ironwork

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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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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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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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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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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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The highlights of North Bridge Arcade in Edinburgh are overhead. The round, dome-like stained glass ceiling in the middle of the arcade is magnificent, but the sparkling gold leaf mosaic on one of the ceilings gives the feel of a starlit night for those entering the arcade from the Old Town of Edinburgh. There are…

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Gay’s Arcade was opened in February 1886 just a few weeks after its neighbour Adelaide Arcade. It has a different feel, in part because a different architect designed it. Its main entrance in Twin Street is somewhat more modest than its illustrious neighbour, but inside, it has the same two-storey layout, with units on both…

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The Royal Opera Arcade in London is the oldest arcade in the UK, having been built between 1816 and 1818, so pre-dating even the Burlington Arcade. It runs from Pall Mall to Charles II Street, with His Majesty’s Theatre on Haymarket backing onto the northern end of the arcade. Sadly, it is almost deserted now,…

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George’s Street Arcade in Dublin runs through the middle of an enormous red sandstone market building, which had to be rebuilt after a disastrous fire gutted much of the building and destroyed the original arcade in 1892. It runs from South Great George’s Street through to Drury Street, close to Dublin Castle and Temple Bar….

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The Royal Arcade in Keighley, West Yorkshire, is still going strong, although in the 1980s it was derelict and might well have gone under the bulldozer. Thank goodness it was bought by developers who wanted to restore its Edwardian/Victorian charm. This arcade has a T-shape, with the name of the arcade standing clearly over the…

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The Galerie Vivienne is probably the most spectacular, eye-catching of the Paris arcades. Whether you look up, down or around, there are stylish delights to feast the eyes, from the tiled mosaic flooring, done by Italians Mazzioli and Facchina, to the classic figures in the coving and ceilings above; with its splendid glass dome, bringing…

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Hull once had at least six arcades, but of the two which survive, Paragon Arcade in the centre of the city pre-dates the old town’s Hepworth Arcade by two years, opening its doors in 1892. It runs in a straight line for about 80m, connecting Paragon Street and Carr Lane. Its name is carved into…

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When Southport’s Wayfarers Arcade was fully occupied with active businesses, the band was playing three times a day under the glass cupola roof, and the arcade was the place to be out in your finest outfit, promenading, it must have been a spectacularly beautiful place to see. Even today, with barely a dozen of the…

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