Category Archives: Shopping

Indulge your passion for fashion and food at Seven Dials Fashion Feast

© Seven Dials

Fashion Feast is, a new shopping and food event on Saturday 10 June

Shopaholics rejoice! There’s a new festival where you can get your summer wardrobe sorted while indulging your appetite and your passion for Prosecco.

This Saturday 10 June, over 100 shops, bars and restaurants will be taking part in a free shopping and food event. Fashion Feast in Seven Dials will feature a host of events, freebies, entertainment, workshops and exclusive offers.

The streets of Seven Dials will be closed to road traffic with an urban garden popping up around the central dial monument. London steak specialists Hawksmoor and Fords Gin will be serving free gin and tonics on the lush summer lawn dotted with deckchairs. There will also be free taco tasting from Monmouth Kitchen. Meanwhile, there will be free ice cream from the Benefit van on Shorts Gardens, where Japanese tea specialists My Cup of Tea will also be offering free iced teas.

Foodies will be able to pick up some cooking tips from the ‘In The Kitchen With…’ stage hosted by Jamie Oliver’s social protégé vlogger Katie Pix. Chefs from the area’s restaurants, including Native, Hawksmoor, Chick ‘n’ Sours, Monmouth Kitchen and Talli Joe, will be showing visitors how to make their signature dishes.

Diners at some of Seven Dials independent eateries, Cure & Cut, Canela and 26 Grains, will be able to enjoy their dishes outside for an afternoon of alfresco dining. While chowing down, visitors will be entertained with live music from Entrée and London 5-piece band Version.

For those in the mood for a pamper, there will be a Sassoon styling station for quick up dos and haircare advice; skincare experts Fresh and Neal’s Yard Remedies giving beauty tips and demos; Murdock London providing outdoor barbering and Another Space fitness experts putting on spin performances. Fashion fans can head to the pop-up style hub on Neal Street to check out the brands from Seven Dials and enter a competition to win a £1,000 shopping spree. There will also be a photobooth to capture your fashion moment.

If you’re in the mood to shop, brands across Seven Dials will be offering up to 25% discount. Register for a free ticket to obtain discounts at over 30 fabulous names, including Caudalie, Ron Dorff, Larsson & Jennings, Coco de Mer, Frame Set and Match, The Cambridge Satchel Company, Ollie Quin, Office and Offspring.

  • Seven Dials Fashion Feast takes place on 10 June 2017. From 12-5pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register for your discount, visit the Seven Dials website.

For a guide to what else is on in June, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

Cycle Revolution: Get on yer bike at London’s newest festival

© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

The new Cycle Revolution Festival will take place on 6 May
© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

A new cycle festival is coming to the capital in May, running as a satellite to the Tweed Run. Social supremos Bourne & Hollingsworth are launching Cycle Revolution on 6 May – an all-day, outdoor event celebrating the cycling lifestyle. Taking place in the leafy Spa Fields in Clerkenwell, the festival will be a contrast to the soulless conference centres which usually host cycling events.

Cycle Revolution aims to bring cycling culture to ordinary Londoners who bike to work or on their weekends. The alfresco event will feature over 20 stalls selling cycle gadgets, accessories and athleisurewear from local businesses and cutting edge lifestyle brands from across the capital. There will be the chance to take part in interactive workshops, live demonstrations and bike polo. Meanwhile, a Cycle Forum will feature poetry slams, live quizzes, Q&As and readings. Aside from the bike-centric activities, there will also be live music, acoustic sets and vinyl DJs, while you can refresh yourself from street food stalls, coffee shops and B&H cocktail bars.

Meanwhile, on the same day, the 9th annual Tweed Run will take off from Clerkenwell. Cyclists will dress up in their best tweed and cycling attire for the 12 mile route through the scenic streets of the capital. Along the way will be breaks for tea, with plenty of cocktails waiting at the festival and closing ceremony. There will be prizes for the best-dressed man and woman, smartest bicycle and finest moustache, among others.

  • Cycle Revolution and The Tweed Run take place on 6 May 2017. The Tweed Run starts at 11am. Cycle Revolution takes place from 12pm-8pm at Spa Fields, Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1. Nearest station: Farringdon or Angel. Free entry. For more information, visit the Tweed Run website or Billetto.

