The Intu Victoria Centre

Nottingham’s Victoria Centre is 50 years old, and the city has been taking a trip down memory lane ahead of some special events planned in celebration. 

When the Victoria Centre opened in 1972, Edward Heath was Prime Minister, the Berlin wall was still standing and T. Rex were number one in the Official Singles Chart.

Nottingham’s shopping centre was one of a string set up in the 1960s as shoppers started to realise the value of having everything under one roof.

Previously, the site was occupied by the Nottingham Victoria Railway Station and its clock tower was retained and incorporated into the design of the new building.

The Victoria Railway Centre in the 1960s and then the Victoria Shopping Station in 2006.

The Victoria Centre, built by Taylor Woodrow between 1967 and 1972, was home to Boots’ flagship store.

The store moved from Clumber Street, where it had been since 1849, and Jessop & Son department store (‘Jessops’), now John Lewis & Partners, also moved in.

The Emett Clock

The Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator, nicknamed the ‘Emett Clock’, was installed shortly after the centre opened. Water-powered, it was designed by sculptor Rowland Emett, whose machines featured in the film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Many people from Nottingham remember throwing a coin into the fountain of the Emett clock and making a wish.

Children of the 70s and 80s may remember ‘the snake’ climbing frame which was a popular pits stop for parent shoppers.

In 2015, a major refurbishment was made which made more the shopping centre more spacious. It included the creation of a designated dining area and cost £42 million pounds. Victoria Centre said footfall, dwell time, average spend and the use of the car park all increased.

A modern Victoria Centre

The COVID-19 lockdowns had a heavy hit on the income of the centre as nearly every shop, restaurant and entertainment complex had to close. The Victoria Centre was a ghost-town for much of 2020 apart from people using supermarkets.

To celebrate the anniversary many Nottingham celebrities are visiting the ‘Viccie’ centre and taking photos on a selfie wall. Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure, Youtuber Ladbaby and boxer Carl Froch to name just three.

The Victoria Centre in 2022.

Members of the public are encouraged to take part in the ‘Wall of Fame’ which will see 14,000 individual pictures layered next to each other to form two secret giant pictures, marking 50 years of the Victoria Centre. Anyone can take a picture using an interactive screen, print it off and stick it on the wall to be part of the artwork. People can also participate virtually by using the #vcwalloffame hashtag.