Talk will look at the history of Norwich’s ‘unique’ Royal Arcade

David Bussey, art historian, enjoying the splendour of the Royal Arcade, which he is to give a talk

David Bussey, art historian, enjoying the splendour of the Royal Arcade, which he is to give a talk on including the history and decorative design. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A talk looking at the history of Norwich's Victorian Royal Arcade will focus on the decorative work enjoyed by hundreds every day.

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of one of two ladies in the Royal Arcade, who could have been ho

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of one of two ladies in the Royal Arcade, who could have been holding a sign of the zodiac on the disc. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Retired teacher David Bussey will give the talk for the Norwich Society next week, and he said he would be particularly looking at the work of ceramic sculptor and artist William Neatby.

'Some of his work includes the ceramic designs in the meat hall of Harrods, in London. He worked with George Skipper - who also designed the Jarrolds store and Aviva's historic base Surrey House - on the Royal Arcade,' said Mr Bussey, 69.

'The talk is going to be quite wide-ranging but with a focus on Neatby's work in the arcade, such as the stain glass window near the Back of the Inns.'

Mr Bussey said the Royal Arcade itself was 'absolutely unique'.

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of one of two ladies in the Royal Arcade, who could have been ho

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of one of two ladies in the Royal Arcade, who could have been holding a sign of the zodiac on the disc. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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Built in 1899 a souvenir guidebook at the time said: 'Dainty lady and robust manhood may dally over the delights of shopping, undisturbed by the vagaries of the weather.'

And today still, the arcade welcomes shoppers and is often bustling with activity whatever the weather.

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Mr Bussey said: 'In this country there's no doubt about its uniqueness, and I'm going to suggest Neatby also worked on three other buildings in Norwich - Haymarket Chambers, one in St Giles which was The Norfolk Daily Standard offices, and Surrey House.'

Haymarket Chambers, built in 1901/02 boast a medieval-style turret appearing just above the shop fronts. One of two belonging to the chambers was built for grocer J H Rolfe.

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of a peacock in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of a peacock in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The offices were first occupied by the Norwich Stock Exchange.

At 7 St Giles Street, visitors will see two roundels set in the front ground-floor window which depict William Caxton, first English printer, and Daniel Defoe, first English journalist.

Surrey House is distinctive for - apart from the architecture - the revolutionary central heating and air conditioning (the marble font in the general office) lighting, stained glass and murals.

Mr Bussey, who lives in Norwich, added: 'I'm a teacher at heart, so I'm hoping to educate the people who come along.'

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

• The talk will be held on February 15, at 10.30am, at The Music Room, The Assembly House, Norwich. Guests £5, Norwich Society Members free, no booking required.

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware making the often missed sign in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENIS

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware making the often missed sign in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Stained glass window designs in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Stained glass window designs in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The outside decoration on the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The outside decoration on the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of peacocks in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware of peacocks in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Stained glass window designs in the roof of Jamie's restaurant the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRA

Stained glass window designs in the roof of Jamie's restaurant the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Painted ceramic tiles in parianware in the Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Royal Arcade. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Norwich Streets -- R
Royal Arcade, Back of the Inns entrance.
The Royal Arcade was designed by Geo

Norwich Streets -- R Royal Arcade, Back of the Inns entrance. The Royal Arcade was designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899. I was built on the site of a centuries-old coaching inn. In September 1991, there was a reopening after a six-year restoration programme which cost nearly £3 million Dated -- 7 September 1978 Photograph -- C4527 - Credit: Archant Library

Norwich Streets -- R
Royal Arcade taken from the Gentlemen's Walk end.
The Royal Arcade was design

Norwich Streets -- R Royal Arcade taken from the Gentlemen's Walk end. The Royal Arcade was designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899. It was built on the site of a centuries-old coaching inn. In September 1991, there was a reopening after a six-year restoration programme which cost nearly £3 million Dated -- 9 November 1958 Photograph -- C4529 - Credit: Archant Library

Norwich Streets -- R
A view of the Gentlemen's Walk entrance to the Royal Arcade
The Royal Arcade w

Norwich Streets -- R A view of the Gentlemen's Walk entrance to the Royal Arcade The Royal Arcade was designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899. It was built on the site of a centuries-old coaching inn. In September 1991, there was a reopening after a six-year restoration programme which cost nearly £3 million Dated -- 27 November 1962 Photograph -- C4531 - Credit: Archant Library

Norwich Streets -- R
Royal Arcade looking towards the Gentlemen's Walk entrance
The Royal Arcade w

Norwich Streets -- R Royal Arcade looking towards the Gentlemen's Walk entrance The Royal Arcade was designed by George Skipper and opened in 1899. It was built on the site of a centuries-old coaching inn. In September 1991, there was a reopening after a six-year restoration programme which cost nearly £3 million Dated -- 8 December 1967 Photograph -- C4541 - Credit: Archant Library

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