Norwich the Old City The Royal Arcade Page 1

Gentlemans Walk, Norwich
Map Ref: City Centre C5

The forerunners of today's shopping malls were the Victorian arcades - covered avenues of shops in the centre of towns. Here in Norwich we have perhaps one of the finest, designed by local architect George Skipper in 1899.

The Royal Arcade runs from Gentlemans Walk to Back of the Inns. Today, 'Back of the Inns' is the lane from the back of the Royal Arcade to White Lion Street, but originally the section from London Street to the Royal Arcade, now called Castle Street, was Back of the Inns as well, getting it's name from the fact that there were several inns on Gentlemans Walk; the yards of which ran all the way through to that back lane.

The Royal Arcade was built on the site of one of these old inns - The Angel. Later it became The Royal Hotel, and in 1846 Joseph Stannard rebuilt the Gentlemans Walk entrance.

Photo-reconstruction by Ken Ward
Royal Hotel c1850 photo-reconstruction
Royal Arcade entrance
Royal Arcade today

When Skipper created the Royal Arcade 53 years later, he retained this frontage, only altering the ground floor entrance, which gives little indication of the Art Nouveau extravaganza that lies inside...

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Copyright © Ken Ward 2004
Photographs Copyright © Ken Ward 2004 (unless otherwise stated)
Last Updated: 08 November 2004

For books on the history of Norwich check out the Old City Bookshelf
Old City Bookshelf

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Photographs by Ken Ward
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