Arcade2Join Martin Willis, Ruth McElroy, and Caroline Langley for a series of Cardiff Arcades tours. The tours will take place on September 1st (day two of BAVS 2016) at 1.45pm and 2.30pm, starting at Castle Arcade. They take around 40 minutes.

Book your place here (limited availability):


Cardiff’s Victorian Edwardian Arcades

Cardiff’s Arcades embody the emergence of a truly Victorian city: built on industry and entrepreneurship, by workers and owners alike. The Arcades were a symbol of Cardiff’s status as a city born of and in nineteenth-century capitalism. They were the naves of those new cathedrals of consumption, department stores, and also the city’s arteries carrying people, produce and culture back and forth across the urban landscape. They remain, in the twenty-first century, at the very heart of Cardiff society and culture as well as inspiring its urban regeneration.

Blue = Castle (1887)              Purple = Duke Street (1902)   Red = High Street (1886) Yellow = Morgan (1899)     Orange = Royal (1870)      Green = Wyndham (1887)

Blue = Castle (1887)              Purple = Duke Street (1902)   Red = High Street (1886)
Yellow = Morgan (1899)     Orange = Royal (1870)      Green = Wyndham (1887)


These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which customers will find everything they need. [Benjamin, arcades project]

SIR,- I have not been in the Royal Arcade since till opening day until this evening, and I can assure you I was quite surprised and disappointed to see the class of persons who frequent it. I really consider it a pity that such an improvement to our town should be spoilt and disgraced at the very outset by a rabble such as I saw tonight. There seems to be no order whatever. Children and roughs are allowed to perambulate at will. I was stopped for several minutes by a crowd collected to witness a fight (or, what I think more likely, a sham fight got up for the purpose of robbery)!! [South wales echo, 1870]

You can download the tour leaflet here. Please e-mail for more information.