Hello there, I decided to return to The Bridge Shopping Centre in Portsmouth after a year away. On my first visit there, in 2017, it had been a dead shopping centre that had been reduced to a corridor between the main road and the Asda superstore that both overlooked it, and owned it. However, by 2019, some local businesses had begun reopening the spaces that national chains had left behind, and the atmosphere was slowly returning. All the while, I continued receiving messages asking about the centre, or sharing their memories of it.
To be honest, the video I shot inside The Bridge this time around is not very good, and the reason was because the centre was JUST TOO BUSY. More shops have opened, and more people are walking through. It’s easy to film the late Eighties design in an empty centre, when few people had a reason to walk through, other than the Asda of course, but this time, there were simply too many people to film around, and standing still being ready to film something looks arguably more suspicious than just walking around with a camera. However, what this meant is that we have a success story - this dead mall is no longer dead.
What I will do now is play you the footage I have, and I will be back with more in a moment.
...and that was that. As you can see, more shops have opened: an African food market, a further furniture outlet, a baby buggy shop and a barber shop. The Cubana Beach Club outside has now been replaced with one of those virtual reality escape room places. Asda has done a good job of enticing businesses back in but, as you can see, it is primarily local businesses that are responsible for the renewal of the centre, and with national chains continuing to close stores, it will be local businesses that will keep The Bridge open.
Once again, this is a dead mall success story.
Thank you for watching. As ever, the nostalgia culture crisis continues at www.dancingwiththegatekeepers.com