For a guide to what else is on in London in May, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Discounts, freebies, shopping and more as Carnaby Style Night returns

Carnaby Street

Shopping, music and more at the Carnaby Style Night

Love fashion? Prefer a more boutique-shopping experience to the mega malls? Well, just metres away from the hectic retail thoroughfare of Oxford Circus is a rather more chilled and relaxing shopping experience in the Carnaby London district. Comprising Carnaby Street and the surrounding streets, there’s a host of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars in this Soho enclave.

Returning this May, is the annual Carnaby Style Night. The businesses of the area will be offering an evening of discounts, freebies, competitions, special events… and of course, shopping! On Thursday 4 May between 5 and 9pm, dozens of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes will be offering 20% off.

When you want a break from the retail therapy, there are a host of activities and experiences to keep you entertained. Pose up a storm in the Airstream GIF booth at the Style Studio or capture your style in a live digital illustrations with artist Willa Gebbie. Johnny’s Chop Shop will be giving free on-street haircuts. Meanwhile, fashion fans will want to drop into Carnaby’s style session at 3 Carnaby Street to hear what’s hot.

People who register for their free discount ticket can enjoy a complimentary cocktail at the Beetle Juice VW pop-up bar. During the evening, Carnaby Style Hunters will be rewarding fashionistas with a goodie bag worth £200. For those wanting some entertainment, steps into MOSCOT for live music, or watch the Drag Queen ‘Men In Make Up’ event at Illamasqua. Meanwhile, Fred Perry and Onitsuka Tiger will be serving complimentary food and drink, and Superga will be offering trainer customisation. Early starters can head to triyoga for a free class with Jeff Phenix from 4.30-5.30pm, in collaboration with Ohmme.

Among the bars, restaurants and cafes offering discounts includes Dirty Bones, Le Bab, Whyte & Brown, Pizza Pilgrims, Island Poké, Dehesa, Señor Ceviche, Cahoots and Disrepute. To register for a free ticket to get your 20% off on the evening and the chance to win £500 to spend in Carnaby and digital subscription to GQ for a whole year, visit the Carnaby London website.

  • Carnaby Style Night takes place on 4 May 2017 from 5-9pm. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information and to register for your free ticket, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Shopping in style – Part 5: An art deco gem Princes Arcade

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Princes Arcade was built in the 1930s in the Victorian Princes Hall

Decades before the likes of Westfield and Brent Cross came to London, those who wanted to shop in comfort headed to one of the capital’s arcades. Like the mega malls of today, these arcades featured numerous shops under one roof, providing a sheltered retail experience whatever the weather. However, as well laid out as these modern fashion meccas are, they just can’t compare to the historic and upmarket designs of the late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. As part of Metro Girl’s series on the five historic arcades of Mayfair and St James, Part 5 focuses on the youngest, the Princes Arcade, which unlike the others, wasn’t purpose built.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Princes Arcade features a simple blue, white and grey colour scheme

Princes Arcade is part of Princes House at 190–195 Piccadilly  which was originally built to house the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. The building, designed by English architect Edward Robert Robson (1836-1917) and built by Messrs. Holland and Hannen, and Messrs. Peto Brothers of Pimlico, featured galleries, shops and a public hall. Robson was famous for his London state schools of the 1870s and early 1880s. The Piccadilly-facing ground floor featured six shops, with their own basements and mezzanine. On the façade of the building were eight portrait busts by sculptor Edward Onslow Ford (1852-1901). The building was in a prime location opposite the road from the Royal Academy and was opened by Prince and Princess of Wales (the future Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) in April 1883.

The main public gallery in the building was called the Prince’s Hall. However, by the turn of the 20th century, the Hall was joined with the Prince’s Hotel in the rear and it started being used as a restaurant. Between 1929 and 1933, the gallery building and the Prince’s Hotel underwent significant alterations, with the Princes Arcade being constructed at the time. The new arcade linked Jermyn Street and Piccadilly and opened in 1933. The Princes Arcade is roughly about 200ft long and features shopfronts projecting into the aisle on scrolled bracket. The southern part of the Arcade has a lower ceiling than the northern part, with the latter featuring decorative plasterwork with the Princes of Wales feathers.

