THE TRAFFORD CENTRE

Grid Ref: SJ 770 966
Date: 22 Nov 2007, 23 Jan 2012, 13 Aug 2014, 28 Nov 2014, 16 Feb 2015, 1 September 2021

The Trafford Centre is a temple for the worship of commerce and conspicuous consumption. Its style is kitsch. Despite these reservations, I like it for the following reasons. You can walk around without a coat or umbrella on a winter's day; it is very clean and free of litter and unsightly graffiti, as it is private property and not a public right of way, there are no tramps, beggars or people sleeping in shop doorways; there is no motor traffic, nobody may eat take-away food or drink alcohol while walking round the shopping area; there is a wide range of catering to suit all tastes. I have visited the Trafford Centre on several occasions, usually with a small camera in hand. Photography used to be frowned on by the security staff but as so many tourists now take pictures on smart phones, they gave up trying to stop them. However, it is private property, so they are entitled to regulate what happens on their premises.

These pictures were taken when the Trafford Centre appeared to be almost fully occupied and the owners had plans to expand. Work had begun to put a roof over Barton Square. Financial problems arose when the Arcadia Group sought lower rents. In May 2019, Arcadia announced plans to close many of its stores and in the November it went into administration. Since then other retailers have acquired the brands involved but not the stores. The pandemic hit in March 2020 and on 1 December 2020 Debenhams went into administration. These changes have huge consequences for the Trafford Centre and it will be interesting to see what happens. In the meantime, here are pictures of it in its glory days. Pictures after the easing of Covid restrictions are shown at the end. Debenhams had closed, the M&S furniture store at the entrance to Barton Square had closed and several shops were displaying a window sized photograph of a shop or cafe.

Part 1: The Building.
  Entrance  
  Main Entrance on a wet day  
  Mall  
  View down the mall with Christmas lights  

 

Entrance   Stairs
Triumphal Arch   Marble Stairs up from the entrance
  Lamp
Columns with Lion   Entrance Hall Lamp
Escalator   Dome
Escalator under the dome   Under the Dome
Stairs   Steps
Half landing from entrance   Staircase with goddesses
 
Part 2. Decorative Features

 

Sculpture   Barton Square
Figures over the main entrance   Barton Square fountain
Capitol   Mermaids
Ionic Capitlol on marble pillar   Mermaids in Barton Square
Jazz band   Clock
Jazz Band as part of a New Orleans themed section   Clock in cafe
Bathing   Marble Steps
Classical ladies bathe in the mall   Marble steps and brass rails
Marble image   Roman
Nymphs and cherubs in a plaque on the stairs from the entrance   Roman figure
Urn   Lion
Marble urn   Lion outside Barton Sq.
Statue   Roman head
One of many classical statues in Barton Square   Classical head

On returning to the Trafford Centre in September 2021 after Covid 19 restrictions had been relaxed, I saw for the first time the changes to Barton Square, which had been given a glass roof. The mermaids and dolphins were polished and the upper level was paved in marble.

Barton Square
Barton Square newly roofed taken from the balcony at the far end
Trafford Centre   Trafford Centre
Quiet in front of old Debenhams   Centre of Barton Square
Dolphin   Mermaid
Polished dolphin   Polished mermaid

 

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