually is.

Yes, re-create the old Prudhoe Street that was always there until circa 1976. Standing on Northumberland Street, you had the original 'Northumberland Arms' (pretty much where the current one is) on the left hand corner, and M & S on the right hand corner, and you could walk up Prudhoe Street past the Prudhoe Street Mission on your right, which I think was a building that had become (may be wrong) the 'Dole Office', all the way to Percy Street. I have a photo somewhere, I'll try to insert it later.

But, a good idea to do what you suggest elliot.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
An interesting article in the Newcastle Journal today (21st October 2009) . . .

The MetroCentre and Eldon Square are two of the best known shopping centres in Britain and have done much to establish the region as a retail and leisure destination.

ELDON Square came first as the largest redevelopment of Newcastle’s central core and for some years was unchallenged as a shopping centre. Sir John Hall’s MetroCentre upset the apple cart in a significant way, drawing away from the city centre retail spend to what was billed as Europe’s largest shopping destination. Hard as it is to re-live those heady days when it is clear that high streets are presently seriously challenged by the recession, the cut and thrust between MetroCentre and Eldon Square was fascinating to watch. Who was going to MetroCentre and who was not was summed up at the time by one leading property journalist as "gladiatorial combat". The outcome two decades later is a calm balance between the two centres with Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) now driving both developments. MetroCentre had its Red Mall redevelopment and Eldon Square is now going through a significant redevelopment process.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
Yes, re-create the old Prudhoe Street that was always there until circa 1976. Standing on Northumberland Street, you had the original 'Northumberland Arms' (pretty much where the current one is) on the left hand corner, and M & S on the right hand corner, and you could walk up Prudhoe Street past the Prudhoe Street Mission on your right, which I think was a building that had become (may be wrong) the 'Dole Office', all the way to Percy Street. I have a photo somewhere, I'll try to insert it later.

But, a good idea to do what you suggest elliot.
Here are the promised Prudhoe Street photos. I think it is interesting to see the 'original' Northumberland Arms, knowing it is standing pretty much where the new one (post-1976) is now . . .

Looking up Prudhoe Street from Northumberland Street to Percy Street. Note the 'old' M&S is still there, prior to it's own late 1960s development into its current building, which has since been extended again, of course


At the extreme left of the above photo is the Northumberland Arms . . you cannot see it above, so here it is
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
I'm amazed that the only KFC in town is on Grainger Street to be honest. Though with none in Sunderland anymore I'm wondering if they're retreating from the N.East?
There is one at Cowgate, and two at the Metrocentre/Metro Retail Park, and one is about to open at Killingworth Shopping Centre.

My guess is that they are pulling out of City Centres (perhaps) and concentrating on 'out of town' sites, with drive-thru facilities . . .
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
I agree with the first part og your comment, but you like the brown glass entrances?! I was lookinh at them today, wondering why they haven't done something about them yet!
Is this the glass area you mean (I know it goes right around the corner over the entrance)?

I have always quite liked it, particularly how it reflects Emmerson Chambers and so on. Those shots have appeared on Album Covers, and all sorts . . .



(PS, I tried inserting a particular photo from the internet, that I liked, but for some bizarre reason it would not load. So, here is one that I took in July 1977 . . . )
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
As this is the 'City Centre Retail' thread, and at Post 13 we talk about the new Debenhams Department Store on Newgate Street . . .

Well, here is my favourite photo of the former Co-op Department Store that would have been directly opposite Debenhams, and would have benefited greatly from that.

This photo (in my view) shows the whole building off BETTER than any other photo of it I have ever seen.



What a shame it is no longer a Department Store.

But . . the building itself is still there - so all is not lost . . .
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
I don't care about KFC leaving Northumberland St, we still have one in the Bigg market. I am though disapointed that it is to be replaced by a NBS. Although I would like to see NBS and Northern Rock expand, I feel as though the size of that store is right for retail with it's prime location.
Yes, I think I have made my views clear in the past about "Northumberland Street being prime retail" (though I was mainly talking about the area south of M & S) but it is a pity to lose this site to a Bank/Building Society. I quite like KFC too!!
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
Im afraid theres no 'probably' about it...another slap in the face for those who bollocksed-up this potentially fantastic project.
You know, I agree entirely.

BUT (and we are perhaps one of the best 'groups of people' available to comment on this, because of our interest in the subject) what can Newcastle City Council NOW do about this . . ?

I must admit, I don't know, but if we put our heads together . .

Perhaps, if we all sort of 'brainstorm' it . . . we might come up with something we can put to them as the way forward.

I don't know.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
Let's make a list of the issues we identify in this discussion, then we can 'accumulate' them (the issues) and ultimately consider solutions to

(a) each of the individual issues, and
(b) the overal Graingertown problem.

OK?

So far then, we have identified . . .

1 - We need to bring 'whole buildings' (IE, shop (ground floor) level AND the upper floors) into use in Graingertown.

2 - If to continue as 'retail', can we set-up and sustain 'high end' (fashion etc) retail, in between Monument and (part-way-down) Grainger Street, at the point that we meet up with TJ Hughes, because TJ Hughes IS there, we cannot change that.

3 - If so, what do we then do with Grainger Street from TJ Hughes to Central Station, and the beautiful 'short' offshoot streets such as Nun Street?

4 - Or, should "Monument to TJ Hughes" specialise in something else? If so . . what?

That is my summation of issues so far (1 to 4) now WHAT ELSE can we think of??
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
23,210 Posts
If you could get rid of TJ Hughes we could start again- maybe they could relocate to the old Co-op building? Just an idea.


This makes sense to me!
OK . . .

5 - Get rid of TJ Hughes. (I am not sure if that is a practicable suggestion, albeit desirable)

6 - There appears scope for more (perhaps new to the City Centre) restaurants (though we should keep that idea for when we get to considering solutions really . . . ) in this area. NB - Do you mean "Monument to TJ Hughes" or "TJ Hughes to Central and offshoots" or "both" ??
 
1 - 20 of 767 Posts
Top