Burlington Arcade celebrates its 200th

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This is the one with the Beadles! The Burlington Arcade has reached two centuries and its one of perhaps a couple of places in London that has continuously employed Beadles on its watch. The arcade is found on Piccadilly right next to the Royal Academy, just round the corner from Bond Street and The Ritz, and it is biggest of the five or so remaining arcades in the Piccadilly area.. It also provides an important south to north connection giving a more sedate walking route from Piccadilly to the Oxford Street area.

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Piccadilly looking east with the Burlington Arcade at left.

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The statuettes on the newer (post war) entrance in Piccadilly.

The arcade was opened in 1819 and was immediately popular, with artists such as Thomas Shepherd immortalising it in their work.

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The one about the Beadles!

The overall style of the arcade has remained more or less as it was when it first opened although its not the original we see. Most of it was destroyed by extensive wartime bombing in 1940. The northern art deco entrance that fronts onto on Burlington Gardens was cut off from the rest however it luckily escaped undamaged.

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The art deco northern entrance which fortunately escaped destruction in WWII.

The arcade currently has a substantial publicity campaign and hashtags to raise awareness of its 200th anniversary.

Although I have missed the beginning of the anniversary for the purposes of this post, its not terribly important as there’s another anniversary too – this being May 1969 and thus assume the celebrations continue until that time. This is when Princess Alexandra commemorated the then 150th anniversary of the arcade.

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#200BurlingtonMoments for its anniversary.

Some of the shop fronts have been used to feature photographs and information on the anniversary.

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The Burlington Arcade looking towards Piccadilly with one of the shop fronts on the left used for the 200th anniversary celebrations.

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Another shop front used for the celebrations.

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The 200th is not the first important anniversary as this plaque shows. As it tells us, Princess Alexandra unveiled this this plaque in 1969 to commemorate the sesquicentennial occasion.

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Looking north along the arcade. The 1969 plaque is seen on the left and can be found near the Piccadilly end.

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Lord’s at number 68 must be the oldest shop in the arcade! The next picture shows an old engraving of the arcade with Lord’s.

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Lord’s in Burlington Arcade – depicted at the time Queen Victoria had just ascended the throne.

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There are a couple of photomontages showing the original Burlington Arcade. This one shows the Piccadilly entrance in the 1890s.

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The other photomontage is shown here, along with one of the arcade’s Beadles, whom I kindly asked if he could pose along with the historic picture.

The arcade’s Beadles have different uniforms, clearly denoting their seniority, as has been the traditional way of doing this. Most people’s concept of a Beadle is one who wears one of those exquisite Captain’s hats known as Bicornes, however contemporary drawings from the early days of the arcade show its Beadles have always worn top hats.

The Beadles’ uniforms are made by Henry Poole’s which is nearby in Savile Row. The most recent work Poole’s did for the Burlington was to make new capes and collars, one of which our guy in the picture is wearing.

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