History and conservation of shopping arcades
Shopping arcades, corridors lined on one or both sides by shops and covered by a glass roof have been neglected as a subject for research. There is little information and no catalogue of British arcades. Their importance as covered thoroughfares, housing small units for specialist traders, has been under estimated, and their contribution to the architecture and townscape of cities requires recognition. The thesis records all extant examples in Britain with an architectural description, history, use, plan, section and photographic account of each. Their evolution is established, showing the influence of arcaded streets and exchanges, and of social and economic forces. The first two arcades were built in Paris and those, together with other major foreign examples are assessed, revealing the inter -relationship of development and architectural style between nations. The British arcades are analysed with regard to plan, location and architectural style. The financial position, management and role in the modern retail centre is assessed. Current trends in retailing are interpreted, from the shopping centre derived from the arcades, to the Speciality Centre. Arcades, like many older buildings have been demolished or 'neglected, having outlived their usefulness, but during the past decade an appreciation of the architectural heritage has grown. As the research has progressed, it has become evident that the requirements for shopping have almost come full circle from the date of the first arcade in 1800. And the shopping arcade is not only worthy of serious consideration architecturally, hut it could re- emerge as an important form of modern retailing. Recommendations are made for the practical conservation and re -use of arcades, particularly emphasising their architectural qualities, utilizing the favourable attitudes towards conservation and 'raking advantage of the desire to return to small specialist shops along a pedestrian route, preferably undercover.