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Showing posts from March, 2019

The Burlington Arcade and the Future of the Shopping Mall

Exactly 200 years ago next week, on March 19, 1819, the Burlington Arcade, a covered shopping mall that was a precursor of today’s malls, opened for business in the Mayfair district of London in the heart of the fashionable West End.
Shoppers must have been dazzled by the 72 two-story units, their first-floor shop windows displaying luxury items for sale. The arcade parallels Bond Street, stretching 196 yards from Piccadilly to Burlington Gardens, another street in central London. The fact that the arcade was built next to the Burlington Estate was no coincidence; it was commissioned by George Cavendish, the first Earl of Burlington.
George’s older brother was William Cavendish, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, whose first wife was the feisty and beautiful Georgiana (this post explores her life). The first Duchess of Devonshire was famous for her political activism at the end of the 18th century, and she was also a style icon of her time. It’s too bad she died in 1806 without getting a ch…