Arcade’s happy birthday
WAYFARERS Shopping Arcade has been at the heart of Southport’s seaside town for 12 decades – and is marking 120 years since it first opened its doors.
The impressive arcade, originally named the Leyland Arcade after Southport’s Liberal MP, was opened in 1898 and was described at the time as “probably the handsomest arcade in Great Britain.”
The arcade, is located on Lord Street, was the brainchild of Southport businessman, John Humphrey Plummer. Affluent late Victorians were keen to shop in a clean spacious environment away from the dirty streets, so the arcade was constructed in an elaborate and elegant style specifically to attract them.
When it opened, the Visiter described it as “the most splendid covered shopping arcade between Southport and Milan”, and it could be dubbed “the Rialto of Southport”. It was an instant success. Inside to this day are a variety of shops which all boast mahogany shopfronts, another favourite material of the late 1900s.
Yvonne Burns, Wayfarers centre manager, said: “We are really excited to be celebrating our 120th anniversary.
“The arcade has so much history and we are looking forward to sharing this with our current retailers and loyal customers.”
The arcade is celebrating its 120th milestone with an exclusive shopping event this Thursday, November 1.
From 12pm, there will be free food, drink, entertainment and exclusive discounts.
There will also be an exhibition which will look back on its history.
Wayfarers: 120 years