George's Street Arcade
|George's Street Arcade|
|Former names||South City Markets|
|Type||Indoor market / Shopping centre|
|Architectural style||Victorian architecture|
|Location||South Great George's Street,|
Dublin 2, Ireland
|Cost||250,000 pounds sterling|
|Owner||Layden Family Group|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Lockwood & Mauson|
George's Street Arcade is a shopping centre on South Great George's Street in Dublin. It is a Victorian style red-bricked indoor market of stalls and stores. It opened in 1881 as the South City Markets.
The first purpose-built Victorian Shopping Centre in Dublin was South City Markets, commonly known now as George's Street Arcade. The City Market Company was incorporated in Dublin with a share capital of £200,000 and a loan capital of £50,000, for the establishment, maintenance and regulation of a market on the south side of the city in 1876. In order for the company to require the land necessary to develop the markets an act of parliament was needed and acquired, this gave the company not only the power to acquire the lands but also the responsibility to widen and generally improve the surrounding streets. Noted British architects Lockwood & Mauson won the contract to design and build the market complex. In 1881 South City Markets was officially opened by the Lord Mayor Sir George Moyers after the development was heavily promoted by wealthy families with substantial property interests in the area. The opening was a grand occasion and was well attended by the invited guests who were entertained to luncheon by the market chairman Joseph Tod Hunter Pim. There were no native Dubliners on the guest list and this went down very badly with the locals and was not forgotten.
Due in some part to the appointment of English builders and architects, the market was not initially popular with ordinary Dubliners. Tragedy struck the markets in August 1892 when the building was destroyed by fire, there were no fatalities but this was devastating for all concerned with the shopkeepers losing their shops and overhead homes but it was the stall holders who were hit worse by having no insurance on their stock. Some of the original letters from the stall holders to the management detailing their losses still exist. After a flood of public sympathy, a relief fund was established for them and was successful.
The markets were rebuilt in the same style with a remodelled interior designed by William Henry Byrne, this time using local labour and craftsmen and on 13 September 1894 were open once again for business. On this occasion, all local dignitaries of any standing were invited and the George's Street Arcade has traded continually since then.
The property was acquired in 1992 by the current owners, the Layden Family Group from City Properties. Through good tenant mix and management and the low key sympathetic refurbishment of the buildings, the Arcade is prospering with new innovative Irish stores like Maktus which has a design studio in-house and the fresh health drink store, The Juicery. There are approximately fifty tenants varying in size from Dunnes Stores to small stalls, selling everything from high fashion and accessories to trendy funky gear, from custom designed solid silver to costume jewellery, from hair-styling to fortune telling, and catering for lovers of music, art, books, speciality ornaments, memorabilia, stamps and coin collections, cafés, general groceries and speciality foods.