The construction of the new Eden Shopping Centre helped pave the way for a much-needed revamp of the town’s dated shopping complex, the Octagon Centre. 

The Octagon was formally opened on October 6, 1970, by the Duchess of Kent after four years of construction which caused major disruption to other shops in the town. 

The £5.8 million Octagon Shopping Centre was part of a redevelopment of the town centre in the late 60s and included a new “inner relief road” and a bus station. 

One main entrance to the centre was on the corner of White Hart Street and Pauls Row, opposite the Guildhall. The other was along White Hart Street – and both entrances are still there, now part of the Eden Shopping Centre. 

The existing Octagon Shopping Centre was given a major facelift thanks to the development of the Eden Centre, which extended over the old bus station and the two shopping centres became linked together. 

Ross Feeney, who heads up the High Wycombe BIDCo (HWBIDCo) – a not-for-profit organisation paid for and run by town centre companies that is charged with improving the town, praised the shopping centre for giving a boost to businesses in the area. 

He said: “The Eden Shopping Centre has had a significant impact on our town centre, helping to make High Wycombe a destination of choice rather than habit. 

“With its mix of quality retailers and eateries and leisure options the Centre ensures High Wycombe remains competitive against neighbouring towns and the ever-increasing influence of online shopping.” 

All of the pictures alongside this article are courtesy of the website Sharing Wycombe’s Old Photographs