In World War II, Princes Arcade fell prey to bomb damage in 1940, prompting repairs and alterations. The galleries of the Royal Institute were also damaged, reopening in July 1948. By 1972, the entire building was Grade II-listed – two years after the Royal Institute’s lease expired and they moved to the Mall Galleries near Trafalgar Square.

The Princes Arcade was renovated in 1983 and is now sporting a blue, grey and white colour scheme. The original lanterns were restored in 2011 and are now a dark grey colour. Today, the Arcade is home to Andy & Tuly, Barker Shoes, Bates Hatters, Christys’ Hats, Loake Shoemakers, Sage Brown, Segun Adelaja, Simply Gem, Smart Turnout, St Petersburg Collection, The Left Shoe Company and Prestat – Roald Dahl’s favourite chocolatier.

  • Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, St. James’s, SW1Y 6DS. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Princes Arcade website.

‘Shopping In Style’ is a series of blog posts on the history of London’s oldest shopping arcades. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to keep up to date with my latest posts. Read Part 1 on the Burlington Arcade here, Part 2 on the Royal Opera Arcade here, Part 3 on the Royal Arcade here or Part 4 on the Piccadilly Arcade here.


For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Shopping in style – Part 4: Edwardian chic at the Piccadilly Arcade

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Piccadilly Arcade

Decades before the likes of Westfield and Brent Cross came to London, those who wanted to shop in comfort headed to one of the capital’s arcades. Like the mega malls of today, these arcades featured numerous shops under one roof, providing a sheltered retail experience whatever the weather. However, as well laid out as these modern fashion meccas are, they just can’t compare to the historic and upmarket designs of the late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. As part of Metro Girl’s series on the five historic arcades of Mayfair and St James, Part 4 will be focusing on the Edwardian of the quintet – the Piccadilly Arcade.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the St James area was a hangout for the capital’s gentry and royals with a host of gentlemen’s shops and businesses catering for the upper classes. St James’s Palace was in the area, as well as prestigious members’ clubs, such as The Athenaeum and The Carlton Club. Swiss hotelier César Ritz (1850-1918) had opened his ground-breaking Ritz Hotel on Piccadilly in 1906. Following the death of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and the ascension of King Edward VII (1841-1910), the country was changing, with styles of fashion and architecture evolving into less gloomy and simpler designs.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The façade of the Piccadilly Arcade on its namesake street

When it came to London’s shopping arcades, by the early 20th century, it had been a while since any new ones had been built. The Royal Opera and Burlington Arcades were over eight decades old at this point, while the Lowther Arcade was demolished in 1904 after standing on The Strand for over 70 years. In 1909, work started on a new shopping mecca – the Piccadilly Arcade. The Edwardian arcade linked Piccadilly and Jermyn Street – famous as London’s retail destination for well-dressed gentlemen. Architect George Thrale Jell of Waterloo Place was brought in to design it. Throughout his career, Jell was a popular architect for retailers, having designed several stores in Oxford Street, including the Hanan-Gingell shoe shop in 1908 (now home to branches of Fossil watches and Sunglasses Hut), flats in Bury Street and converted the Georgian building, 138 Park Lane into offices and flats in the late 1920s.

The arcade was constructed by builders Messrs. Leslie and Co. of Kensington Square in 1910. The ground-floor arcade featured 28 shops, while the remaining upper floors were used as offices and chambers. The façade of the building is made of Portland stone and features four columns supporting a architrave with the words ‘Piccadilly Arcade’. Above, a wide wrought iron balcony spans the five windows of the 2nd floor, with further storeys of windows and smaller balconies above. The fifth floor features another wide balcony, while dormer windows stand out on the 6th floor slated roof. The upper storeys were converted into the Felix Hotel in 1915, but is now called Empire House and is mostly offices.

