LONG-serving staff have cast their minds back as Brewers Quay marks its 20th anniversary on Tuesday.

A handful of workers have spent the last two decades at the tourist attraction and shopping centre in Hope Square.

The complex was hailed as ‘the Covent Garden of Dorset’ when it was opened in 1990 as the fulcrum of rejuvenation of the old brewery and harbourside.

Long-serving employees include Jean Elbrow, Sally Vine, Alison Gray, Lynn Webb, Richard Whenman and Tracy King.

Brewers Quay director Roger Dalton said: “The last 20 years have been a really inspiring journey.

“Remembering back to the original vision of the Covent Garden of Dorset, it’s hard to believe how much Brewers Quay has contributed to the changing face of the resort. “It is great to see the vibrant café scene in Hope Square and how it has become the venue of choice for music and food festivals, art exhibitions and New Year celebrations.”

The quay includes the Timewalk tourist attraction, Weymouth Museum collection, the Excise House pub, a restaurant and many independent shops.

It was built in the former Devenish brewery and led the way for such further developments as the Galley restaurant, housing, the formation of the Harbour Traders’ Association and revival of the old harbourside and its businesses.

Jean Elbrow, who works in Global Crafts, said: “It’s been great working here for all these years, we are just like one big family.

“I love meeting all of the holiday makers and seeing the regular locals.”

Soon after opening, the complex won the Come to Britain Trophy, a major commendation from Business and Industry, a Commitment to the Environment Award and a Civic Society award.

Staff at the centre have also raised money for such charities as CLIC and the quayside is the setting for the annual Weldmar Light up a Life service.

Weldmar director of fundraising Caroline Nickinson said: “We really value our relationship with Brewers Quay and cannot thank them enough for their support of our work in this way.”

An estimated 750,000 people visit every year, compared to 100,000 in 1990.

The complex has been at the heart of such festivals as Shownight, Trawler Race and the Dorset Seafood Festival.

The development also attracted new businesses, such as Janice and Steve Gosson’s Mallams restaurant.

Janice said: “After seeing what was going to be done in terms of the Brewers Quay development and the re-designing of the harbourside we knew it would transform the area.

“It has now become a destination for tourists to explore and enjoy everything it has to offer.”