Hempstead Valley shopping centre, known locally as Savacentre or Sava is celebrating its 30th birthday this month. What may seem commonplace now was groundbreaking in 1978 as there were very few other out of town shopping centres of this size at the time.
When originally opened the main shop was Sainsburys Savacentre, the brand they originally created for their large hypermarkets. At the time Sainsburys was by far the largest supermarket in the UK with Tesco trailing far behind – a far cry from the current situation with Tesco leading the field. The centre was redeveloped in the early 1990s with an extension and new shops like M&S being added.
The challenge is to remember all the original shops that were there when the centre opens….Sainsburys, Presto (then became Safeway) - but which others?
Photos of the construction of the centre from 1977/1978 have just been loaded to the Rainham History site http://www.rainham-history.co.uk/html/hempstead_valley_savacentre.htm