Among the first businesses to open in the arcade were the shirtmakers Budd, who are still trading today over a century later. Harold Budd established his shirt shop at No.4 in 1910, which was set over three floors. Meanwhile, tailors Hawes & Curtis, founded by Ralph Hawes and George Frederick Curtis, opened their first store at No.24 in February 1913. Over one hundred years later, they now have over 20 stores in the UK.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

A statue of Regency dandy Beau Brummell

The Piccadilly Arcade traded in peace for 20 years before World War II brought death and destruction to the streets of London. At 3.10am on 17 April 1941, the Jermyn Street end of the building was severely damaged by a 2,200lb parachute bomb. Twenty three people were killed, including the 1930s singer Al Bowlly (1898-1941), who lived on the corner of Jermyn Street. The Dunhill store on the corner of Jermyn Street took a direct hit, while Fortnum & Mason and the Cavendish Hotel were also damaged. Budd’s shop at No.4 in the arcade was burnt down so Harold Budd swiftly purchased the remaining leases on the only two intact stores in the arcade; 1A and 3, where Budd remains trading today. The Piccadilly Arcade was gradually restored, with work finishing in 1957.

Today, the Piccadilly Arcade is home to tailors, shirtmakers, shoe shops, jewellers, hairdressers, womenswear, pharmacy and mustard and vinegar makers. Meanwhile, those who enter or exit through the Arcade’s south entrance of Jermyn Street will be greeted by Irena Sedlecká’s sculpture of Beau Brummell (1778-1840), a Regency dandy who was famous for his dress sense.

  • Piccadilly Arcade, Piccadilly or Jermyn Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6NH. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Piccadilly Arcade website.

‘Shopping In Style’ is a series of blog posts on the history of London’s oldest shopping arcades. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to keep up to date with my latest posts. Read Part 1 on the Burlington Arcade here, Part 2 on the Royal Opera Arcade here, Part 3 on the Royal Arcade here, or Part 5 on the Prince Arcade, click here.


For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Shopping in style – Part 3: Retail therapy Victorian style at the Royal Arcade

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Royal Arcade is the oldest surviving Victorian shopping arcade

Decades before the likes of Westfield and Brent Cross came to London, those who wanted to shop in comfort headed to one of the capital’s arcades. Like the mega malls of today, these arcades featured numerous shops under one roof, providing a sheltered retail experience whatever the weather. However, as well laid out as these modern fashion meccas are, they just can’t compare to the historic and upmarket designs of the late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. As part of Metro Girl’s series on the five historic arcades of Mayfair and St James, Part 3 will be focusing on the only surviving Victorian one – the Royal Arcade.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Albemarle Street entrance to the Victorian arcade

London’s first ever shopping arcade – the Royal Opera Arcade in St James opened in 1818, with the Burlington Arcade in Mayfair following a year later. The Lowther Arcade was established in The Strand in 1830, but unlike its contemporaries, it didn’t survive far into the 20th century when it was demolished in 1904. After the Lowther opened, it was a 49 years before another arcade joined the capital’s retail industry.

The Royal Arcade was originally known as simply The Arcade and was first envisioned in 1864 as a link between Old Bond Street and Regent Street. However, these proposals were rejected due to the required volume of demolition of existing buildings. However, the plans were revised into its current design by Victorian architects Thomas Archer and Arthur Green (1847-1904). Archer & Green shared a practice for over 15 years before going their separate ways in 1889, during which they designed Whitehall Court, No.1 Cambridge Gate and the Hyde Park Hotel (now the Mandarin Oriental). Green was the father of Leslie Green (1875-1908), who designed many of London’s tube stations, including Oxford Circus, Camden Town, Covent Garden, Holborn and South Kensington. His stations are recognisable due to their ox blood red tiling on the buildings’ exteriors.

The Clarendon Hotel on Albemarle Street was demolished in 1870, freeing up the space for construction of The Arcade, which opened in 1879. In contrast to the older shopping arcades of the capital, The Royal Arcade is a lot more ornate in design. The two-storey arcade features curved bay windows on the ground floor with Ionic columns separating the 16 shops. The first floor features cast iron balconies overlooking the walkway. Looking up, the aisle is covered by a saddled glazed roof and arches with stucco detailing. Meanwhile, the orange and white façade of the building features reliefs symbolising abundance and commerce, caryatids (sculpted female figures taking the place of a column) and a portrait of Queen Victoria.

Read the rest of this entry

Santa’s behind you! Shopping, panto and food at Sutton House Christmas

© Sutton House

Head to Sutton House for the pantomime-themed Christmas fair every weekend

Sutton House in Hackney is a rare gem. A Tudor manor house in the heart of East London. Now restored and run by the National Trust, the doors of the centuries old building are preparing to open for a special festive event. Every weekend from Saturday 26 November until Sunday 18 December 2016, Sutton House will be hosting a pantomime-themed Christmas fair.

