When was Burlington Arcade first built?
It was was opened to the public on 20 March 1819 and remains the UK’s oldest and longest shopping arcade. The covered shopping promenade measures 179 metres long and was commissioned by Lord George Cavendish, who owned the nearby Burlington House (now the Royal Academy). Urban legend has it that he wanted to build it to stop people throwing rubbish and oyster shells over the walls of his garden, but it also provided a pleasant place to shop for the local neighbourhood. The completed arcade housed 51 shops and cost a total of almost £32,000 to build, around £2.36m in today’s money. It also had Britain’s first public electric lamps.
Which is the oldest shop in Burlington Arcade?
It’s not just the arcade itself that has a rich history, many of the shops inside it do too. Jewellers Richard Ogden is one of the longest standing tenants in Burlington Arcade, having opened up shop there in 1951. However, jewellery has been the Ogden family business since 1893, now run by Richard’s son Robert, dating it back even further than its time in the arcade.
Another jewellery store in the Arcade has an even longer history. Though Hancocks has only occupied a shop in the arcade since 1992, the business itself dates back to 1849. In 1856, Hancocks was entrusted with creating the medal for the highest military award, the Victoria Cross, an honour which the family-run business still holds today.
Who are the “Burlington Arcade Beadles”?
The Beadles are the oldest and smallest police force in the world. They have been guarding the arcade since it opened in 1819 and were originally members of the family regiment of Lord Cavendish, who commissioned the arcade, known as the 10th Hussars.
The Beadles’ role today is not just security but also upholding a level of decorum with activities such as singing and running banned. Whistling is also famously banned from the arcade as it was used as a signal between pick-pockets to warn them of approaching Beadles in the early years of the arcade’s existence. Today, it wouldn’t be so hard to spot a Beadle as they still wear Victorian-inspired uniforms created by Savile Row tailor Henry Poole.
Who owns Burlington Arcade?
It was sold to David and Simon Reuben in May 2018 for £300 million. The billionaire brothers have built their fortune through property investment and are the second richest family in the UK with a combined fortune of £18.6 billion. They own several premium spots around London including the building occupied by the Ferrari showroom in Knightsbridge and the Curtain Hotel in Shoreditch.
Prior to this, Burlington Arcade had been owned by Meyer Bergman and Thor Equities who purchased it in 2010. During this time they invested heavily in refurbishing the arcade including replacing the floor and introducing a new lighting scheme.
What are the opening hours?
Burlington Arcade is open from 9am until 7:30pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday the arcade is open from 11am until 6pm. Please check notices for opening times during public holidays. The opening times of individual stores situated within the arcade may vary. The arcade is gated at both ends during closing hours.