Simon Duffin

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Byram Arcade in Huddersfield is unique in having three storeys, all of which have active businesses operating still today, unlike the handful of other arcades around the UK which can claim to climb up three floors. The glass ceiling was repaired in 2024, bringing brightness and light back to this thriving arcade full of independent,…

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Jones’ Arcade is a short simple arcade built in 1912 in this small Welsh Valleys town just north of Cardiff. There’s only a handful of shops, nearly all catering for different aspects of health and beauty, so quite a change from when the arcade first opened. Ystrad Mynach would hardly be the sort of place…

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It’s hard to imagine that this 1920s arcade was once the Welsh hub for the worldwide film industry, with every reel of film doing the rounds of cinemas making its way through this arcade at the height of the movie era. There’s a nice 1921 logo at both ends of the arcade, though the name…

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The entrance to Duke Street Arcade in Cardiff is in a prime location directly opposite the magnificent walls of Cardiff Castle. Cardiff’s only Edwardian arcade is actually a short arm shooting off from the longer High St Arcade (which will receive a separate entry on An Arcades Project). The arcade was home to two main…

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The Royal Arcade in Cardiff dates from either 1859 or 1870, depending on sources. It’s a long, relatively-narrow arcade running over 100m from St Mary Street to The Hayes, but very light due to the glass ceiling running virtually the full length and across the whole width of the arcade. It has a mix of…

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Morgan Arcade in Cardiff was built in the late 1890s in a rather unique form with one long passageway from St Mary Street then two arms, with one curving pleasantly round to the left, ending at The Hayes, and the right arm ending in an alleyway, though not to be missed, as it has a…

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The Grand Arcade in Leeds is about five minutes walk from the other arcades in Leeds, but it pre-dates most of them and still has the original clock from 1898, though the imperial characters who used to mark every hour by marching across the front no longer move, even though the clock does still tell…

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It’s hard to imagine today that Boscombe’s beautiful Victorian arcade used to host daily concerts, with an organ, an orchestra and singers on the balcony. It reminded me of Southport’s wonderful Wayfarers’ Arcade in the sense that it has seen better days, though I think even the Southport arcade has more connection back to its…

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This 1880s arcade in the Westbourne district of Bournemouth was built by the same man as had been behind Bournemouth’s first arcade in the town centre. It’s a lovely arcade, with a slight bend in the walkway – and glass ceiling – along its 100 metres plus length. It’s one of the few fully-tenanted arcades…

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The oldest arcade in Bournemouth was built in the 1860s, with the glass roof going up in the early 1870s. It’s a simple walkway in the centre of the town about 100 metres long. There’s an interesting mix of shops today from the oldest resident, Chas. Fox, the jeweller’s, here for over 100 years, to…

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Krüger Passage in Dortmund was built in 1912 by the latest in this family of printers and booksellers, who ran a local newspaper and had a bookshop which ran the whole length of one side of the arcade when it opened. Sadly, that bookshop closed in 2009 after 97 years of business in the arcade…

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Stockholm’s only vintage shopping arcade was built in the 1890s and supposedly modelled on what was then the magnificent Kaisergalerie in Berlin, although it’s impossible to compare now as Berlin’s arcades didn’t survive the destruction of World War 2. Birger Jarlspassagen was never very long in the first place, measuring only about 40m, with just…

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Cross Arcade in Leeds’ Victoria Quarter sits perpendicular to the larger County Arcade, rather like in Brussels the Passage des Princes sits astride the more glamorous Galeries du Roi and de la Reine. It was built at the same time as County Arcade, opening slightly later in 1902, but with a very similar entrance and…

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County Arcade is the glamorous member of the Leeds Arcade family of five. It’s certainly an impressive building still today, almost 125 years after it first opened. With its neighbour and close sibling Cross Arcade, it now forms part of what has been dubbed the ‘Victoria Quarter’ of Leeds. I actually like what Leeds (and…

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De Passage in The Hague is a superb arcade with extraordinary high glass ceilings and three arms, all leading out from the central glass dome. The dome and two of those arms were built in 1885; the third arm in 1929. The original foundation stone was laid a little four year old girl called Eliza,…