The historic building will be transformed into an indoor winter wonderland featuring designer stalls and high quality food and drink. Each room will be themed around a pantomime and feature live action characters from Jack & The Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, Puss In Boots, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks, Snow White, Alice In Wonderland, The Beauty and The Beast, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Robin Hood, and the Wizard Of Oz. As well as getting up close with their favourite characters, children will also be able to visit the man of the moment himself, Santa, in his grotto, a double-decker caravan.

Meanwhile, there will also be a range of evening entertainment over the Christmas period, including carol performances, film previews, foodie events, local theatre productions of Beauty And The Beast and more. For the event, Sutton House has teamed up with City Showcase Markets, who are famous for the Embankment Summer Market, Soho Flea Market and Dalston Christmas Market.

  • Sutton House Christmas will take place every weekend from 12-5pm between 26 November – 18 December 2016. Sutton House, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, Homerton, E9 6JQ. Nearest stations: Homerton or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the National Trust website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

For a guide to Christmas markets and fairs, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Shopping in style – Part 2: The world’s oldest arcade, the Royal Opera Arcade

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Royal Opera Arcade in St James is the world’s oldest existing shopping arcade

Decades before the likes of Westfield and Brent Cross came to London, those who wanted to shop in comfort headed to one of the capital’s arcades. Like the mega malls of today, these arcades featured numerous shops under one roof, providing a sheltered retail experience whatever the weather. However, as well laid out as these modern fashion meccas are, they just can’t compare to the historic and upmarket designs of the late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods. As part of Metro Girl’s series on the five historic arcades of Mayfair and St James, Part 2 will be focusing on where it all began; the Royal Opera Arcade – the oldest arcade in the world.

The names and buildings of Her Majesty’s Theatre

1705: The Queen’s Theatre built
1709: Theatre is dedicated to Italian Opera. Often referred to as ‘the Opera House’
1714: Renamed The King’s Theatre
1789: The King’s Theatre burns down
1791: Theatre is rebuilt and reopens
1837: Renamed Her Majesty’s Theatre, Italian Opera House
1867: Fire destroys the second theatre
1869: New theatre built
1892: Third theatre demolished
1897: Current Her Majesty’s Theatre opens
1901: Renamed His Majesty’s Theatre
1952: Renamed Her Majesty’s Theatre

Now you could well be confused wondering why the Royal Opera Arcade is over a kilometre away from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Well the current opera house has only been in its current location since 1847. The current Her Majesty’s Theatre on Haymarket is the fourth theatre to stand on the site and has experienced numerous name changes throughout history. Throughout the 18th and early 19th century, the theatre was renowned as the place in London to see opera and ballet. However, in 1846, Michael Costa (1808-1884), conductor at Her Majesty’s, had a dispute with the owners and switched allegiance to the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, bringing most of the company with him. Theatre Royal, Covent Garden was then renamed the Italian Opera House, eventually becoming the Royal Opera House in 1892.

The Royal Opera Arcade was conceived as an add-on to the second theatre to stand on the site – the King’s Theatre. The original King’s Theatre burned down in 1789 and replaced by a new building in 1791, designed by Michael Novosielski (1747–1795), an architect and former scene painter. When it opened, it was the largest theatre in the country. However, as the 19th century progressed, the theatre was in need of improvement. Regency architect John Nash (1752-1835) and his assistant George Stanley Repton (d.1858) altered the façade of the theatre and increased the capacity of the auditorium to 2,500 in 1816-1818. To the west of the theatre, they added the Royal Opera Arcade. Nash is also famous for designing Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, Carlton House Terrace and many others.

Read the rest of this entry

Discounts, freebies, music and more @ St Martin’s Courtyard festive shopping evening

St Martins Courtyard

Head to St Martin’s Courtyard for a Christmas shopping event with entertainment, freebies, discounts and more

It’s six weeks until Christmas so it’s probably time to start preparing if you haven’t already. When joining the throngs on Oxford Street or Westfield sounds rather unappetising, one of London’s less obvious shopping destinations is creating a more relaxing retail experience.

