The Arcade is one of Dewsbury town centre’s best-loved buildings, with generations having fond memories of shopping trips growing up.
The Arcade dates back to 1899 but closed to the public in 2016 having fallen into decline and disrepair.
Now the community business, which will take on the lease for the building, wants to hear people’s memories and recollections about The Arcade down the decades.
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Kirklees Council bought the building and with the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the Town Fund, hopes to secure the funding required for full renovation.
The council plans to open the restored listed building in 2024 and lease it to The Arcade Group Dewsbury, a not-for-profit company.
The Arcade will house shops, artisan businesses and bars or food outlets.
A sum of £106,657 has been awarded from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for initial development work, as the first stage of a £3.7m application towards the overall £7m restoration costs.
As part of the process, the Heritage Fund is supporting The Arcade Group to showcase the proud history and heritage of The Arcade.
Heritage link worker Mike Mawson, of The Arcade Group Dewsbury, is urging people to help him piece together a community-led history of the building.
Mike said: “We want to create a written, oral, image and video archive to highlight the historical significance of The Arcade.
“If anyone has any specific knowledge, special memories or interesting stories or photos of The Arcade, then we’d love them to share them with us.
“I’m particularly interested to hear memories of the well-known shops that lined The Arcade over the years, for example Auty’s Music Shop, Ivor Burns shoe shop, Ann’s Pantry, Candyman, Hidden Treasure jewellers and the like. Then there was the iconic J&B’s department store in Corporation Street.
“Most of all I’m interested to know why people hold The Arcade in such high regard - what was it that made it so special?”
“Your contribution may be reproduced for display or exhibition purposes so your words may appear in print but don’t be shy!
“We’d love as many people as possible to contribute and really do justice to this fabulous building.”
Anyone who wants to help can send their memories and pictures to Mike at [email protected]