Central Arcade Wrexham 1890 – 1900

by Annette Edwards.

The idea of an arcade from Hope Street to the Butchers Market was first planned about 1890, and to enable this to be carried out one existing shop had to be demolished, it was 58 Hope Street  and  was that of Charles Davies, a draper.  Charles was very much involved with the Arcade from the beginning.

Eventually a Wrexham Arcade Company was formed and shares were to be sold to fund the plans and as a good investment for the future. At first it was known as the Hope Street Arcade,

Architect Drawing. Supplied by Peter Eames.

March 1890 Wrexham Advertiser.

HOPE STREET ARCADE.

We are much pleased to learn that the arrangements for proceeding with the construction of the projected arcade from Hope-street with an entrance into the Butchers’ Market are making favourable progress. On Tuesday the agreement between Mr Charles Davies, the proprietor of the premises forming the site of the arcade, and the Wrexham Market Hall Company, respecting the necessary permission to construct the entrance into the market, was duly sealed and completed at a meeting of the Directors. When we consider the existing great demand for business premises in the centre of the town, and having regard to the; exceedingly central situation of the arcade, and the accommodation to be afforded by the new shops, we have every confidence in the success of the new enterprise, and must congratulate Mr Davies upon the energy displayed in pushing forward the preliminary arrangements.

August 1890

THE WREXHAM ARCADE

In late years there has been an increasing demand for business premises in the centre of the town, tradesmen evincing a keen anxiety to establish themselves in one or two of the principal streets. This, of course, is not feasible, and the competition for a favourable position will be made keener by the early commencement of the Wrexham and Ellesmere Railway, which will of necessity disturb several tradespeople in Town Hill and elsewhere. In view of all this, the projected arcade is a happy conception. As our readers are aware, the Wrexham Arcade will lead from Hope street into the Market Hall, practically creating a new business street. The scheme is a most important one, as it promises to be a public improvement of a very valuable nature. While being so desirable from this point of view, it has substantial recommendations for investors. The architectural designs show that a handsome block of buildings will be erected, containing two shops in Hope- street, in addition to lock-up shops and offices. For these there are numerous applicants. The project is an assured success, and we have great pleasure in recommending it to the notice of those desirous of making a first-class investment of a freehold character. There is nothing speculative about the scheme, and it is brought forward by the directors as a really good investment, which will undoubtedly return a high rate of interest.   

November 1890

THE WREXHAM ARCADE COMPANY, LIMITED.

On Monday, the first general meeting of the share- holders of this Company was held at the registered offices, 3, Queen-street, when there were present- Messrs. T. B. Barton, Chas. Davies. Ll. Powell, J. F. Edisbury, J. Woolley, and T. Ingham Mr A. C. Baugh, architect, and Mr Geo. Bevan, secretary. The detailed plans and drawings of the new arcade were submitted by Mr Baugh, the architect, and fully explained. The Secretary intimated that the building plans had been before the Town Council, and had been approved, and that the names of persons willing to tender for the erection of the building had been advertised for, and twelve builders had intimated their intention of tendering for the work as soon as the specifications were completed. The Secretary reported that several additional applications for shops had been received, and it is intended after the tender has been let, to press on the work with great rapidity.

January 1891

THE HOPE-STREET ARCADE.

The contractor has commenced to demolish Mr C. Davies’ premises in Hope-street, in order to make way for the new arcade. The work is likely to last for many months.

HOPE STREET ARCADE SITE.

PREMISES COMING DOWN. POSSESSION GIVEN UP. TAILORING & HOSIERY ESTABLISHMENT, 58, HOPE STREET. C. DAVIES Wishes to announce that in consequence of the above, he has decided to offer the whole of his stock at an immense sacrifice.

By November the New Arcade was getting ready for business.

November 1891

THE NEW ARCADE, WREXHAM. TO LET- a few Shops in the Central Arcade. Hope-street, Wrexham, suitable for Milliners, Jewellers, Hatters, Toy Dealers, Hosiers, China Dealers, Tea Dealers, very moderate rents. Possession in December. Apply to the Secretary, 3, Queen-street.

In 1892 a musical shop was opened by Mr A Richardson.

Extraordinary Value at A. Richardson’s, Successor to Boucher& Co. Iron Framed Pianos, A Number Of Good Second Hands from Six Guineas. Organs. Chancel Organ Harmoniums from Three Guineas. Our Special Three Years’ System, Newest Music 3d Discount in The Shilling. Special Cheap Lines.  Violins. ‘Cellos. Basses. Violas. Melodians. Mandolines. Banjoes, Guitars, &C., &E. Violin, Case, and Bow Complete. 43, Bridge Street Row. Chester, and Central Arcade, Wrexham.