On Thursday 17 November, St Martin’s Courtyard in Covent Garden will be hosting a festive shopping party, featuring Christmas lights switch-on, entertainment, discounts, offers and complimentary drinks. The dark winter nights will be lit up by a bronze and gold festive light installation inspired by holly leaves designed by James Glancy.

Kicking things off at 5pm, gospel choir Urban Voices Collection will be performing in the courtyard. Shoppers will be able to snack on free warm mince pies and brandy butter while they soak up the festive atmosphere. Also providing the entertainment is jazz/soul vocalist, Simone Kaye, who has performed with Emeli Sande, Joss Stone and Craig David.

Meanwhile, the shops and boutiques of the area will be offering exclusive discounts between 10-30%, free gifts, competitions and activities. Visitors will also be treated to a complimentary glass of Prosecco (register for free ticket on the website) to help fuel your inspiration for gift buying.

Among the stores and restaurants taking part are Arc’teryx, Banana Republic, Barbour, Bill’s, Blow Ltd, Cycle Surgery, Cos, Dalla Terra, Eileen Fisher, Jack Wills, Jack Wolfskin, LK Bennett, Lorna Jane, Massimo Dutti, Pretty Ballerinas, Relax, Suda Thai, The Covent Garden Academy Of Flowers, The East India Company, The White Company and Yotopia.

  • The Festive Shopping Evening takes place on Thursday 17 November 2016 from 5-9pm. At St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden, WC2E 9AB. Nearest station: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For more information and to register for your free ticket to obtain discounts and offers, visit the St Martin’s Courtyard website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in November, click here.

Or for listings of London’s Christmas markets and fairs, read this.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Shopping in style – Part 1: The history of the Burlington Arcade

Burlington Arcade © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Burlington Arcade has been standing in Mayfair since 1819

Decades before the likes of Westfield came to London, those who wanted to shop in comfort headed to one of the capital’s arcades. Like the mega malls of today, these arcades featured numerous shops under one roof, providing a sheltered retail experience whatever the weather. However, as well laid out as these modern fashion meccas are, they just can’t compare to the historic and upmarket designs of the late Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian period. As part of Metro Girl’s series on the five historic arcades of Mayfair and St James, I will be starting with the Burlington Arcade – the longest and the 2nd oldest of the arcades.

In the early 19th century, the site of the arcade was owned by the wealthy aristocratic Cavendish family. The family had inherited neighbouring Burlington House through marriage when Richard, 3rd Earl of Burlington’s (1694-1753) daughter Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle (1731-1754) wed William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire (1720-1764), who briefly served as Prime Minister. The couple’s son Lord George Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, (1754-1834) inherited Burlington House in 1815 and ended up using some of the side garden to erect the arcade. His apparent reasoning for building the mini mall was to prevent the passing public from lobbing oyster shells – a common and affordable food at the time – over the wall into his home. As well as give him more privacy, it would also be a tidy earner for the estate.

Lord George enlisted architect Samuel Ware (1781-1860) to design the arcade with building starting in February 1818. While it was being constructed, the world’s oldest existing shopping arcade, the Royal Opera Arcade opened on Pall Mall in 1818. While the Royal Opera only had shops on one side, the Burlington was a double-sided arcade. Opening on 20 March 1819, the Regency-style building featured a 196 yard long walkway lined by 72 two-storey shop units. The high ceiling covered the walkway featured windows letting in lots of light, with Palladian-style, Ionic columns bringing in some style from the classical world. The arcade cost £29,329, with all shops being occupied by the end of the year. Originally, there were 47 leaseholders, including some females, with tenants and their families residing in the cramped living quarters above their shops.

Wikimedia Commons

Burlington Arcade in 1828 by Thomas H Shepherd from ‘Metropolitan Improvements; or London in the Nineteenth Century’.
Image via Wikimedia Commons

By 1828, it appeared the arcade was certainly prospering, with milliners, hosiers, linen shops, shoemakers, hairdressers, jewellers, watchmakers, tobacconists, umbrella sellers and florists among the many businesses on site. In 1830, Burlington retailer James Drew was the first in the arcade to receive the Royal Warrant. He made the famous high collars for Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898) and invented the soft collar. Read the rest of this entry