Interesting facts about the Belfry

Redhill was shaped by three historic influences - 

  1. Its location on the Brighton – London Road.
  2. The Fullers Earth clay industry.
  3. Its importance as a railway centre.

These led to it becoming an important Victorian Industrial centre.

A few things you might not know - 

  • The Belfry was designed by Leslie Jones Architects, and planning permission was granted for the Belfry at the end of 1987.
  • Construction, by Costain Construction Ltd, started in October 1989.
  • The Foundation Stone was unveiled on 2nd May 1990 by the Worshipful Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Erica Dunsmore FCIS.
  • The ‘Bells’ of the Belfry (over the High Street Entrance), which gave the Centre its name, are actually called 'Ting and Tang'. They were saved from the old St Anne’s Workhouse, which was previously on the site where the original car park was located while the Centre was built.
  • The Belfry opened its doors to the public for the first time on 15th October 1991, and was officially opened by Joanna Lumley!
  • Reigate & Banstead Borough Council originally owned half the car park site.
  • At the heart of Redhill, the Belfry was designed to connect the main pedestrian routes of the town.
  • Sitting on Station Road, the external design was based on railway arches, internally giving a light, airy feel with its high glass atrium roofs.
  • The 50 stores within the Centre cover 250,000 square feet, with a further three storeys of car parking.
  • The Belfry also has the Tower House connected to it, accessed through the Car Park.
  • In April 1997, the Belfry became the first shopping centre in England to have its own ‘museum’ due to the closure of the local Royal Earlswood Museum from the hospital. The Belfry stepped in to house and display the best and most interesting of the artefacts for over 14 years, including many works of James Henry Pullen ‘the idiot genius’, keeping the collection together and alive in the community. The Earlswood collection was re-located in July 2011 to a splendid, new, specialist museum at the Langdon Down Centre in TW11.
  • In 2000, the Belfry won a ‘Purple Apple’ National Retail Award for its marketing.
  • 2002 saw the first appearance of the Belfry’s mascot, Ding Bat, who arrived at the Centre at Halloween.
  • In 2004, The Belfry was the first shopping centre in the UK to achieve the internationally recognised ‘green’ accreditation ISO 14001, awarded for good environmental management.
  • From 2004 to the present day, the Belfry has continuously won the PARK MARK® Safer Parking award, with our car park praised by Surrey Police and the British Parking Association for being a “safe and secure environment” that is well-managed and easy to use”.
  • 2005 saw Robert Dyas open at the Belfry, enjoying the store’s most successful opening ever, based on numbers of people visiting it on its opening day.
  • By 2006, 100% of energy used by the Belfry was now coming from renewable sources.
  • 2006 saw the Belfry win another Purple Apple National Retail Award, the highest award possible for a marketing initiative, for its ModelSearch event.
  • Over £1 million was invested in the Belfry in 2007 to improve the Centre’s shopping environment. Work included completely replacing all safety features, lighting and lifts, as well as improving support for disabled shoppers.
  • In 2007, the Belfry’s anchor store, Marks & Spencer, underwent an extensive re-fit and relaunched the store with a stunning fashion show.
  • In 2008, the Belfry welcomed our 10 millionth visitor into the car park!
  • In 2008, the Centre installed an ice rink during February half-term.
  • 2009 saw the Belfry transformed into the British seaside, complete with a beach for the summer holidays.
  • In 2011, the Belfry’s current Centre Manager, Andy Nash, joined the team.
  • Heavy snow during Christmas 2011 meant that even Santa Claus couldn’t make it on his sledge to the Belfry’s Grotto for the day!
  • 2012 saw record entries for the Baby of the Year competition.
  • In 2012, Redhill proudly welcomed the Olympic torch through the town, celebrating with a summer of sport and in the Centre, a giant 4-meter Torch of Sustainability allowed visitors to fill it with recyclable materials.
  • In October 2012, the Belfry celebrated its 21st birthday with a catwalk fashion show showcasing the offer from its fashion stores for the Face of the Belfry Competition, along with the Mayor and free 21st birthday cupcakes for hundreds of visitors!
  • 2013 celebrated 150 years of the Reigate and Redhill Municipal Borough with an authentic Victorian market and other nostalgic entertainment.
  • In 2013, an amazing £16,000 was raised from the annual Belfry Remembrance Day poppy drop.
  • 2014 remembered 100 years from the start of the first world war with a commemorative timeline.
  • In 2015, one lucky shopper won a car as part of a 6-week event which raised more than £7,000 for local charities.
  • In 2016, the Centre was a finalist in the Interserve national recycling awards, after achieving our goal of sending zero rubbish to landfill in 2015 and reaching our target of recycling 100% of waste.
  • Following their acquisition of BTWShiells in June 2014, the Managing Agents for the Belfry are Lambert Smith Hampton, Clarence House, 4/10 May Street, Belfast, BT1 4NJ, Tel: 02890 327954,
  • In 2016, the Belfry received the Disabled Parking Accreditation Award, showing our commitment to lighting, signage, ease of access and payment machines for disabled users as well as enforcement of disabled parking bays.
  • On our 25th birthday in 2016, the Belfry held a Silver Jubilee party with a day of free celebrations for visitors, helped by a number of staff who have worked at the Centre for 25 years.
  • Christmas 2016 saw more than 3,000 children visit the Belfry Christmas Grotto – the highest number ever recorded at the Centre.
  • A Free Ping Pong Parlour opened in the Centre offering free Ping Pong to all shoppers
  • 2020 Saw the first National Lockdown with all but essential retailers having to close their doors. The Centre was one of the first to implement a real time visitor count to keep customers safe as they shop and help plan visits during quieter times. 
  • 2020 saw the Belfry bring some Hollywood sparkle to Christmas with our first Drive-in Cinema! Everyone was treated to watch a choice of festive movie screenings with popcorn and more treats from the comfort of their own cars in our award-winning car park! 
  • In October 2021 it was the Belfry’s 30th birthday! Hundreds of people from the local community joined us for a whole weekend of free fun celebrations, entertainment, prize competitions and, of course, birthday cake!
  • In February 2022, Redhill Ventures Ltd c/o Landswood de Coy LLP acquired the Centre, marking a significant investment for the next generation.

  • June 2022 saw the Belfry hold a Platinum Jubilee Party to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen becoming the first British monarch to reign for 70 years.
  • Christmas 2022 – While many shopping centres and high street retailers faced this year’s festive conundrum of whether to focus on Christmas or the World Cup, the Belfry scored an outright winner by celebrating both! Our famous annual Christmas lights switch-on event was our busiest for three years and raised a fantastic £25,000 for 14 local charities.
  • We joined the nation in celebrating the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort on 6 May 2023 with a special extended weekend of events, entertainment and giveaways.
  • 16 June 2023 saw the Belfry’s two-day launch extravaganza to celebrate the opening of Redhill’s fantastic new entertainment and leisure venue, The Light, on Marketfield Way. The Belfry also introduced late night parking until midnight from now on, with customers of The Light able to park for free after 6pm. The Belfry’s VIParking card was also introduced, giving frequent Belfry shoppers reduced parking rates and VIP retail offers in-Centre.