No, we’re talking about the Centre:MK, who last month celebrated its 40th birthday, which is why this month we’re dedicating our blog to the shopping centre’s first four decades. Let’s take a look inside the listed landmark…
Opened by Maggie and made famous by Cliff, the Centre:MK was born at the very end of the disco era in 1979. It was designed to be the largest building in Milton Keynes and, in true Milton Keynes style, it was designed to buck architectural trends with its, intense natural light, polished mirror exterior, semi-tropical interior planting and showcases of public art. And buck the trends it did, opening with 130 shops, six department stores, the first UK McDonalds outside of London and thousands of visitors.
Old school cool
And the visitors kept on coming. So much so, that the Centre:MK outgrew its original walls and was extended in 1993. Forever known to locals as “the new bit”, Midsummer Place (now known as Intu Milton Keynes) earnt the shopping centre a place in the 1997 Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest shopping mall. 720 metres long to be precise. But that’s not the only showstopping stat about our much-loved shopping centre. It took five years to complete the Centre:MK at a cost of £23.9 million, the building contains enough glass to cover more than six football pitches, it would take four window cleaners two months to clean every window, each year the centre recycles 1,633,347 tonnes of waste. At its busiest, 5,000 people work in the centre, its 250,000 floor tiles were mined from a quarry in Italy and there used to be two pubs on-site.
So aside from a trip down memory lane and an excuse to eat some cake, what else does 40 years of the Centre:MK tell us? It tells us that Milton Keynes is a great place for starting, growing and scaling a business. You only have to look at the other big birthdays being celebrated in MK this year to understand the power of the local community: MK Springers - 15 years Milton Keynes Theatre - 20 years Hazard Alley - 25 years Milton Keynes Hospital - 35 years John Lewis, Boots, McDonalds and Milton Keynes Christian Centre - 40 years The Open University - 50 years And, let’s not forget the first birthday month of the Let Ready MK blog - a place to celebrate local businesses, developments and all things Milton Keynes. So cheers to 40 years, Milton Keynes birthdays and the very first Let Ready MK blog.