London's Burlington Arcade, designed by Samuel Ware and opened in 1819, was not only the world's first shopping arcade, but is also one of longest and most beautiful shopping arcades in Britain (that's right girls)!
It was built under the orders of Lord George Cavendish - the 5th Duke of Devonshire's little brother. George Cavendish lived in Burlington House, and actually chose to build the Arcade through his own side garden, as he was getting fed up of the public and passers-by throwing oyster shells and rubbish over his garden wall! The purpose of the arcade was advertised as being 'for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public'.
At its time of opening, there were around 72 shops within the Arcade, though many of those were later knocked through to make larger shops, and the number now stands at around 40. What you are most likely to come across in the Burlington Arcade are items such as traditional British gifts, vintage watches, diamonds & silver, fine leather, accessories, and footwear.
However, be prepared to be very well behaved while you shop - Burlington Arcade is patrolled by 'Beadles', who will not tolerate any mischief or insubordination of any kind! You can spot a Beadle by his Edwardian coat and the gold braid on his top hat, and while they may look a little funny, just remember they have the full power to eject you from your shopping experience should you put a toe out of line.
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