Pendle Rise Shopping Centre celebrates 50th year with rising footfall and an historic timeline

An historic photographic timeline of Nelson's shopping centre, Pendle Rise, has been officially unveiled by the Deputy Mayor of Pendle, Coun. David Whalley.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the start of a year of celebrations and improvements taking place at the Pendle Rise Shopping Centre – 50 years after opening its doors.

A children’s colouring competition was also drawn by the Deputy Mayor and his wife and consort Barbara Whalley.

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The winning picture came from eight-year-old Caitlin Anderson who won £30 to spend in the shopping centre. Her poster read: “Dear Diary, today I went shopping with my mum and went upstairs to buy a watch. But before I went home I bought an umbrella because it was raining.”

Shoppers and centre staff were intrigued by the photographic timeline showing former Prime Minister Harold Wilson opening what was then the Arndale Centre in 1967.

And Pendle Rise manager Debbie Hernon erected a white board for shoppers to write and share their earliest and fondest memories of life in the shopping centre.

She said: “We are very grateful to Greggs for providing a wonderful lunch and to the Deputy Mayor and his wife for attending this special unveiling of the historic timeline. The photographs and information are now displayed on the shopping centre walls for all to see.”

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The timeline, which was put together by Scott Dawson Advertising, is the start of many positive changes taking place at Pendle Rise.

Debbie added: “We have welcomed Costa Coffee and are in discussion with other big name chains. There have been notable improvements to the mall and we are continuing with that.”

Coun. Whalley cut the ribbon and wrote his childhood memories on the white board before saying: “It was 50 years ago when this shopping centre opened. It’s a long time but somehow it has gone very quickly. I think Pendle Rise is a great community asset as well as being a shopping centre.

“I think these photos show how the centre has been used for different ideas to support the retailers over the past 50 years and it is great to see Pendle Rise is still celebrating this milestone event by engaging with children and families with this colouring competition.”

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Shopper Rodney Jaques was born in Nelson and was 11-years-old when the centre first opened. He recalled: “People used to come from miles to shop in Nelson so it is great to see work being done to bring in a variety of new businesses.

“I remember when this place was first built, and all the small shops were complaining that it would put them out of business! Of course it didn’t happen; it just brought more people to the town. The timeline is great. It’s good to look back on the memories.”

Margaret Council (87) is another Pendle Rise regular. “I’ve always shopped here,” she said.

Maria Golding (71) recalled dressing in her “Sunday Best” for her weekend trips to the shopping centre with mum, Monica.

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She says: “I came along to the opening with my mum when I was little. I remember we use to put our best clothes on – our ‘weekend clothes’. Monday to Friday, mother didn’t care what I wore, but we had to dress up smart for shopping.

“I’ve been here buying some vegetables today. I also go to Steve in the market downstairs for my meat every week.”

Students Ayesha Ishfaq (17), Gulnisa Hamid (18) and Zahra Javeen (17) were fascinated to see how the shopping centre has changed over the years.

Rob Browne and his wife Cathy have also started to shop at Pendle Rise with their baby Orla. Rob said: “My wife is a local lady and I moved from Dublin to Nelson. I find the shopping centre is really handy for me to walk to from our home near Victoria Park.”

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Shop staff has seen a rise in the number of people visiting the shopping centre.

Charlotte Buckly has worked in Wilko for 12 years. She says: “I have seen some really positive changes in Pendle Rise, a lot more footfall. And I’ve noticed the community feel is coming back with an increasing number of traders. I remember coming here as a child and getting my ears pierced at a shop up on the balcony. We seem to be attracting more families, and the craft stalls seem popular at the weekend.”

Sarah West (41) has worked in the shopping centre since she was 16-years-old. She says: “I worked in Oddies previously and now in McColls – which is Martin’s Newsagents. We’ve noticed a big turnaround in here over the past 12 months.

“I’ve got a soft spot for this shopping centre and I’ve never lost my positivity about it. I’ve grown up here.

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“Christmas is my favourite time of year in Pendle Rise. We had Santa upstairs and lots of entertainment, it brought a real buzz to the town.”

Jim Rostron was the very first trader to walk through doors in 1967. He opened Jimmy the Jeweller, which is now run by his son, David.

He said: “Everybody was bewildered when the shopping centre was built, because they had no idea what it was going to be like. Shopping centres were a fairly new thing. The boss of the firm that built it told me it cost £1million back then.

“I’ve been retired a good few years now but I am a bit of a workaholic so I come and help out now and again.”