|Location||Stirling, Forth Valley, Scotland|
|Address||Goosecroft Road, Stirling|
1997 (Thistles Marches extension)
|Owner||Standard Life Investments|
|No. of stores and services||87|
|No. of anchor tenants||3|
|Total retail floor area||2|
A new phase, known as Thistle II Ltd, was financed by three joint ventures being Stirling Council (49%), John Laing Property (49%) and DepFa Bank (2%). A new 970 two-storey car park, 14 stance bus station, 40 new units within the new phase and the creation of 400 jobs was the focus of the plans. The Thistle Marches opened to the public in September 1997, retaining Stirling's importance as the major regional centre outwith the main cities.
Standard Life Investments eventually bought the entire shopping centre in 1998 for £37.2 million, at least a year after the Thistles Marches phase was complete. The company paid £8 million back to the finances for their contributions.
As The Thistle Centre stands now, it has well over 500,000 sq ft of retail space; its position in the heart of Stirling allows for a catchment area of over 500,000 people within 20 km of the centre. It is estimated that the centre currently attracts over 12 million visitors per year, with 3.7 million likely to be tourists from other countries.
The anchor stores are Debenhams, a 46,900 sq ft (4,360 m2) Marks and Spencer store,Bhs and Primark. Other major stores include Superdry, Zara, River Island, Topshop, Game, H&M, H. Samuel, Boots, WHSmith, Ernest Jones, Sainsbury's Local and HMV.
The Thistles Shopping Centre is the only one in the world to have a 16th-century jail with an extensive history of the Bastion's. The jail is of historical importance in Stirling, being used at one time to guard an angle of Stirling's Town Wall.
The Thieves Pot is accessed within the Thistles Centre itself, located near the Port Street entrance. The Thieves Pot is identified by two 'flaming' torches on the wall because a visitor could mistake this for a themed bar. However this is actually the entrance to the underground jail. Entering through the opening in the wall, the visitor must first travel down a wrought iron spiral staircase. As the visitor descends the feeling of entering a different time sets in, as the surroundings change from the busy shopping centre into a confined jail environment.
Admission to the Thieves Pot is free, and can be visited whenever the shopping centre is open.
Looking around a visitor will see a circular rough stone room, this is the original guardroom which existed in the walls which used to defend Stirling. The guardroom which the visitor enters into contains different artefacts; including Justice Figure and Stirling Heads which are placed as historical presentations, giving information on the room and the history of what happened there. There is also the Thieves Pot below this room, this was the prison where people would be sent as a jail. This is a dark cramped space, also known as an oubliette, which is viewable through a glass floor panel and contains a model representation of a prisoner down in the prison. The entrance to this prison space would originally have been accessed through a trapdoor which would have been present where the glass viewing panel now is in the floor.
Events that have or will take place in the Thistles
- The single 'The Haggis' went on sale in the Thistle Center's HMV store on 23 March 2009. This was a single created by a music teacher at Alva Academy and was designed in aid of Comic Relief. The most notable sight during this sale of the album was a large Haggis suit walking around the center and also serving customers in HMV. Due to this event being run, the single managed to top the Scottish Indie Charts, raising £3375.79 in the process.
- Santa has taken up his spot in the heart of the Thistles Centre again, every year Santa's Grotto gets set up within the centre, Santa and his elves greet and meet little children, giving them the chance to talk with Santa and tell him what they would like for Christmas. Having gone to Santa's Grotto, the children get a memento photograph taken with Santa and also receive a Christmas gift.
- The Thistles was featured on STV's 'The Hour' show in September 2009. Stella Bartram the show's fitness guru, appeared in the centre where the cleaning, janitorial and security staff were in for a shock. The staff were drawn into a fake meeting, where Stella appeared and got to work showing the staff different exercises they could do during their working day. These ranged from lunges, squats and figure of eight mop exercises. The staff initially said they were fit considering that in a day's work they would have walked 11miles, however when they started doing the exercises laid out by Stella, they soon discovered muscles they hadn't been feeling before.
- On 18 January 2010, recycling bins were introduced throughout the centre. They were unveiled by the centre's local mascots: Thistle, Cash For Kids, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Bowling Alley, Blairdrummond Safari Park and macrobert Arts Centre.There are bins for customers to deposit paper, plastic, cans and general waste in to. According to the Marketing Manager at The Thistles, Geraldine El Masrour, the primary goal of the initiative was to reduce the Carbon Footprint and encourage the city of Stirling to follow.
- http://www.stirling.gov.uk/stirling_eye_-_winter08.pdf page 4
- http://www.stirling.gov.uk/stirling_eye_-_winter08.pdf page 11
- http://minutes.stirling.gov.uk/pdfs/community/minutes/ce19981105.pdf page 2
- http://minutes.stirling.gov.uk/pdfs/community/minutes/ce19981105.pdf page 3
- Thistles Letting Brochure
- http://www.stirling.gov.uk/stirling_eye_-_winter08.pdf page 6
- Thistles - Floor Plans
- Thistles - Thieves Pot
- Thieves Pot and Bastion Stirling
- The Scottish Sun, 'Model Pupil' by YVONNE BOLOURI, 24 February 2009.
- STV - Stella Bartram Visit.
- Stirling Council - Press Release