The arcade dates back to 1819 when Lord George Cavendish, who lived in Burlington House (now the Royal Academy) commissioned his architect, Samuel Ware, to design a covered promenade of shops – unofficially to stop ruffians from throwing quantities of rubbish (oyster shells in particular) onto his property and officially ‘for the gratification of the public and to give employment to industrious females’.
Rumour has it that the entire 200 yard length of the arcade was converted into a refectory style dining area with trestle tables. The exclusive guestlist included both A-listers and friends. Perspex cubes containing silk scarves fashioned into the shape of her buildings were placed at intervals along the huge table. Rumours that one was empty with a label ‘Cardiff’ are unsubstantiated.
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