Marymead Shopping Centre c.1960

By Jill Campbell

Marymead Shopping Centre c.1960
Stevenage Museum P9159

The building of Marymead Shopping Centre in Broadwater Crescent was completed in 1957. Building of the neighbourhood of Broadwater began in 1953, so the residents had quite a wait for their local shops to be completed!

After much protest, temporary shops were set up in the ground floor of the houses 299 to 309 Broadwater Crescent. There was also a Co-op caravan situated opposite, and some local traders came round regularly in vans to deliver goods to the residents. When the new shopping centre opened in 1957, the 6 temporary shops moved into new shops in the shopping centre and the houses were returned to their original use.

Do you remember the temporary shops? Can you tell us what they were?

This page was added on 07/01/2011.

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  • The grumpy old man in the toy shop play land was my dad. I’m Janet and have a brother called Colin. I never knew anyone saw my dad as grumpy, he always seemed jolly to us and he did get his stock in the shop at the end of the day but it had to go in his way or it would not fit.

    By Mrs J Billingham (formerly Soloman) (15/06/2023)
  • I moved to Stevenage when I was 13. 1959, when I was 15, started going to Marymead cafe. My friend Gillian and I used to put money in the Jukebox and jive. Met my first boyfriend there called Shandy, he was a member of a motorcycle gang. Great weekends.

    By Janet Pearce (26/03/2023)
  • My parents moved to Marymead Drive in early 1954. My father worked for English Electric. I started at Roebuck School in 1958 and remember walking down Broadwater Crescent to school every day. I think one of the teachers was a Mrs Asprey?

    By Deborah (04/10/2021)
  • What I can tell you is that the greengrocers was owned by a formidable lady called Rosemary, we were scared of her as children, (1970’s) she was very matter of fact. I remember being pushed around in a trolley at Tesco, opposite the Co-op, as a toddler. There was a bakery which smelled lovely and my mum used to clean the cafe at the back of marymead shops, opposite the toy shop that shop ‘dinky car’ in a glass counter and had lots of beautiful shiny bikes all up in the ceiling. Next door was the wood shop, little interest to me as a child but my dad was often in there!

    By Clancy (13/09/2021)
  • Because most council houses had generously sized gardens including the two storey flats, we were reliant on Spencers Nurseries on the Hertford Rd. I also remember that before the building of the Hertford Rd estate the mist could be so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face.

    By Brett Fisher (30/03/2021)
  • I remember the co op supermarket opposite foxes stores I had to remember our Divi number which i still remember to this day 12059

    By Brett Fisher (29/03/2021)
  • don’t forget the RSPCA caravan and all the dentist surgeries which were on every corner “free” compared to the present day!
    Also local police had purpose built accommodation in Spring Drive

    By Brett Fisher (26/03/2021)
  • Grix was indeed the hardware shop. I remember my parents getting these huge wallpaper sample folders from them every couple of years to choose their latest, gaudy decor scheme.
    And the supermarket/grocer was if I remember rightly call Foxes, same as the shop in Queensway in town.

    By Pete Terry (28/07/2020)
  • Chris Legrand – Playland’s shopkeeper was a Mr. Solomon, a grumpy chap at the best of times.
    Half the shop was a toy shop with hundreds of Airfix models high in the rafters. Mr Solomon would fetch a long pole to get them down if you wanted one.
    The other half of the shop was given over to bicycles and mopeds (mainly Raleighs) When the shop was open he would line them all up outside. How he got them all back inside at the end of the day always amazed me.

    By Pete Terry (28/07/2020)
  • I lived in spring drive I remember grix & the toy shop not far from the council office where my mum used to pay the rent also there was a wool shop next to the fish & chip shop gladstone court flats were not built it was just grass.

    By Jayne McDonald-Payne (14/06/2020)
  • Does any one remember the ford family especially Irene ford She worked at English Electric Co I think they lived in St Margrets near Broadwater shops I have been trying to find them for a very long time. Roy

    By Roy Newton (20/12/2019)
  • I moved into 309 with my parent, which used to be the temporary home for the hardware store (I believe it was Grix) I can remember the leftover screws and washers imbedded in the floor. I can remember the Marymead shops and the confusion caused when the food shop converted to self service – I think it was a Spar shop.

    By Mick Hursey (01/08/2019)
  • I remember the toyshop. It was called ‘Playland’. It was right round the shops, tucked away.
    The man that owned it often wore a bobble hat, and I was convinced that he was Harry Corbett. The man that owned Sooty & Sweep.
    I remember going in there with my dad to get bike tyres and inner tubes etc, but on one occasion I remember being bought a yellow Corgi Beach Buggy, to keep me quiet whilst we watched my brother playing rugby on some fields nearby.

    By Chris Legrand (19/06/2019)
  • Yes. The fish and chips were exceedingly good. Pity about everything else! My Mother used to bundle us kids up and drag us across the corn fields south of the town to do her shopping in Knebworth Village. People were definately made of tougher stuff back then.

    By Nigel (11/09/2018)
  • The one thing I remember about Marymead Shops was the café, frequented by many of the youngsters in the area during the 60’s. I think it was at one time a car showroom – not sure what finally became of it?
    Also remember the local group “The Sinners” mentioned by Len Crawley who was their drummer. I knew Len during the 60’s. I believe a mutual friend of ours also played for The Sinners – Ricky Payne. Recall them playing a few gigs at the recreation centre in Shephall Park.

    By Martin B (14/08/2018)
  • Farrs the sweet shop was in the original shops that moved to the new Marymead shopping area, thats where the cigarette machine was. The greengrocer was Batemans, Foxes grocer store, Westminster Wine, the Barbers round the back and a toy shop.

    By Gary (08/01/2018)
  • The Church next to the shops was one that my group ‘The Sinners’ from the 60’s once played in
    I remember this area of Stevenage well

    By Len Crawley (19/12/2017)
  • Spent a lot of time at Maymead. I remeber one of the shops had a cigarette machine outside where you could buy a pack of 5 Bachelors!

    By David Jackson (18/08/2017)
  • Cox’s the butchers was in a house in Broadwater Crescent next to Fellows Way,then they moved into Roebuck shops; in Mary mead shops was one shop a café,then car sales?,me and mother walked to Old Town for shopping,had to walk along busy A1,we got some food from Gunners the butchers.

    By Paul Johnson (27/06/2015)
  • i came to Stevenage in the summer of 54 and before the shops and temp shops we had to walk to the old town.i remember John Cochlan who lived at 23,i was at 38 his dad Jock used to cut me and my dad Jimmy’s hair.anybody remember me?

    By terry hutt (12/02/2015)
  • Marymead shops… great fish & chips. Used to cycle up the hill from Broad Oak Way and then cycle like crazy back to eat them warm from the newspaper!! Vague recollections of the coffee cabin. My elder brothers used to take me and my sister up there for “frothy” coffee. The Church St Peter’s… where I was baptized!!

    By Terri Anderson (18/06/2012)
  • I used to live in Holly Leys so I used the temporary shops. All I can remember is Pearce the bakers, greengrocers and the Ironmongers - they relocated to the Marymead shops. Before the co-op caravan which was opposite the shops we had mobile shops - the co-op, Fine Fare, bread van and drinks van which sold spirits and lemonade from a bedford van. I used to work on it.

    By john cochlan (26/11/2011)