The Arcade, Newark


The Arcade in Newark opened in 1897, with ten shops available for rent. At the time, it would have been a main walk through to the Market Place, and even today is still part of the overall pedestrianised centre of Newark. There are still beautiful curved glass shop windows and an attractive glass ceiling to the arcade today, but this is not the high-end, promenaders arcade of London or Southport – it has the feel of a workaday shopping passage, but with stories to tell of its past: the boy who stole boots in 1906, the girl found crying and alone in the arcade in 1904 or the couple who met here in 1916 and celebrated their golden anniversary in the 1960s.

My favourite shop today

We arrived a bit late in the day on a Saturday to really investigate the shops – there were a couple of interesting looking vintage shops selling clothes and records, but our focus was getting a cuppa, and for that we had to go back to the main square in Newark.

My pick of the arcade’s past

In 1904, an 18 year old boy was arrested after stealing two pairs of boots from the boot store in the arcade. The youth was on his way walking from London to Manchester, and took shelter from the rain in the arcade in Newark. He was tempted by the boots hanging in the shop doorway, concluding that if he was caught, he’d at least get a few days’ shelter in prison, and if he was not caught, he could continue walking more comfortably to Manchester.

But there was also romance linked to the arcade. Albert and Edith Watson met in the arcade during World War One. He was hobbling through the arcade on crutches after being injured at Gallipoli; she was rushing home on a wintry night when he chatted her up and suggested they go to the pictures instead of heading home. They were still together 51 years later when the story was reported in 1967.

Stories here courtesy of – The British Library Board; 1) Newark Herald, 16 February 1907; 2) Newark Advertiser, 18 March 1967, Iliffe News & Media Ltd.

This arcade in films or books

I didn’t manage to find any films or books set in The Arcade, Newark. The 2020 Channel 4 sitcom Skins was based and filmed in Newark, but can anyone tell me if they spotted the arcade in any of the episodes?

What’s your favourite shop in the arcade today?

What memories do you have of visits in years gone by?

Have you got any good stories to add on the past of this arcade?

Have you seen Newark Arcade in any other film or book?

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