It’s a central location in heart of the city
NEWCASTLE city centre is not short of striking architectural locations. The Central Arcade, with its glass barrel-vaulted roof and stunning tile work, is one of them.
A stone’s throw from Grey’s Monument and the Theatre Royal, the arcade can be accessed from Grey Street, Grainger Street and Market Street. Our main image dates from the 1980s. On the right, we see the long-time Newcastle retail staple that is Window’s music store.
Many of us - including yours truly - will have bought records, sheet music and musical equipment there.
Opened in 1908, JG Window’s has been a purveyor of all things musical for 110 years.
Over the years the store has welcomed many of the region’s budding music stars through its doors as young shoppers, from Mark Knopfler to Bryan Ferry to AC/DC’s Brian Johnson.
As for the Central Arcade, it was built in 1837, the same year Queen Victoria came to the throne.
The mastermind behind the project was Richard Grainger, the builder who helped create the Newcastle city centre we know and love today.
The triangular building, originally called the Central Exchange, was initially a commercial centre, then a subscription newsroom where people went to read the newspapers, and later an art gallery. As well as admiring the artwork, you could also go there to play cards, chess and billiards - and have a smoke!
In 1897, a vaudeville theatre and restaurant replaced the art gallery, but disaster struck four year later.
The building had survived a fire in 1867, but in 1901 a major blaze - which started in the early hours of the morning - completely destroyed the interior.
It was rebuilt in 1906 and the curent Central Arcade, an elegant Edwardian shopping arcade designed by Oswald and Son, was constructed within the original building.
It remains a Newcastle institution.
Window’s music store, Central Arcade, Newcastle, 1950s