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Thornton's Arcade

Leeds' Oldest Victorian Arcade


Thornton's Arcade

Thornton's Arcade is the oldest of eight retail arcades built in Leeds before 1900. Today it is lined with small, mostly independent shops and is noted for the Ivanhoe clock at one end.

© Ferne Arfin
Thornton's Arcade, completed between 1877 and 1878, was the first of Leeds' eight commercial arcades. Tall and narrow, it has Gothic arches and church-like lancet windows on upper stories. Look up to see dragons at the base of the blue and red iron trusses that support the glass roof like a row of ornate horseshoes.

The arcade was restored and refurbished in 1993. In keeping with its tight, narrow spaces, shops in Thornton's arcade tend to be small speciality shops, sometimes arranged over several floors. Among the highlights are:

  • Indigo - Handbags and accessories at No. 22
  • The Pen Shop Writing accessories at No. 20
  • OK Comics Well known to collectors, this comic book store at No. 19 is more like a comfortable reading room than a typical comics shop.
  • Yum Yum Beads Ltd As the name suggests, a really delicious selection of beads, chains, clasps and jewelry-making findings at No. 3.
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