Duke Street Arcade, Cardiff
Duke Street Arcade
This arcade was built in 1902. The southern end joins on to High Street Arcade, built in 1885. The northern entrance is on Duke Street, opposite Cardiff Castle.
When High Street Arcade was constructed, Duke Street wasn’t a pleasant place for shoppers to linger. A few years later, the shops and houses on Duke Street’s north side were demolished. This turned a narrow, congested street into a broad thoroughfare offering a grand view of the castle’s south wall – the view that still greets pedestrians today as they emerge from Duke Street Arcade. You can see photos taken before and after the demolition here.
Duke Street and High Street arcades were built by the Cardiff High Street Arcade Company. The company was founded in 1885 by Frederick de Courcy Hamilton, who had set up practice as a Cardiff solicitor in 1870. In the 1880s he also founded the company which built, near Cardiff docks, the Coal Exchange – where in 1901 the world’s first-ever £1 million cheque was signed. He set up many other local businesses, including companies to provide better houses for working people in Cardiff and Barry.
He continued to play an active part in his companies until he died in 1940. His 70 years in business helped to shape Cardiff through the transformative years of the coal boom, the First World War and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
If you’ve just scanned the QR codes in the window of STA Travel, take a look at the stained glass above the window facing Duke Street. These were installed by a previous occupant, Dunn & Co, and show the crests and names of other cities where the company traded: Swansea, Liverpool, Wigan, the City of London, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Postcode: CF10 1AY