Arndale Centres were the first "American-style" malls to be built in the United Kingdom. In total twenty-two Arndales have been built in the UK, and two in Australia. The first opened in Jarrow in 1961, as a pedestrianised shopping area.
Shortly after the end of World War II Arnold Hagenbach, a baker with a talent for property investment, and Sam Chippendale, an estate agent from Otley, set up a company called the Arndale Property Trust, the name being a portmanteau of "Arnold" and "Chippendale".
The Trust purchased Bradford's Victoria Swan Arcade in 1954 with the intention of demolishing it and developing a new shopping centre, but it took eight years before leases expired and building work could commence, so in the meantime it developed a site in Jarrow, South Tyneside, which became the first Arndale Centre when it opened in 1961. Its trademark Viking statue was built by the Trust in 1963.
When the Wandsworth Arndale opened in 1971 it was the largest indoor shopping space in Europe.
The largest Arndale Centre built was Manchester Arndale. It was redeveloped in 1996 after being badly damaged in an IRA bombing, and the centre has been owned by Prudential since 1998. The centre suffered minor damage during the 2011 Manchester riots.
The Arndale Centres were largely successful, but they also attracted a great deal of criticism as they often involved demolishing old buildings – particularly Victorian buildings – and replacing them with modern concrete constructions in a brutalist style.
"There are people today amassing stupendous fortunes by systematically destroying our historic centres," wrote architectural writer James Lees-Milne, in 1964. "Eventually, all the buildings of the area – good, bad and indifferent – are replaced with chain stores, supermarkets and blocks of flats devoid of all distinction, and all looking alike."
The value of the Wandsworth Arndale was maximised by the high-rise tower blocks built on top of the mall, which helped it to become, according to some commentators, "one of London’s great architectural disasters".
List of Arndale Centres
- Bolton now known as Crompton Place Shopping Centre
- Doncaster now known as Frenchgate Centre
- Jarrow now known as Viking Centre
- Leeds, Armley shopping precinct no longer carries a name, Shop addresses usually referred to as Town Street
- Leeds, Cross Gates now known as Crossgates Shopping Centre
- Leeds, Headingley
- Liverpool, Arndale House on Pembroke Road, Liverpool.
- Longbenton, West Farm Avenue, Longbenton, Newcastle upon Tyne. Built Early 60's, demolished 2004.
- Luton, purchased in 2006 by The Mall Company and now known as The Mall Luton
- Manchester, the largest of the Arndale Centres
- Middleton now known as Middleton Shopping Centre
- Nelson now known Pendle Rise Shopping Centre
- Poole now known as the Dolphin Shopping Centre
- Stretford now known as Stretford Mall
- Wandsworth now known as Southside
- Wellingborough now known as Swansgate Shopping Centre
References in popular culture
The phrase 'the Arndale Centre wasn't built in a day' (in place of 'Rome wasn't built in a day') was used in the film Little Voice.
A sketch in an episode of A Bit Of Fry And Laurie about greetings cards with specific tailored messages inside features a card with the greeting "Sorry to hear your teeth fell out in the Arndale Centre".
In an episode of BBC sitcom The Royle Family, Grandma is said to have a "spin-out" outside Timpson's Shoe Shop (now closed) in the Stretford Arndale or precinct as it is known locally.
In the first Christmas special episode of The Worst Week of My Life, "the Worst Christmas of my Life", Howard refers to visiting Santa's Grotto at the Arndale Centre.
- "Arnold Hagenbach". The Times. 2005-04-08. Retrieved 19 January 2014.(subscription required)
- "Manchester UK - Manchester Shops". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-21.
- "Manchester riots: Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green clothes shop looted". Metro. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Middleton, Christopher (4 April 2001). "Centre shifts". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 January 2014.
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