The Merrion Centre, Leeds’ longest standing shopping centre, celebrates 55 years as a key retail and leisure destination in the city by unveiling a brand-new exhibition to showcase the legacy and history of the centre.
Dr. Marjorie Ziff, wife of the late Mr Arnold Ziff, founder of the Merrion Centre and parent company, Town Centre Securities PLC, officially opened the revolutionary scheme on her 35th birthday back in 1964. She was poignantly invited to open the 55th anniversary exhibition this year as she celebrates turning 90 years old, holding the same key used on the original opening day.
She was in attendance alongside the Ziff family and a host of other VIP guests including Hilary Benn MP and Councillor Martin Farrington, Director of City Development, Leeds City Council who were also invited to join the celebrations.
The Merrion Centre was the first of its kind when it initially opened its doors in 1964, as it introduced Leeds to the powerful combination of a destination for shopping by day with entertainment and attractions at night. Merrion changed the face of retail in Leeds and with 11.2m visitors per annum it is still one of the city’s most iconic and popular destinations to date.
The 700 sq ft exhibition is located on the main mall from 30th May to 30th June and is home to archived “Then and Now” images showcasing the ongoing development across the decades. It also includes a scale model of the 1m sq ft Merrion estate, plus video content screening a sample of the centre’s history and evolution over an incredible 55 years.
Alongside the trip down memory lane, the centre is planning a whole host of additional activity for shoppers to get involved in across the month, encouraging loyal customers to share their #MCmemories whether this be nights out at one of the centre’s original night clubs or their favourite shops of yesteryear. In addition, there will be lots of competitions and celebrations courtesy of key tenants across the venue.
Edward Ziff, OBE DL Hon DBA, Chairman and Chief Executive of TCS said:
“We’re extremely proud of the Merrion Centre’s rich history and heritage and are delighted to unveil this exhibition as part of our 55th Birthday celebrations.
I was only four years old when the centre opened on my mother’s birthday back in May 1964, and I’m thrilled on her 90th birthday she is opening this exhibition to celebrate Merrion’s 55th Birthday.
I have no doubt that my late father would be extremely proud; the Merrion Centre has continually evolved to cater for a diverse range of consumers over the years, from our loyal customers who have shopped here for most of their lives, to the growing office population, students and commuters. As we continue to evolve as part of the city’s thriving Arena Quarter, I have no doubt that the Merrion Centre will continue to remain a key destination in the heart of Leeds for many years to come.”