It was 40 years ago when the first trader opened their shop in Woking’s new Goldsworth Park shopping centre.

That first shop, NSS Newsagents, was opened on September 29, 1983.

Peeps reader Jenny Mukerji recalls: “Originally the supermarket was to be a Sainsbury’s but there was a worry that people would then not venture into Woking town centre.

“We moved into Elsdon Road in April 1982. At that time there were only a few houses near us and there were open fields between Bampton Way and Goldsworth Lake. 

“New Ideal Homes kept tanks of fuels on them until the vandals arrived.

“The first outlet to open in the shopping centre was NSS Newsagents – that was on September 29, 1983. 

“It caused great excitement. 

“Even in those days, bicycles could be left outside.

“I think the church was the last of the originally-proposed buildings, but two more outlets were created later between Waitrose and the main road. 

“Apart from Waitrose, all the outlets have changed their name – and sometimes the type of business – over the course of time.”

Woking’s esteemed historian Iain Wakeford, in his notes on his self-guide walk leaflet around Goldsworth Park (see here), notes the name Goldsworth is a corruption of Goldhord, first recorded in the 13th century and thought to record the discovery some time before then of a hoard of gold – possibly Roman coins.

Goldings was also the name of one of Woking’s ancient tithings, a Saxon term originally meaning the land owned by “ten theigns”. 

This covered a large area including much of what is Knaphill, Brookwood, St John's and Goldsworth.

Ian adds that Goldsworth Park was designated for housing in the draft Surrey Structure Plan of 1951, and in 1967 Woking Council announced a plan for the site. 

In 1971 an agreement was reached between the council and New Ideal Homes Ltd for the development of the 575-acre site, at the time said to be the largest single development by a private developer in Europe.

Work began on the first stage, named Goldsworth Vale, in August 1973, with the first buyer moving into a house there in May 1974. 

By 1978, 1,000 homes had been occupied – and by 1988, more than 3,000 homes had been built. 

By 1991, the population of Goldsworth Park had reached 12,443, being 15 per cent of the population of the entire borough of Woking.