16th January 1897 After 5 years Mr Richardson moved to larger premises.

To mark the opening of Mr A. Richardson’s new piano and music warehouse, Regent Street Wrexham a grand New Year’s prize drawing came off on Thursday week. At the conclusion of the drawing, Mr Edisbury extended to Mr A. Richardson his heartiest congratulations upon the enterprise  which had characterised his business efforts in Wrexham, and hoped that the success which had  ceded him during the period he had been in business in the Central Arcade would be greatly increased upon removing into his new premises . Mr J C. Gittins also expressed the hope that success would follow Mr Richarson  in his new establishment, he had seen tradesmen who had come from afar who had not succeeded because they had not fallen in with the ways of the Wrexham people.

April 1892

TAILORS. WANTED a thorough and practical all round MAN. Constant work. Good wages. Apply. J. GRIFFITH, 5, Central Arcade, Wrexham.

As usual there was a number of thefts from some of the shops, and Mr Day the tobacconist was a target on a couple of occasions.

February 1892

A SILLY LAD. A small boy, who gave the name of Robert Williams, but whose proper name was said to be Robert Wilson Hughes, aged twelve, was charged with stealing a box of cigarettes from the shop of Mr Day, tobacconist, in the Hope-street Arcade.—Mr Day’s assistant said on the previous day, the boy came into the shop and asked to be shown certain articles. While witness was getting others from his stock, he saw the boy take a packet of cigarettes, but before he could conceal them, witness accused him of the theft. He confessed the offence, and afterwards admitted having taken other articles, and gave the names of other boys who had done the same. On his own behalf, as well as for the protection of the tradespeople in the Arcade, he asked the magistrates to deal with the case, although as the boy was young they did not wish to press the charge. Mr Robert Williams, of Rhosddu, said since the boy was four years old he had taken charge of him, and had brought him up. He had been a good boy, but last week he declined to go to school, and had got a situation in the town. The boy had no father, and his mother was living at a distance. The magistrates remanded the boy until Monday.

A WARNING TO A SILLY LAD.  The following week Robert was brought back to court.

Robert Wilson Hughes, aged 12, appeared on remand, Witness, having regard to the boy’s age, did not press  the case.—Mr William Williams, the boy’s foster parent, said he had chastised him; and the magistrates, treating him under the First Offenders’ Act, discharged him.

July 1892. Two others didn`t get off so lightly later the same year.

Two individuals, of some eleven summers, wished to learn to smoke. They visited the Central Arcade, and abstracted tobacco and matches. The magistrates on Monday ordered them to be birched.

May 1892

THE CENTRAL ARCADE.

We are glad to be able to announce that the whole of the shops in the New Arcade, Hope street, are left, and to excellent tenants. The businesses carried on are as varied as possible, the object being to prevent any clashing of the individual interests of the different tenants. We wish both the promoters and tenants every success and judging from the crowds which frequent the Arcade daily to inspect the very attractive display of first- class goods in the handsome shops, there can be but one opinion as to the popularity and success of the undertaking. The new thoroughfare to the markets and Henblas Sstreet and Chester-street is very much appreciated and used by the public generally.

May 1892 Possibly Wrexham`s first sports shop opened.

THURMAN & Co., BOOT AND SHOE WAREHOUSE, CENTRAL ARCADE, WREXHAM, AND AT BRIDGE STREET ROW. CHESTER before  purchasing  elsewhere kindly favour us with an inspection of our Summer Goods just received, comprising  best novelties in Ladies’, Gentlemen’s, and Children’s BOOTS. SHOES. SLIPPERS &c BOOTS MADE TO MEASURE. REPAIRS. We shall be pleaded to open quarterly accounts with Resident Families. CRICKET, TENNIS, CROQUET, GOLF &c. Our Athletic Goods are specially selected, and are warranted to wear as represented. Cricket Secretaries are specially invited to inspect our selected Bats &c.

Premises were still available later that year and proprietors were advertising for staff.

September 1892

WREXHAM CENTRAL ARCADE. TO LET, LARGE ROOMS, suitable for Offices fronting Hope-street; also, Commodious Photographic Studio. Immediate possession.

October 1892

WANTED, a well-educated young Lady as APPRENTICE. Apply, The Bazaar, Central Arcade.

NOVEMBER 1892

WANTED, the Public to know that Miss BUTCHER (Late with Mrs Thomas, Hope- street), has opened a shop, 17, Central Arcade, with a fine selection of SCOTCH WOOLS.

