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GLOBE-TROTTER COMES FULL CIRCLE AT BURLINGTON ARCADE

Following our reopening, we look at some fascinating facts about the jewel in Mayfair

The world may have been at a standstill these past few weeks, but things at Globe-Trotter are starting to return to normal with the reopening of the Mayfair flagship store.

Earlier this year, the boutique had moved premises from Albemarle Street to nearby Burlington Arcade. For Globe-Trotter, the Burlington Arcade pop-up — which will become permanent later this year — is something of a return to form. The brand originally occupied a space in the historic arcade for a decade from 2004-2014 and, in a year of great change, the move signifies a rather special full-circle.

‘We are delighted to be reopening our doors at our new location in Burlington Arcade. Safety guidelines have been fully implemented throughout and the team are eager to welcome fellow Globe-Trotters in preparation for their future trips,’ says store manager Michael Rodie. ‘Globe-Trotter has a long and proud history with the Arcade and, after a brief time away, has proudly returned to our roots. Burlington Arcade has always had a special place in our hearts and we’re excited to be a part of this historic destination for luxury shopping once again.’

Renowned as “the jewel in Mayfair”, Burlington Arcade is a striking Regency shopping arcade, designed by Samuel Ware in 1818. The architect was commissioned by George Cavendish, 1st Earl of Burlington, as a place for his wife and ‘other genteel folk’ to shop.

It is also alleged that the Duke, who resided in the nearby Burlington House, wanted to deter his neighbours from throwing discarded oyster shells (a popular snack at the time) into his garden. Either way, it paved the way as one of the country’s first luxury covered shopping arcades.

Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly Entrance. Circa 1910

As a slice of British retail history, Burlington Arcade is full of fascinating stories. And no one knows the tales better than Mark Lord, the head ‘Beadle’ – the Arcade’s centuries-old private security team who still dress in Regency-inspired regalia. And as if that wasn’t quirky enough, here are some more fascinating facts about London’s favourite shopping arcade:

Head Beadle, Mark Lord
DID YOU KNOW…
  • Burlington Arcade officially opened in 1819, and was home to 51 boutiques across 72 units. Many of these original services and products are still relevant today — and included shoemakers, florists, hatters and stationers. Other specialities were a little more niche, such as lace, gentlemen’s walking sticks and sheet music.
  • It used to be common practice for shopkeepers to reside in upstairs living quarters at the Arcade. In Victorian times, one shopkeeper, Madam Parsons, resided in units 27-29. It was only after she passed away on the premises that it was discovered that she was biologically male — a secret not even her close team of staff knew. ‘Madam Parsons, having lived her whole adult life as a woman, is one of the more unusual facts from our history,’ says Mark. ‘But it also shows the wonderful diversity of the individuals who make up our story.’
100-year old listed windows
  • Burlington Arcade has long been the place to shop for high-end goods such as perfume, jewellery and watches – but did you know that it is home to the world’s largest collection of pre-owned Rolex watches? The luxury timepieces are sold by The Vintage Watch Company, which opened at Burlington Arcade 25 years ago.
  • As the oldest and smallest police force in Britain, the Beadles can enforce rules that are particular to the Arcade that were imposed by the original team. This includes the rule that singing, humming, whistling, riding a bicycle or ‘behaving boisterously’ are all prohibited in the Arcade. There are two exceptions to this rule. One is Sir Paul McCartney, and the other is Jayden.
  • Who is Jayden you may ask? The young man may not be a world-famous musician but he enjoys the same VIP privileges as Sir Paul after his uncle arranged for him to have a personal tour of the Arcade with Mark due to his love of history. As part of the tour, Mark promised Jayden he could be only the second person officially allowed to whistle in the arcade if he got a very good school report. A few years later, his uncle returned to confirm that Jayden had kept his promise, so it was arranged for the pair to come to the Arcade, where Jayden was presented with his special licence.