Tyne and Wear HER(6842): Newcastle, Pilgrim Street, Royal Arcade - Details
Title of image: Royal Arcade, Pilgrim Street
Artist: T. Allom
Description: A print of the Royal Arcade, Pilgrim Street in 1833. The print shows the interior of the arcade looking towards the grand entrance on Pilgrim Street. People are walking down the arcade and looking in shop windows. Seven of the glass ceiling domes can be seen. The Royal Arcade was designed by John Dobson for the developer Richard Grainger.
Additional info: Engraving handcoloured
Location/Collection: Newcastle Libraries/Newcastle Local Studies Pictures Collection
Accession number: NCL a101
Provider: Newcastle City Library
Copyright: All rights reserved, if you would like a printed copy of this image please contact Newcastle Libraries.
Newcastle, Pilgrim Street, Royal Arcade
Royal Arcade, 1841 Collard after John Dobson. Fine Greek building - the arcade a copy of Lowther Arcade in London. Black and white chequered floor, eight large shops on each side with giant Corinthian pilaster between. Continuous cornice. Roof supported by arches speinging from pilasters, decorated with tracery. Glazed vaults in domes and Royal Arms by Dunbar. Built as two office blocks one facing Pilgrim Street and the other Manor Chare. Connecting the two was a narrow block forming the arcade itself. The inside was planned in the style of a modern shoopping centre where pedestrians could walk past a number of different establishments and "window shop". Whilst the Pilgrim Street frontage and entrance with its prestigious banking premises met these ambitions, the long flight of stairs, plainer elevations and less salubrious environs of Manor Chare undermined its popularity with the well-to-do clientele. John Dobson's design for the Royal Arcade, as portrayed by J.W. Carmichael in 1831 portrays it grandeur but also its overbearing size and peripheral location away from the town centre and shops. This was Grainger's least successful commercial venture. It was in decline by 1860 when the Post Office moved out. The Savings Bank left in 1863. Bankruptcy Court left in 1872. It was considered for demolition in the 1880s. It was finally demolished in 1963 to make way for the Central Motorway and Swan House. A copy of the arcade was reconstructed in 1970 within the office complex on the same site using concrete and fibrous plaster. Grainger's stonework was numbered and dumped at the City Stadium in Wawick Street, but never re-used. Much of it is now located in Heaton Park (see HER 5736, 5741 and 5744). 2004 - reconstructed arcade now forms part of Bar 55 in the furbished Swan House (55 Degrees North) which is now residential.
<< HER 6842 >> I. Ayris, 1997, A City of Palaces, pp 38-39 and 81; M. MacKeith, 1985, Shopping Arcades 1817-1939, pp 104; N. Pevsner and I. Richmond, second edition revised by G. McCombie, P. Ryder and H. Welfare, 1992, The Buildings of England: Northumberland, p 485; L. Wilkes and G. Dodds, 1964, Tyneside Classical - the Newcastle of Grainger, Dobson and Clayton; T.Faulkner and A. Greg, 1987, John Dobson Newcastle Architect 1787-1865, pp 46-47 and 80-81; Thomas Oliver, 1844, Historical and Descriptive Reference to the Public Buildings on the Plan of the Borough of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead; Grace McCombie, 2009, Newcastle and Gateshead - Pevsner Architectural Guide, p. 17 and 146