This Victorian treasure was built by Archibald Beckett in 1892, he also built the surrounding buildings, the Sailsbury Hotel, The Grand Theatre (Now the O2 Academy) and the Boscombe Chambers, all of which were completed by 1895. The theatre is connected to the Royal Arcade, a balcony in the middle of the space, used to be occupied by a pianist who played for the shoppers enjoying a day out. With the large Victorian windows filling the space will ample natural light and the grand décor, it is easy to see this being a thriving shopping centre in its day.
Sadly now The Royal Arcade seems deserted with only a few small shops still open, most are independent businesses selling ‘jumble sale’ items, the only big-brand name is Café Nero. Although the Sovereign Centre nearby is fairly popular, I believe many shoppers are drawn elsewhere like Castlepoint, Bournemouth Town Centre or Poole. Which is a shame as The Royal Arcade creates a grand atmosphere with stunning Architecture and lots of potential.
All photos taken using my Canon DSLR