Royal Arcade Underground Shops that never existed.
Arcade, in a block known as the Crown Buildings.
Corner of Low Street and Fleece Street.
In two quite separate newspaper articles dated 1909 & 1910, we
have found reference to the Fleece Street entrance, now blocked, and
was referred to as the Victoria Arcade. Yet that entrance is carved
with the words "Royal Arcade".
showing the land prior to building
The top line of the building is no
longer the same, some of the decoration is now missing.
The arch way into
what was the entrance into the Victoria Arcade can be seen
in the bottom right photo, the goods entrance was where
the red brick can be seen.
As time has gone by this corner of Keighley has become misunderstood.
There have been reports of a discovered underground shopping
Hidden Victorian street found in Keighley.
A rummage back through the old Keighley News to 20 July 1901 for the
news item for this new building. We have also been able to ascertain
that the building had not yet been fully completed at the time of the
newspaper report. Yet at least one newspaper reported just recently
that it had last been used in the 1890's for retail.
It turns out that this underground parade of shops are in fact the
cellars, and delivery bays to the shops above. Most shops at that time
would have had their deliveries via the back door, it was most
certainly not the done thing to have deliveries that would upset the
ambiance of the shop and the all important customer comfort, we have
become all too accustomed to making way while the assistant stocks up
the shelves, this would never happened in the days when customer
service was of the highest importance. This venture seems to have been
somewhat ahead of it's time, a group of shops undercover, all in one
place, the only other of a similar style being the arcade on North
Street, currently being brought back to it's former glory. Keighley
was once more leading the way, as it did back in the good old
here to see the item from the Keighley News.
Built on land that once belonged to William Barrett, he had been in
the early 1800's a Worsted Spinner and Manufacturer, but had gone
bankrupt in 1841, he then turned his hand to farming. His son was also
called William. After the bankruptcy they continued to live at Low
Street, William junior managed to find himself a situation as a
foreman in a mill, we believe at the Fleece Mill.
We have searched trade directories and census in search of evidence
that trade was conducted from these cellars, all to no avail, and
therefore must conclude that they were, as the plans state indeed cellars.
Further proof that these cellars were just that, cellars, comes from
Page 10 of the Historical Buildings Report of the Royal Arcade dated
January 2003. Click
here to read the item.
Britannica This website contains photographs of the basement
cellars. It is also of the opinion that the cellars are hidden
The plans below have been reproduced by us from copies of the actual
plans by Turner and Fowlds which can be located at Keighley
||It appears Messrs Turner & Foulds were actually brothers in law.
Hiram Foulds was the son of William & Sarah Foulds. Hiram became the joint owner of a pub with his brothers Jeremiah & David, details of which will be published in a publication due out by Eddie Kelly.
Robert Arthur Turner was married to Hiram's sister Mary Foulds in 1863 making the two brothers in law. The Royal Arcade was a family affair.
Two of Robert Arthur Turners sons became known in their own right through the years. Ernest succeeded to the contracting business subsequently styled as Ernest Turner & Sons building among other projects the Broomhill estate & significantly involved in the Bracken Bank project.
Son Wilfred studied for the law eventually forming his own practice in his own name Turner's solicitors of Keighley; subsequently employing one Harry Wall (descendant of Thomas Wall spirit merchant) as a pupil.
Wilfred Turner eventually took Harry Wall as a partner restyling the practice Turner & Wall.
Before creating Low Streets masterpiece
they built this (above) fine building in 1894 - Court buildings
North Street They also rebuilt part of the Fleece Mills & many
of the larger properties in Devonshire Street.
from the Keighley Rate Book December 1909 which clearly describes
cellars, not shops, underneath the Royal Arcade & its perimeter
stores in Low Street.
some sound clips from a selection of interviews on "Edwardians
Online" One contained an interview given by Mr. S Percy.
From Keighley. Born 1892. Final occupation, Co-op grocery manager. Sadly
there do not apear to be online anymore.
13th January 2011 after 112 years
from the Keighley News: Keighley historian, Ian Dewhirst, said Reids
dates back to 1899 when a Wilsden man called Luther Smith began a
book and stationery business at 10 Cavendish Street. He said that
the bookshop’s name dates from 1927 when it was bought by JW Reid
& Co. The store moved to its latest and last premises at 87
Cavendish Street in 1995.