The famous and fine-looking shopping arcade in the heart of Preston is called the Miller Arcade, it was the first indoor shopping centre in the town. The Miller arcade was designed around the Burlington arcade in London.
The Burlington arcade was Britain's first shopping arcade. It opened in 1819 and is considered the most beautiful and longest covered shopping street in England. An aspiration which the building was designed to live up to.
The rather scaled down Miller arcade was built around in the late 1890s by Nathaniel Miller. To the left we can see the interior of the arcade. In 1895 the arcade won a competition for the best planned fireproof arcade. Oddly for such a safety conscious arcade, the pepper pot turrets you can see on the old photographs were removed for safety reasons.
The arcade used to have a Turkish bath, these were popular during the Victorian period.
There were 5 in Preston, the one in the arcade was opened in 1901 and lasted until 1947. Its business survived both world wars. The entrance has now been made into a window but the sign above can still be seen today.
Local people would go through different rooms of varied temperatures some very hot and others ice cold, finally they would get a massage. It was supposed to cleanse and relax the body. The concept is similar to a roman bath and the procedures are much like a spa today.
There were public toilets undergrounds outside the arcade for many years, they were closed in the latter part of the 20th century but only the stairwell was filled in to make flowerbeds, underneath the toilets are still intact.
The arcade was restored in 1970s back to its former glory, although sadly, today many of the shops stand empty.
Please click on any of the pictures above to enlarge the image.