Thornton's Arcade

The firt of eight arcades built in Leeds up to 1900 is the unique GothicGlossary Term THORNTON'S ARCADEGlossary Term, designed by George Smith 1877-8, for Charles Thornton. It formed one part of a large development that included offices on the Headrow and the City Varieties Music Hall. The elaborate main front faces Briggate. Brick and painted stone, the lancetGlossary Term windows grouped in threes with columns between and the high arched entrance bayGlossary Term is surmounted by a pavilionGlossary Term with chateau roof."

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Leeds, Thornton's Arcade, Interior

The arcadeGlossary Term was built on the site of the Old Talbot Inn Yard between Lands Lane and Briggate, a narrow space which means the arcadeGlossary Term is long and rather squeezed (74 by 4.5 metres). It has no galleries but instead tall GothicGlossary Term arches and lancetGlossary Term windows above the shop fronts which give a church-like impression; slender engaged columns with foliated capitals divide the shop bays at first floor and brackets where angels might have flown are occupied by dragons which support horse-shoe shaped iron roof trusses with pierced gothicGlossary Term cross- arches. The site is sloped so the roof trusses are stepped and the overlapping glazing allows some ventilation.

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Leeds, Thornton's Arcade, Clock

At the top (W) end of the arcadeGlossary Term above the entrance is a clock tableau made by Potts and Sons of Leeds (background info on Potts needed). Its bell is struck by a colourful group of cast-iron figures by J.W.Appleyard including Friar Tuck, Richard Coeur de Lion, Robin Hood and Gurth the Swineherd, from Walter Scott's 'Ivanhoe'.



Series of arches supported by piers or columns (compare colonnade). Blind arcade or arcading: the same applied to the wall surface. Wall arcade: in medieval churches, a blind arcade forming a dado below windows. Also a covered shopping street.


Division of an elevation or interior space as defined by regular vertical features such as arches, columns, windows etc.


The style of the Middle Ages from the later 12th century to the Renaissance, with which it co-existed in certain forms into the 17th century. Characterized in its full development by the pointed arch, the rib-vault and an often skeletal masonry structure for churches, combined with large glazed windows. The term was originally associated with the concept of the barbarian Goths as assailants of classical civilization.


Slender single-light, pointed-arched window. Hence lancet style, the first phase of English Gothic architecture (c. 1180-1250; also called Early English), from its use of such windows.


Ornamental building for occasional use in a garden, park, etc.; or a projecting subdivision of a larger building, often at an angle or terminating a wing.