Burlington Arcade - Piccadilly, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.498 W 000° 08.375
30U E 698495 N 5710231
Quick Description: Burlington Arcade runs from Piccadilly in the south to Burlington Gardens in the north. Each side of the arcade is lines with shops that tend, in general, to offer higher quality goods such as jewellery, watches, pens, luggage, etc.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/26/2014 11:43:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMK84N
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Tharandter
Views: 5

Long Description:

The London Attractions website tells us:

Burlington Arcade is an historic shopping centre in central London that opened back in 1819. Burlington Arcade is one of the most popular London attractions with those tourists that have expensive shopping tastes. The arcade is also popular with London tourists with an interest in 19th Century history, as it maintains much of its historical flavor; indeed it has the proud title of the United Kingdom’s first shopping arcade. The arcade is still protected by The Beadles, just as it has been since it opened in 1819. The Beadles still dress in Edwardian attire and provide a great opportunity with sightseeing tourists for a photo opportunity of traditional London.

Burlington Arcade runs from behind Bond Street to Piccadilly. The arcade is a traditionally upmarket shopping venue, known for its jewelry, expensive fashions, antiques and other luxury goods. The centre’s most notable stores include Hancocks, Royal Selangor, House of Cashmere, Polistas, Ana Kondar, Pickett, Vilebrequin, Milleperle, Armour Winston, Starr Jewelry, Christian Bonja, Abrahams, Penfriend, Luponde Tea, Church’s Shoes and Crockett & Jones.      

Burlington Arcade is located in the heart of London and is walking distance from many other famous shopping areas (such as Oxford Street and Regent Street) ensuring that those London tourists who have arrived on a shopping expedition will be in heaven!

The Burlington Arcade's website tells us:

Lord George Cavendish, who lived in Burlington House (now the Royal Academy) commissioned his architect, Samuel Ware, to design a covered promenade of shops - unofficially to stop ruffians from throwing quantities of rubbish, in particular oyster shells, onto his property and officially "for the gratification of the public and to give employment to industrious females".The Burlington Arcade consisted of a single straight top-lit walkway lined with seventy-two small two storey units.

Originally, there were 47 leaseholders, six of whom were 'industrious females' but, in accordance with the rules of the day, even the male milliners and corsetieres were addressed as 'Madame'. Many of the tenants and their families lived under very cramped conditions above and below their shops, sharing the space with their stock.

James Drew at No. 3 was the first retailer to receive the Royal Warrant in the Arcade. He was responsible for Gladstone's celebrated high collars specially made to the latter's designs. Until the late 60s, he offered a stiff collar that was named specifically after Gladstone. Drew was also the instigator of the Piccadilly collar and the Horse Shoe knot-tie. His final claim to sartorial fame was to invent the soft collar.

During the Crimean war. Lord Panmure, Minister for War, requested designs from Hancocks - the highly respected jeweller - for a new award. Prototypes were submitted to Queen Victoria and in March 1856, Her Majesty finally approved on design: the Victoria Cross. The first presentation took place on 26th June 1857 when Queen Victoria decorated 62 soldiers and sailors. Since the inception of the unique awards, Hancocks have produced every one of the 1,350 VCs that have been issued.

Fred Astaire was the recipient of nine pairs of unique gold and striped slippers purchased in the Arcade by an admirer. Some time later the designer spotted Astaire checking the window displays in the Arcade and guessed what he was looking for. "I stood in the doorway and as he approached, I cast my eyes down to where the slippers were displayed." Astaire roared with laughter and bought several more pairs.

March 1936 saw chaos in the Arcade when a fire broke out and both tenants and visitors caused havoc by panicking and looting occurred. More seriously, there was considerable architectural damage to the Piccadilly end during the war when the Arcade was struck by bombs: restoration work was required and completed in the 1950s.

Drama erupted in the Arcade in June 1964 when a spectacular robbery took place. A Jaguar Mark 10 charged down the Arcade at high speed - (the first and only four wheels ever to enter the Arcade) and six masked men, armed with axe handles and iron bars smashed the windows of the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Association shop and stole jewellery valued at £35,000. They made their escape by reversing back up the Arcade and were never caught! The bollards at the Burlington Gardens entrance were subsequently introduced.

The film star, Ann Todd, telephoned Richard Ogden - old established jeweller in the Arcade - to ask if he would consider closing his shop for a brief visit by Ingrid Bergman who did not wish to attract any publicity. He immediately agreed and positioned one of his staff outside the door to deter any would-be customers. When an elderly lady approached he explained, as instructed, that the shop was temporarily closed but could not restrain himself from adding, "Have a look, can you see who is in there?" Peering through her pince-nez she said delightedly, "of course I can see, it is dear Mr. Ogden."

During the last decade, the Arcade has provided the location for major films such as "Patriot Games" (with Harrison Ford), "101 Dalmatians", and "Scandal" (the Profumo affair).

Sadly, today's Beadles can no longer enjoy the luxury of resting in the armchairs originally positioned at either end of the Arcade and designated for their use.

The "Official Tourism" URL link to the attraction: [Web Link]

The attraction’s own URL: [Web Link]

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday from 10:00am to 7:00pm Saturday from 9:00am to 6:30pm Sunday from 11:00am to 5:00pm


Admission Prices:
Free


Approximate amount of time needed to fully experience the attraction: Up to 1 hour

Transportation options to the attraction: Personal Vehicle or Public Transportation

Visit Instructions:

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