Romford's oldest shopping hall to celebrate 90th birthday

Romford Shopping Hall in 1932 and today

Left: Romford Shopping Hall in 1932 among Romford's bustling cattle market. Right: Romford Shopping Hall today, about to celebrate its 90th year in business - Credit: Land Management Limited

Romford’s oldest shopping hall is gearing up to celebrate its 90th birthday this year. 

Romford Shopping Hall is a family-run business opened in 1932 by entrepreneur Stanley Sunnucks following the success of his first store, the East Ham Market Hall, which will mark its centenary birthday this year.

When the centre first opened its doors, Romford was a market town known for trading livestock and goods between Essex and London.

Over the years, the hall has had to adapt to survive as some custom moves online, said sales and marketing manager Michelle Fitzgibbons, and the hall now hosts more service-based businesses. 

“We are one big massive shopping hall family,” said Michelle, who thanked customers for their support.

A long-standing staff member, head of maintenance John Beasley, 61, known to colleagues as ‘John’ll fix it’, has been employed at the hall his entire working life - 50 years. He is due to retire this year.

Head of maintenance at Romford Shopping Hall, John Beasley

Head of maintenance John Beasley is retiring this year after 50 years of service. - Credit: Michelle Fitzgibbons

Current owner William Sunnucks, 65, said he hopes to keep the business in the family for several generations to come.

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He said: “It’s something we are very proud of, we’ve seen some small businesses come and go, and some of which have been with us for three generations.

"Romford Shopping Hall may change, everything changes, but this is where our head office, and our heart, is.”

With some shop owners having recently retired, Michelle said she is looking for new businesses to set up in the vacated units from £150 a week.