News.

The Merrion Centre Commemorates 60 years as Leeds’ Longest Standing Shopping Centre

24th May 2024

The Merrion Centre celebrates its diamond anniversary on 26th May

  • To mark this milestone, a brand-new two-month exhibition showcasing the history and evolution of Leeds’ longest-standing shopping centre opens on May 23rd and runs until July 31st
  • The exhibition is located opposite the entrance to Town Centre House inside the Merrion Centre. As well as showcasing the centre’s evolution with a variety of “Then and Now” images, it includes a scale model of the 1 million sq ft Merrion estate and video content documenting the centre’s 60-year history.
  • In addition, the original Rowland Emett machine, The “Featherstone-KiteOpenwork Basketweave Mark Two Gentleman’s Flying Machine The Flying Kite, that was on show during the centre’s early years, is also back on
  • The Merrion Centre broke new ground when it first opened, combining daytime shopping with evening entertainment, fundamentally changing retail in Leeds.
  • With more than 8.9 million visitors in 2023, today it still remains one of the city’s most iconic and beloved destinations.

The Merrion Centre, Leeds’s longest-standing shopping centre, is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a cornerstone of the city’s retail and leisure scene. This celebration includes the unveiling of a new exhibition highlighting the mixed use scheme’s rich legacy and historical development.

Dr. Marjorie Ziff, wife of the late Mr. Arnold Ziff, who founded the Merrion Centre and its parent company Town Centre Securities PLC (TCS), officially opened this pioneering scheme on her 35th birthday in 1964 and poignantly opened the 55th-anniversary exhibition in 2019. Although she passed away in April 2023, her son and current Chairman and Chief Executive of TCS, Edward Ziff, opened the latest exhibition with the team from the Merrion Centre and TCS.

The Merrion Centre broke new ground when it first opened, combining daytime shopping with evening entertainment, fundamentally changing retail in Leeds. With over 8.9 million visitors in 2023, today it still remains one of the city’s most iconic and beloved destinations.

The 716 sq ft exhibition, located opposite the entrance to Town Centre House inside the Merrion Centre, runs from May 24th to July 31st. It features “Then and Now” images showcasing the centre’s evolution, a scale model of the 1 million sq ft Merrion estate, and video content documenting the centre’s 60-year history.

In addition to the exhibition, the centre will host various activities for shoppers, with loyal customers encouraged to share their #MCmemories, whether recalling nights out at the original nightclubs or reminiscing about their favourite shops.

Edward Ziff, Chairman and Chief Executive of TCS, commented: “We’re immensely proud of the Merrion Centre’s heritage and are excited to see the next phase of its evolvement as it remains one of Leeds’ most iconic retail, leisure and office destinations.

“The centre opened on my mother’s birthday back in May 1964 when I was just four years old, and continuing my family’s legacy by opening this latest exhibition to celebrate our 60th anniversary celebrations is a great honour.

“My late father would undoubtedly be proud of the Merrion Centre’s continued evolution. It has continually adapted to serve a diverse clientele over the years, from our long-standing customers to the growing office workforce, students, and commuters.

“As we look to the future, I am confident the Merrion Centre will continue to be a central destination in Leeds for many more years to come.”