White Rose Shopping Centre is celebrating its 25th birthday with a 1990s-themed party this coming weekend.
To mark its silver anniversary as a Leeds institution, guests are invited to enjoy a one-of-a-kind retro 90s party experience, including:
- Game show-inspired activities including Plinko, The Price is Right, and Play Your Cards Right – all free to play
- Chances to win birthday prizes and sweet 90s treats
- A DJ live in the Central Atrium, playing 90s favourites including Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys, and more.
The centre will also be decorated with a giant birthday cake, complete with a very special version of the White Rose logo created to mark the occasion by Eva, a student at Asquith Primary School.
Steven Foster, centre director at White Rose, said: “We’re delighted to be marking 25 years of White Rose, and pleased that we can invite guests to celebrate with us in person.
“We’re proud of our achievements over the past quarter-century – from opening our new leisure extension The Village, to installing almost 3,000 solar panels on our roof, and there’s plenty to look forward to including the new nearby train station and a relocated, flagship Marks and Spencer.
“Here’s to another 25 years and beyond.”
In celebration of the centre’s birthday, here are 25 things you may not know about White Rose:
- White Rose was opened on March 25 1997, a £64m development on the site of the former Morley sewage works
- White Rose sits on a 76-acre site, the equivalent of 246 Olympic swimming pools
- Speaking of which, paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft OBE is White Rose Shopping Centre’s accessibility ambassador, helping to champion accessibility throughout the centre
- Works commenced to build White Rose on July 10, 1995, and took 87 weeks
- 1.3 million bricks were used during construction. If placed end to end, these would cover 2,020 miles – the same distance from Morley to Tenerife
- Twice as much steel was used in the construction of White Rose than Blackpool Tower
- On opening, White Rose had its own radio station streamed live from the centre
- White Rose was the first UK Shopping Centre to start a ‘Mall Walkers’ programme, offering a safe and dry place for guests to tot up their steps. Launched in 2003, it is still running to this day
- White Rose has 5,000 free parking spaces on site – if lined up, those 5,000 cars would cover the distance from White Rose to Leeds Bradford Airport
- The distance to walk from one end of White Rose to the other is ¼ mile
- The Village, White Rose’s outdoor leisure development of new restaurants and an 11-screen Cineworld cinema was added in 2017 at a cost of £25m – the 65,000 sq ft extension is the equivalent size of the Leeds United Football Club pitch at Elland Road
- White Rose’s Cineworld cinema has 11 screens including IMAX and one of the UK’s only ScreenX systems, a 270-degree viewing experience
- White Rose has one of the largest installations of solar panels in the UK – its 2,902 panels generate enough electricity to power 200 homes for a year
- A hive of 100,000 bees live on White Rose’s roof and are tended to by their very own on-site beekeeper
- White Rose has an electricity-free rainwater system which re-uses water from downpours to result in 40,000 ‘free’ flushes per year
- A whopping 23 staff have been at White Rose or its retailers for 25 years since it opened
- White Rose created the UK’s largest bouquet of white roses to celebrate Yorkshire Day in 2016
- The centre has won the coveted ‘Loo of the Year’ award, as well as being awarded Bronze in a 2022 ranking of the top UK shopping centres for breastfeeding mums. Its facilities include baby change areas, showers, and a Changing Places space to meet the needs of visitors with accessibility requirements
- White Rose hosts its own Community Awards every year, with previous winners including Leeds’ Children’s Mayor, Leeds Ahead Partnership founder Stephanie Burras CBE, and local amateur boxer Abby Briggs
- White Rose supports a number of local organisations and charities including Child Friendly Leeds and its current charity of the year, Leeds South and East Foodbank
- Making the centre comfortable and welcoming for all visitors is important to the team at White Rose – it worked with Specialist Autism Services to create an Autism-Friendly Guide to the centre, available for free at Customer Services and on its website, and hosts weekly Quiet Hours from 10am – midday every Tuesday to provide a calmer shopping environment for guests
- White Rose diverts 100 per cent of its waste from landfill – more than 70 per cent of waste produced on-site is recycled
- The centre has its own Woodland Walk boasting a variety of wildlife and foliage, including some protected species, which is used regularly by local walkers
- A number of renowned brands have made White Rose home to flagship stores, including Next, River Island, and a new Marks and Spencer due to open in 2023
- White Rose has close relationships with South Leeds schools including Cockburn School, which designs the trophies for its annual Community Awards and creates them in its Glass Room, and Asquith Primary School, which hosted the design competition to create a special logo for its 25th birthday