In 2018, Newport City Council secured funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Townscape Heritage, to restore and regenerate the city's Market Arcade.
The Victorian grade II listed structure is Newport’s oldest surviving arcade, the second oldest in Wales and the13th oldest in the UK.
Locked in a spiral of decay and decline, the future of one of Newport's key heritage assets was under threat.
The restoration project aims to reconnect owners, traders and the people of Newport with the historic significance of the arcade and its role in the growth of of the city.
The arcade will be redefined as a vibrant and viable commercial attraction within the city’s conservation area.
Artist's impression of the restored Market Arcade.
Originally known as Fennell's Arcade, the arcade was built off High Street in 1869, linking the newly built railway station (1850), Post Office (1844) and Provisions Market (1862).
The arcade was well-used for over a century, affectionately remembered as an ‘arcade of flowers’, until shopping habits changed and Newport's retail centre shifted.
A Memories of Market Arcade event took place 29 June - 1 July 2017 and people were invited to share their memories, photographs and memorabilia relating to Market Arcade.
Memories of Market Arcade event, 2017
If you have stories or photographs you are willing to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a heading of 'Market Arcade' - your memories will add to the rich history of Market Arcade and may give a glimpse of architectural detail that has long since been lost.
Following closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the site has reopened and contractor Anthony A Davies Ltd (AAD) has focused on the renewal of the roof, due for completion in October 2020.
In addition, chimneys and the communal staircase have been repaired and glazing and drainage installed.
Market Arcade's new glass roof
A design for the entrance gates has been finalised and these are being manufactured before installation, followed by production and installation of the shopfronts.
Events with local people during the development stage of the project showed that there are significant stories to be told, not just about Market Arcade itself, but also about the key role that this part of the city has played throughout the history of Newport.
Rather than simply a shopping arcade or shortcut, Market Arcade could be an avenue for discovering the historic heart of Newport, helping to reignite fond memories of quality, identity and friendship.
The project includes opportunities for local people to access, learn about, enjoy and participate in the heritage associated with the arcade.
Proposed activities include the development of treasure trails, graphic displays outlining historical significance and designing a High Street interpretation point.
If you, or a group you know, would like to be involved in the delivery of these activities please email email@example.com with a heading of 'Market Arcade'.