Commercial arcades | State Library of New South Wales

Commercial arcades

Following the sustained economic growth of the 1860s and 1870s came prosperity, culminating in the building boom of the 1880s. Commercial buildings designed during this decade included retail arcades, which were designed to maximise street frontage in cities where business space was reaching a premium. Between 1881 and 1892 six large retail arcades were developed in Sydney alone.

Illustrated Sydney News

Accomplished architect Thomas Rowe designed three arcades during this period - the Royal Arcade in 1881, the Sydney Arcade in 1882, and the Imperial Arcade in 1891. He brought a European influence to his designs creating elegant, spacious arcades with optimal retail frontage and cafes.

Royal Arcade Sydney Arcade

Above left: Royal Arcade interior, ca. 1892, Dry plate, Government Printing Office 1 - 08148
Above right: Interior view of the Sydney Arcade, 1890, Watercolour, V/34

Sydney Arcade

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