Friday, December 19, 2008

Burlington Arcade - grand dame of shopping malls

Burlington-Arcade-LondonThe giant shopping mall, Westfield (an Australian shopping chain) opened up in right next to Shepherd Bush Tube station a couple of months ago. Thousands of shoppers braved the congested Tube and flocked to its weekend opening to marvel at the convenience of having familiar brand names under one roof.

Less attention was showered upon the place, which sits at the centre of London's West End and is often hailed as the precursor to all shopping galleries and malls that seem to be a permanent fixture in cities round the world.

Opened in 1819 along Piccadilly, Burlington Arcade was the place to be seen for those of means. From the latest fashion to luxury items and jewellery, the Arcade was the present day Harrods, only more dignified and certainly more exclusive.
Marmite toast anyone?

Burlington-Arcade-LondonWith its over 70 shop two-storey shop units (which has since merged and reduced to around 40), the popularity of the Arcade in its heyday signalled the demise of the many individual shops that lined the high street. In order to keep up with its upmarket appearance, uniformed minders patrolled the Arcade looking out for antisocial behaviour. In fact, they are still around to stop people from running through the Arcade till this day.

Compared to Selfridges, John Lewis, Fraser House, Liberty, Primark and other larger shopping malls along Oxford Street, Burlington Arcade seems rather insignificant. However, it does have a certain charm of its own. Besides, Laduree opened up an outlet over there as well.

The next time you step into a shopping mall, take a while to appreciate that it all started with this grand old dame.

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Dutchie said...

My niece was ecstatic last week when Jurong Point finally had a facelift n an expansion. From now on she wouldnt hv to go all the way to town to shop. The new arcade looks pretty much like ur Burlington ..

Our town here has many individual shops where prices r higher. Clothes n shoes r the most exorbitant (hv to buy them in Sg). I usually shop at the chain-stores where bargains r offered on a weekly basis.

So, is Woolworth still standing ?

lina said...

OK, I'll appreciate the grand old dame from now on. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a charming place ;) will try and remember to stop there if i'm next in London.

Amy Lilley Designs said... looks simply beautiful...enjoy!!

your "Health Assistant" said...

I love the view from this picture nice shot!!!