Monday 10 June 2013

Opening of the Victoria Arcade

As mentioned in the first item on this page, we now have the opening date for Corbin & Nicolle's Victoria Arcade, after finding newspaper reports of the time. These finds are thanks to the wonderful National Library online resource Trove. The arcade was opened on 28 November 1887.

Earlier that year (23 March), under the heading PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS, the Sydney Morning Herald published a lengthy article describing the project, beginning with...
VICTORIA ARCADE. Nearly opposite Wentworth Court in Elizabeth St, and extending through to Castlereagh St, a large block of land has been cleared of the tumble-down offices and rickety workshops, etc, which used to disfigure it. ... On this fine site a grand arcade, to be called the 'Victoria Arcade', is being erected.
The day after the opening (29 November) the Herald reported glowingly...

Extract from
the Sydney Morning Herald,
29 Nov 1887, p4
The Victoria Arcade, a structure which displays much architectural skill and should prove very popular, was inaugurated last evening. The arcade... contributes to the establishment of an almost direct thoroughfare, running from George St via the northern front of the General Post Office into Elizabeth St. 
One of the main features of the arcade is the fine internal oval, which is reached from each street by a lofty entrance [and] is surrounded by 15 shops. ... Richly foliated imposts and panels help to give a very imposing appearance. The most attractive feature of the oval is the glass dome. ... The upper floors contain 80 large airy rooms, well adapted for offices. 
The arcade is the property of Messrs J.B.Corbin, P.W.Nicolle and J.H.Goodlet. Messrs Corbin and Nicolle were the contractors. ... The arcade was opened to the public last evening, and many hundreds of people were attracted by an excellent promenade concert given by the Centennial Band.

Click on the press clipping to read the full article.