Arcades or Passages Couverts or Galleria in London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield, Ilkley, Otley, Harrogate, Hull, Ryde, Hastings, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newport, Paris, Brussels, Turin and Milan.

The shopping arcade is an architectural curiosity, lacking any external facade (other than an entrance portico) and thereby defying some of the basic conventions of architecture. They were conceived in an age of small, specialist retailers to provide an intimate and decorative environment in which to shop, protected from the weather. The Nineteenth Century passion for engineering excellence and exuberant ornamentation is often to be seen and they typically possess cast iron ribbed, glazed roofs that even on a dull day can be depended on to admit a generous amount of daylight. None is grander than the monumental Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan with its triumphal arched entrance and its cathedral-like dimensions. It was designed as a symbol of the need for the newly united Italian nation state to see its sense of self-importance immortalised in architectural form.

In Paris there are 17 surviving passages couverts and they continue to be a great source of fascination to Parisian intellectuals and flâneurs, valued for the strange and esoteric selection of goods on display as well as for the alternative routes that they offer through the city. Some have been carefully maintained to retain their glamour and exclusivity while others located in less favoured faubourgs continue to function as centres of economic activity of a lower status. Most have been visited and photographed for this project.

It can be argued that the shopping arcade was a British invention and some notable examples remain in excellent condition in Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester and Huddersfield. Some struggle to survive in a harsh retail environment but others have successfully cultivated an air of exclusivity and continue to do good business.
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