Tuesday 12th December 1961
The Auto-Magic Car Park, Lee Circle, Leicester (UK), one of the oldest multi-storey car parks in Europe, was opened. Providing spaces for 1050 cars, it was among the first automated public car parks, using coin-operated barriers. Its design made no attempt to hide its purpose of storing as many vehicles as possible within the space available, using a complex interleaved spiral or double-helix system to maximise space. Beneath the six parking levels, the supermarket chain Tesco opened their first store outside London. Tesco was integrated with the car park above so that staff could take customers’ purchases direct to their cars. For some years the new supermarket featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest store by floor area in Europe. There have been calls for the demolition of this ‘ugly’ structure, but today many regard it as a local heritage asset.