Restoration breathes new life intocity's historic shopping arcade

Joanne Ginley

IT FIRST opened in 1877 and is still a popular destination with shoppers today.

Thornton’s Arcade, off Briggate, Leeds, has recently undergone a facelift, breathing new life into the shopping destination.

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The improvements include the restoration of facades and stonework and new signs and lighting in a bid to make the arcade a more attractive environment in which to shop.

The arcade’s famous Ivanhoe clock has been maintained to preserve the figures made by Leeds artist John Wormald Appleyard and the mechanism by Leeds clock manufacturer William Potts & Son.

James Millson, property manager at the Leeds office of Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), managing agent for the arcade, said last night: “Improving the look and feel of the external decoration has made a dramatic difference to the arcade, making it a much more pleasant environment for shoppers.”

In the 1870s Charles Thornton saw an opportunity to sell luxury goods to the West Riding’s middle classes. At the junction of the Headrow and Briggate he introduced the idea of an arcade where shoppers could promenade, purchase and go to the theatre as well.

Several other arcades quickly followed, all flamboyant embellishments to the growing city scene.