Bradford’s retail destination, Kirkgate Shopping, is launching a social media campaign to create a user generated, digital archive of photos and memories to mark its 40th anniversary year.
Kirkgate Shopping, formerly known as the Arndale Shopping Centre, first opened its doors in 1976 following a £4million investment by The Arndale Property Trust led by American-style mall pioneers, Arnold Hagenbach and Sam Chippendale. Dubbed Bradford’s ‘space age shopping centre’ as it opened its doors, Kirkgate Shopping remains the home of more than 70 retail units and one of three Bradford indoor markets.
Now in its anniversary year, centre manager Catherine Riley, who for two decades has led the Kirkgate team which initiated seven-day-a-week shopping in the district and led the city’s retail smoking ban in 2001, is hoping to collate local memories to mark the milestone celebrations.
“Kirkgate Shopping has a loyal customer base and it features in the life story of many of our visitors,” Catherine explained. “Anecdotally we know the centre has been the place of first dates, marriage proposals, first jobs and celebrity meetings! In our 40th year we want to share local memories and invite those with the most vivid recollections to be special guests at our anniversary event in September. This is about celebrating our past and involving local people in the next chapter of our retail future.”
Sandra Corcoran of Pennine Cycles, which took the title of retail, leisure and and hospitality business in the 2016 Bradford Means Business awards, is the first person to recall officially Kirkgate’s place in her family’s shopping history.
“I worked at City Hall in the 70s and 80s and Kirkgate was the perfect meeting place for friends who worked at the ‘top of town’ and those of us who worked at the ‘bottom’. The new age of convenient, undercover shopping at the Kirkgate was where my mum did her household shopping. I continued the tradition when I married and made great use of Littlewoods, the Richards store and later my teenage daughter gained her shopping independence in the safety of the contained malls.”
Sandra added: “My daughter Caroline is now a member of Bradford’s Junior Chamber International and works with the centre on its “Secret Santa” appeal to collect Christmas presents for deprived children in Bradford, a partnership which stretches back more than 20 years. Kirkgate features in three generations of our family’s memories and as part of the fibre of Bradford’s recent history, I’m looking forward to hearing more about the part it has played in other people’s lives.”
Kirkgate memories are invited to be shared online via Facebook and Twitter and contributors will be in with a chance to become a guest of honour at the 40th anniversary celebratory event at Kirkgate Shopping in September. To take part simply post your memory on Facebook or on Twitter using @KirkgateCentre, www.facebook.com/KirkgateShopping and the hashtag #KirkgateMemories.
Catherine added: “This is just the beginning of months of anniversary celebrations for Kirkgate Shopping. We want to hear from the people who have been part of our rich past and will contribute to the centre’s successful future.”