Opened in 1899, the 247 foot long covered avenue was designed and built by Dereham-born architect George Skipper and today it houses a wonderful mixture of shops and restaurants – plus the famous Colman’s Mustard Shop!
Art Nouveau was so-called from Samuel Bing’s art shop “Maison l’art Nouveau” an international movement to bring together the finest designers and craftsmen to unify the designs of buildings, furnishings and decorative arts within.
Influenced by Japanese art and the Arts and Crafts Movement, the English Art Nouveau used flowing lines and symbols from nature.
The peacock used in the Arcade frieze was a common feature. And stained glass was widely used.
The original design of the arcade and its decorative features show that George Skipper was experimenting with Art Nouveau influences. He was aware of the work of the leading architects of the day; Victor Horta in Belgium and Hector Gimard in Paris. According to Sir John Betjamin “he was to Norwich what Gaudi was to Barcelona”.
The beautiful stylised patterned floor, the curved wooden-framed shop windows, the use of colourful tiles and the wonderful luxurious lighting make this shopping mall so much more than a sum of its parts. It took me back to the arcades of Paris and in particular the very elegant Galerie Vivienne
The entrance from Castle Meadow opposite the castle is hidden behind an ugly facade so easy to miss, or you can approach it from Castle Street.
At the far end of the arcade the opening is through a pair of tiled archways which lead on to Gentleman’s Walk and the Market Place.
Source: Information plaques in the arcade and Royal Arcade of Norwich website.
40 thoughts on “Norwich Part II: The Royal Arcade”
really enjoyed the mosaics 🙂 cheers PedroL
I have walked through this arcade, and admired it at the time, but it is wonderful to now see all the particular details so well captured here. The tiles are fabulous. Am wondering if they’re Minton or Maws/Jackfield. It’s also sad to think how many of these lovely arcades were flattened across the country.
I don’t think I have seen one quite like this. There is the Victorian Quarter in Leeds which is very ornate, but I haven’t been there for years and have no photos of it. Cardiff too has Victorian arcades and I always meant to take a train down there to have a look. I imagine Liverpool and Manchester should have some too, but not necessarily in the Art Nouveau style.
Very interesting. I was just thinking that some of the pictures remind me of Brussels, when I saw that he was inspired by Victor Horta.
So does Brussels have a lot of Art Nouveau architecture then Denzil?
Absolutely Jude, it’s full of it. You can do Art Nouveau tours, visit Art Nouveau museums and exhibitions … I think I’ll just post a link: http://www.visitbelgium.com/?page=art-nouveau-brussels
Ooh, now I want to visit Brussels. Thanks for the link.
So many pleasing aspects in this Art Noveau work – from beautiful stained glass designs to the details in the tiles. Well captured, Jude.
I love the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts architecture, lovely details and colours.
I love that tiled heart design. The colours are wonderful.
Pretty isn’t it?
It would make a nice quilt design.
It would. Are you in to quilting?
I am. I’ve been making quilts and hand quilting them since 1984. https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-the-hue-of-you/
I had a niggle that you were a quilter.
So many fabulous details in the Royal Arcade, Jude. I would love this place. 🙂
A fitting tribute to one of the well preserved gems of Norwich, Jude.
Best wishes, Pete. x
It is a beauty. I am very fond of the old arcades, but never seen one quite like this. I wonder how many more there are in the country?
I used to always enjoy wandering through Burlington Arcade and Piccadilly Arcade too, when I lived and worked in Central London. They are opposite each other, divided by Piccadilly.
There is Westminster Arcade in Harrogate too. I’m sure there must be many more remaining.
I shall have to look out for those if I ever get to London again. I am beginning to feel an “arcade tour” of the country could be a good excuse for another trip…
One in Birmingham, called Piccadilly Arcade too.
Leeds Grand Arcade. (Not as stylish, but a good roof)
Great Western Arcade, Birmingham.
Get the car filled up, Jude. Looks like you are off on a trip! x
I agree with Tish!
Many people do Pit 😀
I’m not much of a shopper but I would l.o.v.e. to spend the day drooling over the spaces and architecture here. Most attractive. 🙂
The only shop we went in to was the mustard museum. I will do a post about that too 🙂
Sounds interesting. I look forward to reading about it. 🙂
There are quite a lot round and about, Jude, but it’s always a joy to come upon one. This is a beauty and you have some lovely shots. I hadn’t thought particularly of Galerie Vivienne but it’s a nice comparison. Brussels- now there’s a thought 🙂 🙂
Have you been to Brussels? I have always fancied Bruges actually – lots of canals I believe.
Nope! Never thought much about it other than as a political hubbub (ugh!) but I have seen a few articles with a beautiful old quarter. We did Bruges one November when we were young and daft, in freezing fog 🙂 Ghent looks lovely too.
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