In September 1895 a John Hughes was fined.  SELLING SILVER PLATE without a licence. Mr Lyons. Inland Revenue Supervisor, charged, on behalf of the Inland Revenue, John Hughes, Central Arcade, Wrexham, with selling silver plate beyond a certain amount without a licence, as required.—W. J. McFarland. Inland Revenue Inspector, Chester, said he called at the defendant’s shop and asked for a silver Albert, which was Hall marked, and was beyond the specified weight. Witness paid 12s 6d for it. Defendant had not got a licence. He produced the Albert. Mr Lyons said he had been receiving numerous complaints from other jewellers in the town about the defendant not having a licence, and lie considered it very unfair that defendant should carry on business that way.  He was fined £3 3s with costs.

29th May 1897   John retired from the business.

GAZETTE NEWS- PARTNERSHIPS DISSOLVED. . John Hughes and John Jones, trading as Hughes and Jones, at the Central Arcade, Wrexham, watchmakers and jewellers. John Hughes retires.

June 1895 The Bazaar was still doing well. 

THE BAZAAR, CENTRAL ARCADE, HOLD THE LARGEST AND CHEAPEST STOCK OF BLOUSES, SHIRTS, BELTS, TIES, AND SKIRTS. THE FAMOUS BAZAAR GLOVE BETTER THAN EVER, PICKED SKINS, Is. 9d. THE BAZAAR, CENTRAL ARCADE.

November 1895 Gazette News

John A. Harris, of Gorsty Hayes, Ruabon-road, and Central Arcade. Wrexham, coal agent.

December 1895 The Royal Tea Company were giving Christmas puddings away for free, but it does look like you had to make it yourself!

CHRISTMAS PUDDING FOR NOTHING. GIVEN WITH 1LB. OF TEA AT 1/1, 12, & 1/3, ONE POUND CURRANTS, HALF-POUND RAISINS, TWO CUPS LEMON PEEL, ONE NUTMEG, ONE PACKET PUDDING SPICE. ONE BAG BEST ROLLER FLOUR. ROYAL TEA COMPANY, 10 & 11, BUTCHERS’ MARKET, (Bottom of Central Arcade), WREXHAM No connection with any other Tea firm in Wrexham

November 1897 Gazette News.

John Morris, trading as C. Morris, of Alexandra Road and Central Arcade. Wrexham, tailor

March 1892

HARVEY DAVIES, GENTLEMEN’S TAILOR, ETC. ETC., 37, HIGH STREET (NEXT DOOR TO THE POST OFFICE), WREXHAM. H. D. has the pleasure to announce that, having been in the employ of Mr Charles Davies, Hope- street, for upwards of fourteen years, he intends COMMENCING BUSINESS on his own account, And will OPEN the ABOVE PREMISES on THURSDAY NEXT, MARCH 10th, With a Choice Selection of NEW SPRING GOODS, and Solicits a Share of Public Patronage and Support. SCOTCH AND FANCY ANGOLA SUITINGS. WORSTED AND CASHMERE SUITINGS- NAVY SERGES AND CHEVIOTS. WEST AND FANCY TROUSERINGS. SAXONY AND WORSTED COATINGS.

Davies & Rush. Military Tailors, Habit Makers, Hatters & Hosiers were established in 1834. They had a branch at 58 Hope Street as well as one in Central Arcade.

July 1902.  In 1902 the gentlemen decided to separate and J G Rush went to Colwyn Bay.

NEW TAILORING ESTABLISHMENT. J. G. RUSH Penrhyn Road, (OPPOSITE THE NEW POST OFFICE), COLWYN BAY, Late of the Firm of DAVIES & RUSH, WREXHAM. Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Tailoring. Ladies’ Costumes. LIVERIES in all Branches. BREECHES a Speciality. TWEED SUITS from 60/- LADIES COSTUMES from 60/-

John George Rush was been born in Dublin.  Apart from his tailoring business, his wife Mary Louisa and their daughters were running a private hotel in Llandrillo a few years after their move.

January 1900

DRESS & COSTUME DEPARTMENT. DAVIES & RUSH, HAVE OPENED A LADIES’ COSTUME DEPARTMENT, UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A FIRST-CLASS LADIES’ CUTTER, Beg to announce that LADIES’ GARMENTS of all descriptions are made on the Premises by Practical Ladies’ Tailors, and that Style and Fit shall be Guaranteed. ALL THE GOODS ARE PROCURED FROM THE LEADING LONDON COSTUME HOUSE*. A TRIAL IS RESPECTFULLY SOLICITED. (58, HOPE STREET, AND CENTRAL ARCADE.

Davies & Rush. Military Tailors

This was Harvey Davies, he remained in Wrexham for quite a long time.  On 10th November 1916 the DENBIGHSHIRE APPEAL TRIBUNAL Took place. Exempted to February 16. Charley Cross, Central Arcade, Wrexham, was appealed for by Harvey Davies, military outfitter, who said the local tribunal refused to hear his appeal on behalf of this man, because it had been sent in too late. The man went before the Medical Board about Sept. 10, and thought he could not appeal until after receiving his papers.  Harvey Davies had been born in Wrexham; he also went to Rhyl where he retired.

