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Old Buildings of Adelaide

Adelaide Arcade, between Rundle & Grenfell Streets, 1886


State Library Catalogue Reference: B 2903

Photographer: Samuel White Sweet.

Adelaide Arcade looking south from Rundle Street (now Mall).

Adelaide Arcade is situated between Rundle Mall and Grenfell Street. It is also connected to Twin Street by Gays Arcade. The Arcade was built in 1885, opened 12 December 1885. Originally comprised of 50 shops at ground level each with their own workroom above. The original building materials included marble from Carrara, Italy and Kapunda to Adelaide's north and plate glass from England. Adelaide arcade was one of the first buildings in Adelaide to have electric lighting.

Another luxury of the building was the inclusion of Turkish Baths at the south-eastern corner. The baths offered hot baths for one shilling or Turkish baths for four shillings. At the official opening ceremony in December 1885, 'The Adelaide Arcade Polka' - especially composed for the occasion - was played. In the early twentieth century the Arcade's resident caretaker was killed when his head was mutilated in the building's electricity generator. Some believe that the Arcade has been haunted by his ghost ever since.

The photographer, Captain Samuel Sweet, rented premises in the arcade.

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