Our old picture this week looks at Davenport Square, the friendly neighbourhood retail shopping centre that has faithfully been serving Glenwood residents for more than 40 years.
Originally called the Mutual Centre, then Davenport Centre and finally Davenport Square, the picture was taken soon after the centre opened. It appeared in the Daily News of June 9, 1972, with the caption: “Shoppers do not have to trek into town, thanks to recent developments like the Mutual Centre in Davenport Road.”
Forty years later, in 2012, the centre underwent a R21-million revamp, converting what was regarded as a drab shopping centre into a modern and inviting complex under the guidance of Durban firm Sphere Design & Architecture.
The main strategy was to simplify the look of the shop fronts and use increased lighting to improve what was a dark main corridor, originally open to the elements and closed in later. New ceilings and floor finishes and uniform signage criteria ensured that the modern look was carried throughout the mall. The exterior of the mall also received a “face lift” with feature towers to highlight points of entry. Improved relationships with the street was achieved with the addition of a unified restaurant block along Brand road.
Today, some 50 years later, the centre boasts 38 retail tenants, including established national brands like Checkers, Clicks and Mr Price and 15 office tenants. Checkers, whose signage you can see in the old picture, has been in the centre since inception.
The Independent on Saturday