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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Crowds cast their eye over Bullring
Bronze bull

Excitement and pride greeted the long-awaited opening of the 500m Bullring complex in Birmingham.

Thousands were drawn to the new development, to shop in more than 140 shops, to take a break from work in its new cafes or purely to marvel at the transformation of the historic markets area.

Office workers stood next to day-trippers and shoppers to watch the official opening ceremony.

A five-ton bronze statue of a bull appeared on the second attempt, when pyrotechnics finally exploded and blew away the sides of its giant crate.

Alison Wood, Ruth Wood and Vanessa Jones
Alison Wood, Ruth Wood and Vanessa Jones from Worcester

Most visitors on the day were also eager to talk of the future, and to get into the shops.

Dean, 41, and Carol Jones, 49, from Weoley Castle, had brought their cameras to record the event.

Mrs Jones said: "It is something to remember. We haven't been up here for about two years and things have gone and other things have appeared.

"You have got to enjoy it, it is so wide open now."

Grace Reid, 38, from Handsworth Wood, and her friend Jennifer Jones, 35, from Edgbaston said seeing the new complex had made them proud of Birmingham.

Grace said: "I always thought we were the best now we have proved we are."

And she even had support from Londoner Joe Bohling, 29, who said he would be choosing the second city to do his shopping from now on.

He said: "It's more impressive than London which has no shopping centres in the city, and certainly nothing matching Bullring's design."

The sort of idea I would have come up with if I'd put pen to paper
Anthony Carty

The attention-grabbing Selfridges store was a must see for many people.

Anthony Carty, 37, from Birmingham, said: "It's excellent, the sort of idea I would have come up with if I'd put pen to paper. It's beautiful."

But for some trying to describe it was more difficult than finding it.

Vanessa Jones, 37, from Worcester, said: "It looks very impressive from the outside, like something off another planet."

Lesley Bladen, 67, from Coseley, said: "I just hope the disks don't come off otherwise people will think there are flying saucers whizzing around."

Meanwhile, Jane Mace, 74, from Solihull, had ventured inside the department store but said it was too expensive except for the odd treat at the cosmetics stand.

She also said she feared the opening of Bullring could take custom from out of town shopping centres like her nearby Touchwood centre.

"I have noticed lots of people coming into Solihull at weekends who never used to visit and I think a lot of it will stop."

Bullring opens its doors
04 Sep 03  |  West Midlands
Historian says Bullring lacks heart
04 Sep 03  |  West Midlands
New Bullring but same old problems?
03 Sep 03  |  West Midlands
First glimpse at city's future
13 Aug 02  |  England
Prince praises city's 'riches'
29 Apr 02  |  England


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