Happy 50th Birthday, Hyde Park Corner

50 & Fabulous; that is exactly what Hyde Park Corner is celebrating this November.

It was a glitzy affair on Thursday evening 7 November 2019, as we kicked off a month of celebrations in aid 50 illustrious years of shopping history. Walking down memory lane, we were reminded of how, what began in the dreams of a young man soon turned into reality.

Cecil Behrmann, and his cousin Cyril purchased a farm where Hyde Park stands proudly today.  In partnership with Murray & Roberts Construction, they set out to develop the first fully enclosed shopping mall in South Africa. 72 shops, two levels, basement and open parking, and office space, it seemed like utopia, but when it was done, it was a little piece of heaven, and definitely shopping heaven for all.

What makes this centre so amazing is that the tenants have been around for as long as most can remember. With eight of the tenants trading since the early days when they opened.

Back to the present, and a loud festive Happy Birthday echoes through the building. Familiar voices draw your attention, and on the microphone, it is none other than funnyman, Jason Goliath, at the helm of operations as the MC for the evening. Fresh off his latest show, Manstruation, we knew we would be entertained. And we were; we had a good chuckle when he reminded us how important a multi-plug is in the dynamics of a happy marriage.

Tim Moloi and Chiano Sky, together with Joburg Big Band and conductor Adam Howard, ensured that we were well entertained throughout the evening. Together with good music and wonderful food, we swayed the night away.

With splendours of gold and black, and walking down memory lane as guests and tenants alike shared their stories and experiences from the years visiting HPC, one couldn’t help but feel a sensation of nostalgia in the air. We caught up with a few, and this is what they had to say.

David Gilson, owner of Carlton Hair, is inspired by the creativity and innovation in the studio that originally started in Hyde Park Corner. “When I started, I could never have known that one day the glossy baton would be passed to so many forward-thinking industry insiders who work so hard to create authentic moments of representation.”

Chris for Men’s Jean Kogel says, “In quintessential barbershop style, our sign hangs adjacent to the wall in the same spot it’s been hanging for 50 years. My father, Chris Kogel, opened Chris for Men in 1969, and 12 years later I joined him – but only once I had proven myself worthy of the trade in a gruelling apprenticeship.”

Galleon Pharmacy maintains the personal touch of the pharmacies of yesteryear. Rakesh Seeberath of Galleon says, “With over 600 accounts and 50 years of loyal families trusting the doctors and pharmacists at Galleon with their health, it’s more than just another errand to run. It’s a social visit, where customers who’ve spent generations building relationships gather to see friends behind the counter, bringing with them intimate details of their lives. We represent an integration of old world and new, and in 50 years, I believe we haven’t lost our charm.”

McCullagh & Bothwell is a family business that was established in 1896, and has been at Hyde Park Corner, dressing school children and offering bespoke menswear, for 50 years. David Walker, third-generation proprietor, says, “Our longest-standing customer was brought into the store by his father to be fitted for his first school blazer when he was six. Ninety years later he is still a loyal client. This is a testimony to the prestige and the distinction of four generations of McCullagh & Bothwell.”

Walker’s sons grew up packing shoeboxes in the storeroom during school holiday, and today, together with their father, they have ushered in a new era while paying homage to old-world quality, tradition and value.

Nu Metro has been delivering the popcorn-scented excitement of a visit to the movies at Hyde Park Corner for 37 years.

It is plain to see why Hyde Park Corner has been a family favourite for over 50 years at it has consistently catered for the enjoyment of all walks of life.  It houses over 500 of the foremost international brands in 130 speciality retail stores.  With nine diverse restaurants to choose from you will always have the perfect location for any occasion from fine dining to laid back.

The tenants offer a mix of art, fashion homeware, luxury as well as professional services such as medical, banking and travel agencies.

Hyde Park Corner is celebrating its 50th birthday by giving shoppers a chance to win R50 000 in shopping vouchers every week until 1 December. For more info go to hydeparkcorner.co.za/upcoming-events.

For more information on what’s happening at Hyde Park Corner, visit hydeparkcorner.co.za or on Facebook @HydeParkC or Twitter @HPCHydePark.

Happy birthday, Hyde Park Corner, here’s to the next 50 years. Thank you for being a staple in our lives, and for having BLOSS celebrate with you!

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BLOSS is an international media platform for South African women who live all over the world in the age group, 20 – 35 years. We integrate print and technology through innovative and exciting ways to keep things fresh, modern and interactive.