50 years since Hattie Jacques opened Houghton Regis shopping centre

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Fun was flowing on Saturday as Houghton Regis marked the 50th anniversary of Bedford Square shopping centre.

It was on Saturday, September 24, 1966 that Carry On star Hattie Jacques opened Bedford Square amid much fanfare, with the place decked out in bunting and police holding back the throngs of crowds.

Since then it has remained at the heart of the town centre, and there were plenty who came out on Saturday to mark its half a century birthday.

Cllr Antonia Ryan said: “Young and old came together on Saturday to celebrate the anniversary.

“David Hill from the Heritage Society provided photographs from the 1960s and David Gibbons with his guitar sang songs from the same period.”

Children were treated to a treasure hunt and created their own town centre out of shoe boxes organised by Jewels.

The show commenced with mayor of Houghton Regis, Cllr Chris Slough, 
cutting up the delicious birthday cake.

Zaky from Zebra Properties, one of the event sponsors, handed out cake to shoppers and children.

Cllr Ryan added: “Needless to say the children made sure it didn’t last long.”

The entertainment differed slightly to the 1966 opening, which was graced by a troupe of Morris dancers from St Albans!