Decoration in metal and faience adds glamor to a shop at the intersection of County Arcade and Cross Arcade in the Victoria Quarter.
Elaborate decoration in metal and faience adds glamor to a British high street retailer's shop at the intersection of County Arcade and Cross Arcade in the Victoria Quarter.
In 1900, when the last vestiges of the old Victorian meat markets were swept away, the Leeds developers of the County and Cross Arcades sought to reflect the city's wealth and industry in the decoration of the shopping precinct. Shopping was just beginning to come into its own as a leisure activity and the arcades were meant to attract middle class shoppers from the suburbs for a fine day out in a luxurious environment.
Pink Siena marble, gilded mosaics, mahogany shopfronts with curved glass facades, sky lights, cast iron and Leeds own Burmantofts faience were all used to great effect.
Today, the elaborate decoration, which even includes topiary trees and gushing fountains, is often in marked contrast to the minimalist window decoration of the fashionable stores it frames.