‘Lifeline for the borough’ - Market Gates Shopping Centre through the years
PUBLISHED: 13:51 22 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:51 22 September 2019
On the surface it’s like any other shopping centre in the country with its franchises, cafes and brand-names.
But Market Gates in Great Yarmouth also sits in the ghostly outlines of the town's long history, stretching all the way back to medieval times and unfurling forward into the swinging sixties, when The Beatles played a gig in what once was a cinema - and is now a Costa.
The mall was built in 1976 on an area that had been damaged during the Second World War.
It was opened two years later.
In medieval times the site was surrounded by a town wall, built with flint from the beach, stretching more than 2,000 yards and standing 23 foot tall.
During the 14th century there was a paved, open-air market which every Easter played host to a fair.
In 1989 the ABC cinema on Regent Street, where the Beatles played in 1963, was demolished to make way for the shopping district.
The town wall still stands, some sections still missing and the part under the Market Gates hidden from view.
Near the O2 shop there once stood a charity school in the 18th century.
In 2007 the mall was expanded and one year later opened to the public with additional stores.
Now the building, which incorporates a bus station and multi-storey carpark, houses 40 stores with Wilko, Debenhams, New Look, Starbucks and Burger King among the familiar names.
And while the centre has been described by a former councillor as a "lifeline for the borough", it has suffered some negative news over the years.
Mothercare moved out just over ten years ago after three decades in the town - one of the first major names to pull out and a sign that all was not well in town centres.
In March 2012 the shopping centre went into administration and was bought a year later by a group called Elandi for £28m.
In April this year it was announced the Debenhams store would close in January 2020.
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