Many will have wandered through the covered passageway that is Hull’s Hepworth Arcade-few will realise that it’s where Mr Marks and Mr Spencer opened one of their first penny bazaars. More than a century later, Marks and Spencer have drifted up the road to Whitefriargate, the Grade II Listed Arcade is better known for local landmarks such as Dinsdale’s joke shop, Fanthorpe’s television store and Beasley’s fashion emporium. It is often a welcome retreat for lunchtime shoppers escaping the rain to shelter under its glass roof, often to peruse the quirky independent retailers who offer something a little out of the ordinary you could never find in the high street department stores.
Joseph Hepworth took the first steps towards building his dream arcade in 1888 when he purchased a number of plots along Market Place, which now runs along the South of his covered throughfare. During the next few years, Hepworth struck bargains and snapped up other plots which were home to chemists, milliners, confectioners and even a “tallyman” which would all make way for his grand edifice.
You need to look to to appreciate the fine detail that went in to the making of Hepworth’s Arcade. According to the Kingston upon Hull Illustrated it is likely that the arcade was completed by 1897. The original intention to name it Victoria Arcade in honour of the reigning monarch had, by then, been dropped by Hepworth in favour of naming it after himself.