Well, today was the day. Over two years after demolition started, the new mall at Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre opened to the public. What with having to do work and stuff, I didn’t go along for the morning opening, but had a look at lunchtime. And it was full. I’ve no idea how many people were in there at the same time, but it was really hard to get through them all. But I managed somehow. Given the crowding, I didn’t attempt to take any pictures, but I did have a good look round.

The new mall is in the more modern style – very high, very wide and lots of light. Quite a contrast from the original 1976 parts of the centre, which, while they’ve been tarted up and brightened up substantially[1], still have the legacy of the thinking of the time: the walkways were relatively dim, with low ceilings and all the light coming from the shopfronts. I seem to remember a lot of brown ceilings in the very early 1980s, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, most of the new shops are of minimal interest to me – lots of fashion stores, mainly. I’ll be giving the new Debenhams department store a visit at some point, but I generally only visit such places when I need something specific. For me, the highlight is the Apple Store. Not just because it’s all shiny and full of nice toys, but because it now means repairs and support for my Macs will be much easier to get in a convenient location. This store fills in a quite large gap – the nearest ones were in Sheffield or Glasgow, either of which requires a quite long trip, whether by road or train.

As you might expect on its first day, the store was nearly as full as the mall, but it was still possible to have a good look at the toys on offer.

[1] In part by making big holes in the roof and adding lots of glass