Sunday, 27 May 2012
Barton Arcade, a Victorian shopping experience
Even today it is easy to miss the place. If you walk along Deansgate the two entrances are set into the Barton Building, and even from the other side it is possible to fail to glance down the narrow alley between Exchange Street and St Ann’s Square. But if you do there it is in all its Victorian glory, wall of glass and iron four storeys high.
It was built in 1871, listed as a Grade 11 building in 1972 and restored in 1980 and given our record in the late 60s and early 70s it is almost a miracle that it wasn’t demolished.
Upstairs there are offices but I must confess I have only been up there once, looking for help for a broken camera, but sure enough there was some who could help. Of course once we had more arcades but they have all gone which is sad really because I can remember the rather rundown one in the old Corn Exchange which offered stuff that seemed unavailable elsewhere.
There are equally impressive ones. I always like going to the one in Leeds and was recently in The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan but the Barton Arcade is special, perhaps because I always associate it with a very happy time in Manchester, or just because it is a nice place.
Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson