THIS week marked the 50th anniversary of one of Hampshire’s most successful businesses – one which became a household name.

Richard Block and David Quayle first opened the doors to Block & Quayle, which soon became B&Q, in Portswood on March 5, 1969.

The DIY store opened in a building that has some uncertainty surrounding its original use.

Built in 1929, some speculate that Plaza Hall was used as a cinema, although that was likely not the case.

There is no record of the premises ever having been licensed for cinema use, and it is much more likely to have been a dance hall which showed the occasional private movie.

The building was used as a furniture warehouse in the 1950s.

A fire in the early 1990s destroyed the building.

The firm’s first headquarters came in the shape of a 16ft caravan in a car park which cost the pair £123.

By the end of the 1970s, B&Q had 26 stores in the south, and in the 1980s became part of the Kingfisher brand, then known as Pater Noster.

Further growth came in the 1990s when they merged with France’s leading DIY retailer, Castorama.

They became the largest DIY retailer in Europe before moving into the Asian market.

Further expansion came the following decade when they launched in order to enable do-it-yourselfers to purchase goods 24 hours a day, seven days a week.