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Here it is… Merry Christmas!

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Christmas is almost upon us. The Birmingham Frankfurt Market is already surrounding Piccadilly Arcade and that means that there are only a few precious weeks left to find that perfect gift for a loved one or family member.

Nothing beats finding that perfect gift for someone and seeing their face light up on Christmas morning. This is extremely important for Mike Ferguson, owner of Smithsonia gift shop in Piccadilly Arcade. “I love the kick out of giving gifts to close family and friends. Having that moment when a loved one is opening a present you got them, and then knowing that you got it right, nothing beats that. It’s very important to me.”

Finding that perfect gift can be difficult though, especially a present where thought, care and love shines through. This is where Piccadilly Arcade stands out from the other shopping destinations in Birmingham. The arcade has a whole range of different independent stores that provide the perfect gift for anyone, whether that is a bespoke piece of jewellery from Onyx or a handmade glass sculpture from Smithsonia.

Visit Smithsonia's Website.

There is a much more personal experience when shopping independent compared to a big retailer too. Like all of the other store owners in Piccadilly Arcade, Michael Walsh, founder of Onyx jewellers, is constantly advising his customers and helping them to pick a perfect tailored gift for a loved one. The bespoke element of shopping in independent stores also adds to the experience too. Nothing says care more than a hand-made gift such as a sculpture from Smithsonia or a piece of jewellery in Onyx.

Phil Hall, a customer in Onyx jewellers also commented that, “anybody can go to a big retailer to get a piece of jewellery, but when you come into a place like Onyx, where it makes bespoke pieces of jewellery, it shows that you have put thought and care into your gift. Nothing compares to that.” Make sure you come by and visit us this December. That perfect gift for a loved one is waiting for you in Piccadilly’s historic arcade.

Visit Onyx's Website.

“We don’t follow big brands, we look for individual makers with small creative businesses. We stock products which aren’t available everywhere. You can get something really bespoke and unique for a loved one in Smithsonia."

Mike FergusonSmithsonia

Movember at Piccadilly Arcade

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The Piccadilly community

is pulling together to raise awareness

around men’s health issues this Movember.

Each and every community member in the arcade is doing all they can this month, whether that’s growing out a moustache like Sayed of Top Tailor, offering special Movember deals like Shepherds, giving away some special prizes for the Piccadilly Arcade Movember raffle, or talking to their customers and offering support around men’s health. The piccadilly community is extremely passionate about Movember, understanding the impact that speaking up can have this month on shoppers.

The Birmingham Retail BID has also been getting behind the fundraising this month. Assia Sohaib, Deputy Retail Bid manager, said, “The arcade community is so warm, welcoming and friendly, so the BID decided to develop a branded marketing campaign for Movember November in Piccadilly Arcade. The campaign includes digital advertising, social engagement, a short film and will finish with an event in Piccadilly Arcade on 29 November.”

“Shepherds is a place where people are able to talk and open up in a non-judgmental conversation. We talk to our customers whilst they are getting their hair cut or beard trimmed. They think of us as their father, their brother or their son, but without the emotional attachment. You can actually save a life by talking to people, especially this month.” – David Sturgeon, Shepherds.

Make sure you take advantage of the fantastic offers that the community is running until the end of Movember. Top Tailor is offering 10% off all alterations for men, whilst Shepherds are offering half-price on all quick beard and moustache trims, as well as a free mini beard moisturiser or mo wax with every donation. To help support the Piccadilly Arcade Movember campaign and to enter our raffle, simply visit one of our participating tenants or visit the link here to donate online. Make sure when you tweet, share or RT, you use the hashtag #MovemberBrum.

Movember Offers:

  • Piccadilly Opticians: Get £80 off any second pair of glasses for all men.
  • Faculty: Receive a free Mo cookie with every coffee purchased for men supporting Movember by growing a moustache or donating.
  • Marco Benito: Receive a free Beard Line Tidy with every Men’s Eyebrow Shape.
  • Shepherds: Get 1/2 price on all Quick Beard and Moustache Trims. Receive a free mini Beard Moisturiser or Mo Wax when you make a donation in store.
  • Piccadilly Cobbler: 10% off all shoe repairs and a free shoeshine to all men supporting Movember by growing a moustache or donating.
  • The Onyx Workshop: Get 10% off all jewellery and jewellery repairs for all men.
  • Top Tailor: Get 10% off on all alterations for all men.
  • Smithsonia: Receive free Moustache Cufflinks when you spend £50 on mens accessories. Smithsonia will also donate £5 to The Movember Foundation when a pair of moustache cufflinks is purchased.
  • Piccadilly Jewellers: Get 10% off all men accessories and jewellery.

There will also be a raffle for all shoppers who donate in store for Movember. The draw will be taking place on Thursday 29th November and prizes include the following:

  • A traditional full service including a shampoo, haircut, style and traditional wet shave at Shepherds. Worth £65.
  • Stunning sterling silver moustache pin from The Onyx Workshop.
  • Shellac manicure for two people at Marco Benito, worth £60.
  • A Faculty branded tote bag.
  • Model cast aluminium DC3 1950’s Aircraft on a stand from Smithsonia, worth £69.95.

Early History

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Piccadilly Arcade was built in 1910 as ‘The Picture House, New Street’. The application for permission to build ‘Cinematograph halls and Lounge’ was submitted to the local authority in February 1910 by the architects Nicol and Nicol and is numbered 12673. The building was opened by Lady Noreen Bass on 20th October 1910.

The entrance lounge was grand and is the sort that would only have been seen in the best hotels. Leading from it were the cloak room, managers office, lavatories and staircase to the circle.

The auditorium comprised six hundred seats in the stalls and one hundred and fifty in the circle. The proscenium arch was surmounted by two sculptured cupids with the screen recessed and surrounded by black velvet. The screen was treated with a special preparation of aluminium which had the effect of making the picture show up ‘bright and clear’.

In the operating room were two projectors and music to accompany the silent films was provided by a first rate orchestra of eight musicians.

In June 1912 a new fan room was added at the far end, at high level. This was also designed by Nicol and Nicol.

Originally there was a single storey building on the left and The Theatre Royal  on the right.

In 1925 Provincial Cinematograph Theathres Ltd. opened ‘The West End’ in Suffolk Street and in the following year they closed ‘The Picture House’.

An arcade of shops was then constructed through the auditorium to link New Street to Stephenson Street. This necessitated the removal of the masonry at ground floor level on the street frontages, the upper parts of the facades remaining virtually as before.

The main facade to New Street is a very handsome one, having a central arch flanked by slightly projecting pavilions terminating in open towers with convex sides. It is faced with white faience.

The conversion to an arcade was well planned and of high quality materials. The surrounds to the shops on both frontages are of bronze with honeysuckle decoration at the corners and the shopfronts throughout were uniform in appearance and also of bronze. Most of these still survive. It is interesting to note that as both shops and arcade are within the shell of the former auditorium there are no major structural supports between the shops.

The floor of the arcade has an attractive black and white marble border and the ceiling, which is flat, is divided into panels by foliated and  moulded frames.