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The original Passage Lemonnier in Liege was built in the 1830s, making it almost 10 years older than its neighbours in Brussels. But this arcade in Liege was completely rebuilt in Art Deco style 100 years later, so the passage today has more of a 1930s feel. RAF bombing in May 1940, followed by 1960s…

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Queen’s Arcade in Leeds has a classic glass ceiling with solid, but decorative ironwork holding everything up, and an attractive series of vintage lamps hanging down from the ceiling. There is an upstairs balcony with more wrought-iron railings running the length of both sides, though no longer accessible to the public these days. My favourite…

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The oldest arcade in Leeds, Thornton’s Arcade was opened in 1877. The Yorkshire Post newspaper at the time saw it as “Leeds catching up with the great cities of Europe.” And it’s still up there among the great arcades of the UK, with its curved glass ceiling, supported by beautiful blue ironwork and a red…

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Reliance Arcade is Brixton’s own bit of Art Deco. There’s no grand entrance here, and it’s easy to walk right on past the front of this arcade on Brixton’s high street in south London, unless you spot the (almost) rainbow-themed decoration forming an arch over the way in, flanked by a very modern vaping shop…

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The Galerie St Francois in Lausanne is an art nouveau arcade built in the first decade of the 20th century. It slopes downhill, connecting the busy shopping street Rue du Bourg with the main road heading down towards Lausanne train station, the Avenue Benjamin-Constant. The arcade is covered by a curving glass ceiling, with simple…

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Originally built in the mid-1920s, Quadrant Arcade has recently had a major refurbishment. Its new look is chic, glamorous, fairly modern in its style, but this is still very definitely an arcade and its position at the bottom of Regent Street gives it real kerb appeal. I visited first when most of the shop units…

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The highlight of Geneva’s Passage des Lions is surely the glass ceiling, with its intricate ironwork support and the dome in the centre, even if this is not original from the arcade’s origins in 1910. The four lions that guard the two entrances and give the arcade its name are also star attractions, two of…

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Built in the 1870s, Imperial Arcade is the oldest arcade in Huddersfield, beating its more glamorous and illustrious neighbour, Byram Arcade by half a dozen years. It has a classic glass ceiling, with ironwork to give structure and decoration above eye level. It’s only a short arcade these days, with signage in Market Street indicating…

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Chester’s history goes back to Roman times, with many of the shops in the city centre under cover along raised walkways in Tudor buildings lining the main streets. The city’s only arcade, in An Arcades Project’s sense of the word, is St Michael’s Row, which runs off Bridge Street and through the façade of a…

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The highlight of Charleroi’s Passage de la Bourse is surely the curve in the length of the arcade, which means the glass ceiling not only curves up to form a rounded roof, but it also curves round the length of the passage. It’s a striking feature as you enter the arcade from the red brick…

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Argyll Arcade in Glasgow is approaching its bicentenary, making it one of the UK’s oldest arcades. These days the arcade is home virtually exclusively to jeweller’s, some of whom have been in business in the arcade for over 150 years. It also has the entrance to one of Glasgow’s culinary institutions, Sloan’s restaurant, with its…

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This 1882 arcade lies just north of the city centre in Brussels. With grand columns marking its entrance on the Boulevard, and high ceilings almost as impressive as its neighbours in the Galeries Royales, the Passage du Nord is a three-storey building decorated with nymphs and cherubs, lovely hanging lamps, and an impressive clock up…

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Sanderson Arcade in the Northumberland market town of Morpeth is rather unique, in that it was completely rebuilt in 2009, but in a more vintage style (Edwardian, claim the architects) than the old 1950s arcade it replaced, the latter having become dilapidated and run-down. Judging by the footfall on the Saturday afternoon we visited, the…

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The Arcade in Ilkley opened in 1895, with lots of small businesses typical of a Yorkshire market town like this.  By the time of Margaret MacKeith’s 1983 book, it was a ‘very quiet arcade struggling to exist, far from modern shopping centre.’ But in the middle of the Covid pandemic, Outside the Box moved in,…

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The little, crescent-shaped arcade with two entrances on Keighley’s North Street is part of the larger Arcade Chambers building in this former grand Yorkshire mill town. There is a hair salon fronting onto the street, but the main tenant in the arcade these days is surely RiRi’s Coffee House, with its stylish shop front painted…

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