Doncaster's Frenchgate Shopping Centre celebrates 50th birthday milestone

The Frenchgate Centre has been at the heart of Doncaster's town centre for almost five decades - and next week marks exactly fifty years since it first opened its doors.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th September 2018, 4:10 pm
The Arndale Centre, Doncaster - 1985

later became the Frenchgate Centre
The Arndale Centre, Doncaster - 1985 later became the Frenchgate Centre

The centre, which was originally called the Arndale Centre, was officially opened on October 4, 1968, and has over 120 stores.

The shopping centre was renamed thirty years ago, in 1988, after a change of ownership, with the new name reflecting the name of the street which passes to the east of the centre and which is one of Doncaster’s main shopping streets.

Heaving with shoppers - Doncaster's Frenchgate Centre - 27th December 1994

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The sale of the centre came just a year after the Frenchgate had undergone a £200 million renovation to transform it into the country’s first shopping centre with integrated public transport and retail interchange.

The centre has been celebrating its milestone birthday with several events which looked back on the decades, and have also asked customers to share their memories of the mall throughout the years.

Paddy Mellon, Frenchgate General Manager, said: “We really want to say a huge thank you to all the people who’ve supported us throughout the years.”

Over the year, local Photographer Warren Draper has been capturing shoppers and his photos will form part of the centre’s new exhibition ‘His Faces of Frenchgate’ exhibition.

The Frenchgate Shopping Centre, Doncaster.

A series of events have been held over the year that celebrating the influence of the past five decades on fashion, beauty and technology.

Customers were also invited to show their love for the centre by writing a personalised padlock to attach to a dedicated locket wall, a nod to the famous lovers statue which was the centrepiece of the centre up until the mid 1980s.

The golden birthday will see the centre bringing back the lovers statue and there will also be a cupcake giveaway for 500 customers at an event, on October 6.

NEWS...28/12/98 Bargain hunters: Joanne Lumley, aged 13, her grandma Jessie Gardner, and friend Carol Lloyd, all of Skellow, are pictured shopping in BHS in Doncaster's Frenchgate Centre yesterday (28 Dec).
The Frenchgate Centre in April 1995. How many shops are still in the same location in the centre today?