Arcadism is an invented word. And it is defined as enhancing the viability of the glorious Victorian and Edwardian arcades dotted around Cardiff’s Castle Quarter and the Hayes. The arcades are a rich part of Cardiff’s heritage and collectively date back 148 years.
To understand the concept of ‘arcadism’, it is important to first know a little about each of the arcades. There are six of them to be precise.
Meet the arcades:
First, there is Castle Arcade, a multi storied architectural gem overlooking Cardiff Castle. It began commercial operations in 1887.
High Street Arcade follows suit and interconnects to Castle Arcade via a maze of beauty bars, hobby stores, artisan galleries, even an authentic Big Apple deli.
Duke Street Arcade is a corridor of secrets, and coffee shops waiting to be explored. It also interconnects the first two arcades to form the trio – Castle Quarter Arcades.
Round the corner, by the Cariff Central Library is the Royal Arcade. The oldest of the courts, but boasts of many gourmet cafes and quirky pen and paper stores.
The Morgan Arcade is described as being the most preserved of all the arcades and is also located on St Mary street, linking it to the Hayes.
Together, Royal Arcade and Morgan Arcade form the quintissential Morgan Quarter.
Wyndham Arcade, unlike the rest was built in the Edwardian era and is an alleyway of quaint shops. It runs parallel to Cardiff’s Cafe Quarter, Mill Lane, cutting through to the bottom of St Mary Street. It is popular for afternoon tea.
Almost everyone would agree that the arcades hold charm and character, and give Cardiff a certain ‘je ne sais quoi.’ Catherine Woods, the owner of Green Valley Moves and a long time resident of Cardiff says, “I think there is something quintessentially Cardiff about the arcades which show off the beautiful Victorian architecture in the vicinity.”
According to Catherine there is something really unique about having a compact city that has wonderful arcades threaded through. “It’s intimacy also allows independent specialist shops to survive which is great for the local economy,” Catherine explains further.
Larissa Camargo, a visitor from Brazil echoes Catherine in her sentiments by adding:”I think it makes Cardiff unique, as you don’t go around seeing the same shops you would in every other city.”
Word in the corridor:
Independent businessmen and women in the arcades all share a common view. That business in the arcades isn’t what it used to be. Partly due to newer shopping malls like St.David’s Shopping Centre promoting the opening of mega chain stores. The shopping mall is taking all the glory (along with all the customers). Take for example the fact that the arcades close shop by 6pm. St.David’s is open till 8pm on weekdays.
The core objective of arcadism thus becomes clearer in this context. It’s to rally around the arcades and increase footfall and customer visits via social media. The most powerful of voices.