An Edwardian shopping arcade opened in 1912 above the London Underground has been taken over by the operator of shops in metal boxes, Boxpark.
The Arcade, just outside Liverpool Street station exists thanks to the advent of electricity — as it sits directly over the railway tracks of the Metropolitan line, which at the time was a steam railway. When the line switched to electric locomotives, they were able to build over the station and The Arcade opened on 11th March 1912, offering a long row of shops under a glazed roof.
In 1988, The Arcade was due to be completely demolished and replaced with a five-storey block of offices and shops. More than 6,000 people signed a petition and saved it from demolition, and it was sympathetically reconstructed in 1994-95, with a more historically correct colour scheme.
It’s still owned by TfL, and they have now signed a 15-year lease with Boxpark for it to be opened as BoxHall City, a covered food hall with an expected 16 kitchens and two bars.
Nigel Pickup, Head of Commercial Property at Transport for London, said: “We are delighted that BOXPARK will shortly be introducing their plans for a BoxHall on our estate. Both BOXPARK and TfL work hard to support small and medium sized businesses, and this will provide a range of food and beverage options to the thousands of people who visit, work or pass through Liverpool Street every day.”
BoxHall is a new idea from the container shipping outlet, being smaller than their existing sites, and the first such outlet opened in Bristol last year. The Liverpool Street arcade will be their second venue, due to open in summer 2023, subject to receiving planning permission from the City of London.
Ahead of that, TfL is looking to restore its retail estate surrounding the Metropolitan Arcade as part of their
wider redevelopment this summer. The works include restoring the Edwardian features of the arcade and the wider estate surrounding Liverpool Street station.