May 1900

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BLOUSE? WHY OF COURSE AT THE BAZAAR, CENTRAL ARCADE. £1 11s THE LARGEST SELECTION IN TOWN. SPECIAL SHOW IN TIES AND FANCY NECK BANDS

August 1900 The Wrexham Cycling Club was very popular with the wealthier population of the town and the honorary secretaries were Messrs J. H. Fitzpatrick, Central Arcade

October 1900 Petty theft was still a problem

James Mitchell (ten), was charged with having stolen nine whistles of the value of 1d each. — Robert John Smith, draper, who carries on business in the butchers’ market, stated that he locked his shop, which was at the bottom of the Central Arcade, on the night of the 13th inst. When he opened it again on the following Monday he found nine whistles, had been stolen, He gave  information to the police, as there had been a great  deal of pilfering of late.-P.C. Watkins deposed to having seen defendant on the 22nd inst. In answer to witness , defendant, admitted having stolen three whistles.—John Maloney, eight years of age, residing in Pentefelin, proved having received four Bench discharged the boy upon the  father undertaking to properly correct him.

December 1900

A SPLENDID ASSORTMENT OF PARLOUR GAMES. ALL THE LATEST NOVELTIES IN TOYS, MECHANICAL & OTHERWISE, ALSO A SPECIAL LINE OF DOLLS, PERAMBULATORS, AND MAIL CARTS, OF THE VERY BEST DESIGN. M. JONES, The Toy Stores, Central Arcade, WREXHAM.

December 1900

NARROW Escape

On Wednesday Mr Ashworth, tobacconist, Arcade, had an extremely narrow escape from a serious accident. He was standing by his door and had just turned to re-enter his shop when a large piece of glass, from the roof of the Arcade, fell exactly on the spot where he was standing. The glass, which was of great weight, was shattered to pieces. It appears that a work- man on the roof had accidentally put his foot through the square causing it to fall.

Leonard Ashworth was from Nottingham; he was the manager of the shop where Mr Day worked back in 1892.

Leonard and his family only came to Wrexham after 1891, he was another trader who retired to Rhyl.

Many of the smaller shops didn`t advertise, and those who did lived elsewhere as it was a locked arcade.

In the 20th and 21st century many shops came and went, and were replaced by others of all varieties,     up to the present time –  in no particular order some of them  were  –

Photographers, David Walter Jacobs.  John R Francis Popular Studio.

N G Thomas.  Eric Jones the camera shop.

A S Dexter picture frame maker.

E S Jones watchmaker. Pays the jewellers.  

E Smith, confectioners. Dutton’s Heath foods. Caroline`s Patisserie.

Whitly shoe repairers. Lansleys sold ladies underwear etc.

Barnet Harris draper. Schofield and Priestner mens outfitters shop. Orpheus menswear.

C Higginson, milliner.

Derek Shepherd the travel agents.  Reg K Morris sold wool and tapestries.

S P Evans, hairdresser. Coopers hairdresser and supplies. Indulgence beauty shop.

Morgans sold baskets, soap powders, toys, you name it.  

The Christian Book Shop. 

Abode Above. Firefly. Inky Gee. Redscrafts. Northern Home & Food.

The Central Arcade was listed as A Grade II Listed Building on 31 January 1994 with this description.  

Brick with terracotta dressings, slate roof over frontage building, glazed roof to arcade. Frontage building is 3 storeyed with attics, 3 window range with central entrance to arcade flanked on each side by shops. Original shop fronts survive with outer pilasters carrying brackets of continuous fascia. The shop windows, with slender iron glazing bars, survive in right hand unit. Upper storeys divided by full-height pilasters carrying cornice over upper storey. Outer canted oriel windows above, and central paired sashes, with pediment carried on brackets and enriched with terracotta relief. Windows are all 2-pane sashes.

The facade

Pedimented attic windows each side of central pediment, which has name (Wrexham Arcade) and date in relief. Dutch gables to either side.

Narrow shops to side of the arcade itself are faced in white brick. Shop fronts renewed in original openings, the beaded fascias surviving. Tripartite windows to upper rooms also largely original, and are separated by pilasters with heavy reeded console brackets. Iron trusses to glazed clerestory roof.

View of the upper part of the arcade

Many thanks to Peter Eames for the architects plan.  Daphne Roberts from Abode Above and Nick Roe for use of their images.

Not forgetting the many people who worked or shopped there over the years and their memories of the Arcade. 

Researched by Annette Edwards. July 2020.