Arndale Centre

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The Arndale Centre, in Headingley, Leeds, in April 2011

Arndale Centres were the first "American style" malls to be built in the United Kingdom. In total, twenty three Arndales have been built in the United Kingdom, and three in Australia. The first opened in Jarrow in 1961, as a pedestrianised shopping area.


The first Arndale Centre, in Jarrow, opened in 1961. It is now known as the Viking Centre.
The Cross Gates Centre in Cross Gates, Leeds was an Arndale Centre until 2000.

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, 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 Victorian 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, built by the Trust, was unveiled on 17 February 1962.

When the Wandsworth Arndale opened in 1971, it was the largest indoor shopping space in Europe.[1]

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 December 1998.[2] The centre suffered minor damage during the riots of August 2011.[3]


The Arndale Centres 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.

— Christopher Middleton, The Guardian, 4 April 2001[4]

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".[1]

List of Arndale Centres[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]


References in popular culture[edit]

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 very specific tailored messages inside features a card with the greeting "Sorry to hear your teeth fell out in the Arndale Centre". Numerous other references to Arndale Centres exist in the show.

In an episode of The Royle Family, Nana 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. British band Squeeze referenced the mall in the song "It's Not Cricket", from their album of 1979, Cool for Cats, with the lyrics: "at the Arndale Centre, she's up against the wall."[10]

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. In series four, episode four "It's Only Rock and Roll" of Only Fools And Horses, an Arndale Centre is mentioned, but it is not specific as to whether it is the Wandsworth or Dartford centre that is being referred to.

Characters in the television series of ITV, Coronation Street, characters occasionally reference going shopping in the Manchester Arndale Centre, the television series being set in Manchester.


  1. ^ a b "Arnold Hagenbach". The Times. 8 April 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2014.(subscription required)
  2. ^ "Manchester UK - Manchester Shops". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Manchester riots: Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green clothes shop looted". Metro. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  4. ^ Middleton, Christopher (4 April 2001). "Centre shifts". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  5. ^ Goddard, John C., ed. (2000). Memories of Accrington. True North. pp. 102–103. ISBN 1-903204-05-4.
  6. ^ "'Shiny new shops open doors as Eastbourne Arndale Centre becomes The Beacon'".
  7. ^ Sparks, Jon (2013). Lancaster Through Time. Amberley. ISBN 978-1-4456-2913-1.
  8. ^ "Centro Arndale Shopping". AroundYou. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Squeeze - It's Not Cricket - Lyrics -

External links[edit]

Arndale in Partnership - Yorkshire Film Archive