Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Friday 12th August 2022

The Leeds Arcades

arcadeGlossary Term [1] was fashionable with the aristocracy in the 18th century (for examples London's Burlington ArcadeGlossary Term [2]) it was the expansion of the wealth of the Victorian middle class in England's major cities that prompted its popularity in the 19th century.

They began in Leeds in the 1870s when the old commercial centre Briggate had become packed with tenements and shops. In response to the wealthy middle classes' demand for luxury goods Charles Thornton developed a prime site at the junction of the Headrow and Briggate in the 1870s, which offered not only a place where shoppers could promenade under cover but also a theatre. Indeed the relationship between theatres and arcades has always been closeGlossary Term [3] and as we will see many architects who specialised in theatre design easily turned their hand to arcades, with flamboyantGlossary Term [4] results.

Last updated: Monday, 26th January 2009