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©  Lorna Freeman

IoE Number: 416850
Photographer: Lorna Freeman
Date Photographed: 20 June 2005
Date listed: 24 October 1950
Date of last amendment: 24 October 1950
Grade II*

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UNION STREET1577(West Side)The Royal Victoria ArcadeSZ 5992 2/1524.10.50.

UNION STREET 1. 1577 (West Side) The Royal Victoria Arcade SZ 5992 2/15 24.10.50. II* GV 2. Italianate front to building of some distinction, interesting as a period piece which is virtually intact. It was built by William Westmacott 1835-36 at the cost of £10,000. The front facing Union Street presents a wide central entrance, stucco faced, with a dentil cornice and parapet, surmounted by the Royal Arms which are supported by a rather Baroque Lion and Unicorn, and capped by a flagstaff. The shaped architrave with keystone over the entrance, filled in with a facial panel may be a late addition. Flanking the entrance is a slightly projecting pair of two storeyed stucco pavilions with low pitch pyramidical slate roofs with bracketed eaves, rising to a finial. Frieze with moulded string below. On their first floors they each have a recessed sash window, glazing bars intact, in a surround with raised edge, a pediment over on consoles and a small stuccoed balcony with diamond pattern balustrade, supported by shaped brackets below string. Below is a wide shop window between pilasters. Low screen walls, pierced by doors, connect the Arcade with the adjoining buildings. The Arcade was designed to contain fourteen shops and a large room for the exhibition of works of art and this arrangement survives, though the premises are vacant and in need of attention. Three steps lead up to the beginning of the concourse which is set back from the front and linked to it either side by concave bays. Ground floor of each double glazed doors, two felded panels bay has at bottom, flanked by quarter Doric pilasters. First floor has tripartite sash window, glazing bars intact, Doric pilasters dividing with moulded string, across bay, linking capitals. The frieze and cornice above, break forward slightly over window as entablature. Balcony on capped consoles with flanking stucco piers and coping, balustrade of crossed iron bars with lead rosettes. The arcade leads to a rotunda with main axis continued for one bay to the West, with an entrance at the end, and similar extensions North and South, the latter with a window instead of a door, at the end. The whole is articulated by giant Doric pilasters on pedestals, the frieze and cornice breaking forward over them and their line is continued by squat pilasters, dividing the clerestory, and supporting the cross beams of the ceiling with pattern and rosette to the centre of the recessed panel in each compartment. The rotunda has a radially compartmented saucer dome with oculus containing leaded painted glass, depicting the Royal Coat of Arms in the centre. The clerestory of the arcade has four lights with marginal glazing to each bay. The bays are treated in a similar manner to the concave ones at the entrance, with balconied tripartite first floor window, but they are broader and on the ground floor, the two middle shops on the concourse have a tripartite front, with their Doric pilasters, panelled risers, small canted bay in centre (no glazing bars) door to right with marginal glazing and bottom panels. Similar glazing to square fanlight and to upper light of side window. The outer shops also have a tripartite front but without bay window, The narrower terminal bays either end of concourse, have a window treated as a door belonging respectively to the shops giving onto Union Street and to the larger ones on the East side of the rotunda. The ground floor of the segments of the rotunda have large four pane windows flanked by quarter pilasters (one altered) and on the first floo the balconies are recessed between the pilasters of the tripartite windows. The North and South arms have similar tripartite shop fronts to the outer ones on the concourse, whilst the West arm has a tripartite window each side on the ground floor with panelled risers to the side lights. The West door is double with two moulded panels at base and tall lights, the side lights are identical. Above is a large semi-circular fanlight with marginal leading, painted glass. Architrave over, with large keystone, springing from moulded string. The door in the end wall of the North arm is similar but narrower without side lights and with a blind fanlight. The South arm has a tripartite window with glazing bars, Doric pilasters, semi-circular leaded fanlight over, in similar surround to doors. Rarity value. The Royal Victoria Arcade and Nos 58 to 62 (consec) form a group.

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