CBD008-01.jpg (82379 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

The Strand Arcade


1891-92 John B Spencer with Charles E Fairfax
1969 (remodelled)
1978 Alan Lawrence and Stephenson & Turner (rebuilt after fire)


412-414A George Street and 191-195 Pitt Street, Sydney




Renaissance Revival Neoclassical


brick, steel and glass


Named after The Strand in London, a smart and fashionable shopping street, Sydney’s Strand Arcade opened in April
1892. Today it still retains the small elite boutiques that defined the Sydney shopping experience of the 1890s.
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A rare, rebuilt late Victorian arcade from the prosperous ‘boom’ times when Sydney experienced rapid growth in shopping arcade construction between 1880 and 1900. Inspired by London’s successful Burlington Arcade.

The Strand was the pinnacle of Sydney’s glass roofed arcades. The roof glass was tinted to provide correct lighting for the upper floor photographers.

The recent restoration after fire damage is a true representation of the original craftsmanship. The overhanging gallery is supported independently of the columns so as to obtain a clear and unobstructed view of the full length of the interior. The Strand Arcade originally included a special gas and electricity system and hydraulic lifts.

Information appearing in this section is reproduced from Sydney Architecture, with the kind permission of the author, Graham Jahn, a well-known Sydney architect and former City of Sydney Councillor. Sydney Architecture, rrp $35.00, is available from all good book stores or from the publisher, Watermark Press, Telephone: 02 9818 5677.

When the Strand Arcade opened in 1892 it was the fifth and the last arcades built in Victorian Sydney. Today it is the only one remaining in its original form.

Sydney was a Victorian city in 1892. Grandeur and elegance was the style of the day as the city’s architects created landmarks that echoed the familiar traditions of hometown London.

In the earlier period it’s construction the Arcade was referred to as the ‘ City Arcade’ and sometimes known as ‘Arcade Street’. In 1981 it was finally it was named after the famous London Street that links the city of London and the city of Westminster. The Strand was London’s smartest theatre, hotel and shopping street in the early 1900’s.

By renaming it The Strand, the grand new promenade became synonymous with the famous Strand in London and its elegant tradition of fashionable shopping. This image has endured. Today it remains a stylish city landmark and is home to some of Sydney’s most fashionable and original stores.

Sydney’s Strand Arcade has survived two depressions (one in the 1890’s and the other in the 1950’s) and withstood the threat of two major fires.

The Strand has traded as a unique shopping centre for over 100 years and continues to shine with all its glory in the 21st century.

The Strand arcade is Sydney’s epicenter of style and design, housing many of Australia’s top designer labels, manufacturing Jewellers, unique shops and beauty salons.

Downtown Duty Free, on the lower ground floor is one of Sydney’s largest Duty Free retailers offering competitive duty free and retail prices.

The ground floor is a browser’s adventure for men’s fashion, Australiana, antiques, collectables and giftware stores such as Sydney Vintage Watches, Strand Hatters for Akubra hats, past present future for Alessi home-wear, the, the Jurlique Salon for natural products and treatments and the Old Coffee Shop, a tenant since 1892, still serving coffee from an authentic "Bezzera" coffee machine.

Level one is the Designer Fashion gallery showcasing some of Australia’s hottest designers such as Alannah Hill, Wayne Cooper, Third Millenium, and men’s wear from Farage. Dinosaur Design and Love and Hatred for inspired modern jewellery.

Level two is the specialty gallery including unisex beauty and health salons, shoe repairs and clothing alteration service. Victoria Buckley is a young jewellery designer and Raphael Jewellers are winners and finalists of the De Beers Diamond Facets Awards.

Numerous Expresso Bars complete the unique Strand experience.