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Adelaide Arcade
Title : Adelaide Arcade Adelaide Arcade
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Creator : Sweet, Samuel White, photographer
Date of creation : 1886
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 154 x 208 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Adelaide Arcade, east frontage of Arcade is 55 yards west of Twin Street

It took five months and 200 workmen to build the Adelaide Arcade in 1885, and a further two months to fit out and let the 50 shops. Builders W Pett & Sons contracted the project. In the 1880s, Adelaide Arcade was considered to be a very 'modern': it was one of the first buildings in the city to have electric lights, and featured extensive use of plate glass and ornamental cast iron. Marble from the Kapunda Quarries was used at the Arcade's entrances.

Adelaide Arcade was officially opened on 12 December 1885 to the strains of the Adelaide Arcade Polka, composed especially for the event. The two storey arcade enabled placement of shops at ground level, with accompanying warehouses and/or manufacturing facilities above; inner staircases connected the two. Tea rooms were positioned in the cooler basement, and Turkish Baths were located at the Grenfell Street end of the Arcade.

The Rundle Mall entrance displays a coat of arms including an emu and kangaroo, created over two decades before the official Commonwealth coat of arms with similar symbols of Australiana.

Adelaide Arcade's coat of arms also features a ship and anchor, wheat, sheep, and pick and shovel, references to the industries which contributed to the development of the colony and the 1880s 'boom' period in which the arcade was built. 'Advance Australia' proclaims the optimism of the era.

In the 1960s, a balcony was built enabling a second level of shops, thus doubling the retail area. A fire in 1980 gutted Gay's Arcade (which adjoins Adelaide Arcade) and extensively damaged Adelaide Arcade, but reconstruction restored the building to its high standard as a showpiece of Victorian architecture.

Coverage year : 1886
Period : 1884-1913
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Adelaide arcade , Adelaide: SAIT School of Architecture and Building, 1971

Adelaide arcade Adelaide's oldest and most beautiful shopping arcade , Adelaide: Adelaide Arcade, [2005]

'Opening of the Adelaide Arcade', Adelaide Observer, 19 December 1885, p. 33

Internet links :

Adelaide Arcade website : includes the history of the Arcade



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