IT WAS known for its huge glass roof, a garden wall with living plants, and it was THE place to shop when it opened its doors 30 years ago.

The St Enoch Centre, which heralded a retail revolution in the city when it first welcomed shoppers on May 25, 1989, is still going strong, three decades later.

The Forge, in the East End, and boutique mall Princes Square on Buchanan Street had opened the previous year, but here was the city centre’s first undercover, state of the art shopping and leisure mall.

Built on the site of the former St Enoch Railway Station, which was demolished in 1974, it has dominated the skyline with its impressive glass roof – the biggest of its kind in Europe – ever since.

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Technical services manager Jim O’Rourke started work in St Enoch just before it opened.

“It was exciting, being involved in the opening,” he nods.

“This place was like nothing else.”

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There are 89 staff in the centre, including cleaners, security personnel, the customer service team and management, and around 70 retailers.

The centre has played host to famous bands, politicians and celebrities, including Union J, YouTuber Joe Suggs, Rod Stewart and even Spiderman, who dropped in to promote his latest movie.

There are striking pictures in the St Enoch archive of him perched on the famous glass roof. The archive also includes photos of crowds flocking to see Union J, one of the big boy bands of the time.

Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister, officially opened the centre in March 1990.

Back then, the Evening Times reported that Mrs Thatcher had tried to buy a “Tory blue and silver perfume bottle” she had spotted in Harlequin jewellers, but had no money left, having already bought a £75 gold-plated watch.

Our story revealed her Scottish Secretary Malcolm Rifkind saved the day.

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The first manager of the St Enoch Centre, George Ritchie, recalls queues of people lining up outside the building even before it opened to the public. “They just wanted to see it, it was so different for the city,” he said.

George recalls visits from TV crews, filming the likes of Taggart and Rab C Nesbitt, and Radio Clyde used to have a competition postbox in the centre too.

Anne Ledgerwood has been general manager for 10 years, and is currently overseeing the centre’s latest redevelopment including a cinema and nine new restaurants.

The centre is a generous partner of the Glasgow Times’ Scotswoman of the Year award ceremony.

l Did you queue to see Rod Stewart? Are you a former member of staff? What are your memories of the opening? Send your stories and photos to or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.