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The elegant world of
Europe's Shopping Arcades 

Opulence and elegance characterizes most shopping arcades in Victorian England. The most dazzling example is not in London but in Leeds in Yorkshire- built between 1898 and 1904, the county arcade was created by theatre architect Frank Matcham between 1898 and 1904. 

Photo: Patent Glazing CCM


Europe redefined in the early 19th century the way to buy. It started in the 16th century when shops were established under arcades, protecting passers-by from bad weather conditions or from unexpected waste falling from the upper floors.

At the end of the 18th Century and along the 19th century, an emerging middle-class had the desire to shop in protected, quiet and clean areas. The idea of covered passages was born. Europe thousands of glass covered arcades spread across Europe, they became grander and more ornately decorated. By the midDLE of the 19th century, they had become prominent centres of fashion and social life. hundred of galleries were built across Europe from 1860 to 1930.

IN the last 40 years, shopping arcades are back in favour with former bhuildings converted into consumption temples. Old galleries have been restored and turned into attractive destinations for both locals and tourists. A time for a new discovery. 

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