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London has a number of attractive arcades of shops

The most famous is probably the Burlington, alongside the Royal Academy. This was built in 1819 by Samuel Ware for Lord Burlington to stop people throwing rubbish over his garden wall! In 1911 it underwent a redesign by Professor Beresford Pike when it was raised by an additional storey. It was sold to the Prudential Assurance Company in 1926 and repaired after WWII bomb damage. It is patrolled by top-hatted beadles to enforce the regulations which prohibit hurrying, singing or carrying large parcels and open umbrellas! The beadles are ex-servicemen and were originally recruited from the 10th Hussars.

Hancocks & Co at 52 & 53 Burlington Arcade have been exclusively responsible for the design and production of the Victoria Cross since its inception in 1856. Read more on their website.

On the opposite side of Piccadilly are the Piccadilly of 1909 (pictured above) and Prince's Arcades. The decorative entrance (pictured right) is that of the Royal Arcade of 1880 between Albemarle Street and Old Bond Street.

London's earliest arcade is the Royal Opera running parallel to and between the south ends of Regent Street and Haymarket. It was built in 1816-18 by John Nash and G S Repton.

My walks around St James's take in four of the arcades mentioned [click here] 2004

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