Wednesday 15 May 2013

Forgotten Underground Edwardian shopping arcade in West Yorkshire as traffic builder?

                                                                         pic:  Nick Catford, Subterranea Britannica
During renovation of the Royal Arcade in Keighley in 2003, a lower level of Edwardian shops was found underground during the clearance of the basement area.

The original Royal Arcade was built in 1901, the year Queen Victoria died and Edward VII came to the throne. Gott and Butterfield ironmongers moved in, and it was popularly known as Butterfield's arcade
The shop, once described as an Aladdin's cave selling household goods, bicycles and camping equipment, closed in 1983

Now Nick Holroyd, manager of the Royal Arcade, which is situated above the discovery, is investigating whether the street - once at ground level - can be restored. He has enlisted an architect and structural engineer - and plans are being made to develop the street, which has space for up to eight units.

Given that many high streets have long histories, perhaps there is scope for incorporating a high street’s origins into plans to revitalise town centre shopping areas, and possibly capitalise on the consumer’s current retro-appetite?

A pointer for major multiples seeking 'non-commercial' projects?

For full details including 27 pics and two 1890 site-plans, here 

Incidentally, if going underground seems like a perfect antidote to these unprecedented times, visit the home page of Subterranea  Britannica here

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