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History

Hammerson has been developing and managing property for over half a century, discover our story in the interactive timeline below.

2016
Ownership of Dundrum, the jewel in the crown of the loan portfolio, was secured in 2016, and the Ilac Centre was acquired later on in the year. Hammerson also purchased Grand Central in 2016, which sits above New Street Station in Birmingham, adjacent to the iconic Bullring.
As part of the company’s disposal strategy and in line with a focus on assets in prime catchments, a number of retail parks were disposed of in 2016, as well as Monument Mall, Newcastle, and 50% interest in both Grand Central and Westquay Watermark.
Hammerson announced its intention to pursue a secondary inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in early 2016, and this went live in September of that year.
Two big developments were launched in quick succession in 2016, Victoria Gate, Leeds and Westquay Watermark, Southampton. The former was awarded MIPIM’s Best Shopping Centre in 2017.
2015
In 2015 the business moved its London headquarters to Kings Place, Kings Cross and opened up an expanded office in Reading.
In 2015 the business acquired a £1 billion portfolio of loans secured against prime retail property in Dublin. This was the biggest transaction in the history of Hammerson, and provided the business with a market leading platform in Ireland.
2014
In 2014, the VIA Outlets portfolio was founded in partnership with APG, Value Retail and Meyer Bergman. This strategic move provided Hammerson with an increased exposure in the fast-growing outlets market. The company’s development in Marseille, France, opened.
2013
Hammerson and Westfield signed a Joint Venture agreement for a £1 billion Croydon Town Centre regeneration project.
2012
Hammerson announced a new strategy focused on retail property. The company’s London Office assets were disposed of and the Junction Fund retail parks portfolio was acquired, increasing critical mass in that market.
2011
2011 was a year of investment for the business, with the acquisition of SQY Ouest and St Martin’s retail portfolio, which included the Centrale Shopping Centre in Croydon. In the same year, the Union Square development in Aberdeen was completed, and work commenced on Les Terrasses du Port, in Marseille.
2009
In 2009 David Atkins was appointed Chief Executive.
Union Square in Aberdeen opened its doors for the first time.
2008
Two more shopping centres launched in 2008: Highcross, Leicester and Cabot Circus, Bristol.
2005
2005 Hammerson joined the FTSE100 and John Nelson succeeded Ron Spinney as Chairman. In the same year, the development of Bishops Square, Spitalfields, completed and major retail schemes started on site at Bristol and Leicester.
2003
The redeveloped Bullring shopping centre opened in Birmingham in 2003, following Europe’s largest retail-led urban regeneration project which represented an investment of over £1bn. Anchored by Debenhams and Selfridges, 57 of the retailers were new to the city when it opened.
2002
The company acquired Grantchester Holdings plc, providing it with critical mass in the retail parks sector for the first time.
1999
The next few years saw the opening of several key shopping centres, including The Oracle in Reading in 1999 and Westquay, Southampton in 2000.
1996
It was in 1996 that the business acquired the former Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, although it would take several years before development was complete.
All Canadian interests were sold in 1998 as the company increased its exposure to the French market with the purchase of Italie Deux in Paris. In the same year, Hammerson made the decision to enter the outlets market, purchasing a minority interest in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire which marked the start of a long-standing relationship with Value Retail.
1995
99 Bishopsgate, London was redeveloped, Hammerson acquired an interest in Espace St Quentin in France, and redevelopment began of 54 boulevard Haussmann, Paris.
1993
Ron Spinney was appointed Chief Executive of Hammerson in 1993, and the business actively refocused its activities on territories where it had critical mass.
1989
In 1989 Hammerson attracted the attentions of Dutch property investment company Rodamco, but was successful in resisting a bid for the company.
1960
In the late 1960s Hammerson entered the Canadian market and in Europe, in partnership with Dutch company Boz, and began development projects in Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels. Hammerson sold out of the partnership in 1979.
The Brent Cross development commenced in 1972, which was to be the first American style shopping centre in the UK. The project cost was £33 million upon completion, but it proved to be a resounding success when it opened its doors in 1976.
1958
Lewis Hammerson passed away suddenly in 1958 at the young age of 42, having transformed the business into a leading property developer. Syndey Mason, aged 38, took over as chairman, having become a partner in the business in 1949.
1953
The decision was made to float the company on the London Stock Exchange and the business
changed its name to Hammerson Property and Investment Trust.
Early developments included Castrol House on Marylebone Road, central London. Later renamed Marathon House, this investment proved to be one of the business’ most successful developments in the early years. Some 30 years later this mixed-use portfolio was worth £80 million.
1950
Mason’s ambitions lay in retail, and he began developing shopping centres. Early successes included the redevelopment of Bradford city centre, which proved to be highly profitable.
During this time, the business also expanded rapidly overseas, developing shopping centres in Melbourne, Australia in the 1950s. This led to further investment in the country and by the 1960s Hammerson started investing in New Zealand. The company entered the US market in the same decade, although this venture proved to be less successful.
1948
Hammerson’s first major commercial purchase was an office block on Queen Street, London.
1942
Hammerson’s story starts in 1942, when Lewis W. Hammerson sold the family garment business, Amalgamated Weatherware, and ventured into property. In the middle of World War II, Hammerson identified and capitalised on a demand for apartments and began developing residential property.
In the post-war period, the business had grown enough to enable an expansion into commercial property in 1948. Hammerson’s first major commercial purchase was an office block on Queen Street, London.

Hammerson was established in 1942 by Lewis Hammerson, originally developing residential property then expanding into commercial property in 1948. Hammerson became a public company in 1954, and began a programme of partnering with local authorities to redevelop UK cities’ retail offer. The Company opened Brent Cross, the UK’s first covered mall, in 1976, and expanded into French commercial property in 1985. As mentioned in the Chief Executive’s report, Hammerson focuses on winning retail locations.