About Us

The History of GWA

About GWA

Situated in the heart of the city, GWA is the destination for a unique shopping experience in Birmingham.
Elegant and over-flowing with Victorian charm, we are home to award-winning retailers and pride ourselves on giving visitors the best experiences and retailers.
Often described as the ‘home of hidden gems’, we create a climate for smaller retailers to thrive in this fast-paced competitive marketplace, as well as give shoppers a place to escape the monotony of the high street.

The History of GWA

The Arcade was built by the Great Western Company in 1876-1877 to span a tunnel for the railway line between Moor St and Snow Hill stations. W.H. Ward designed the Arcade and was strongly influenced by Joseph Paxton’s pioneering Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851.
Having sustained bomb damage in World War 2, the entrance at Colmore Row was rebuilt to a different style and the original roof was replaced by an apexed construction rather than the original arched roof. The plaster mouldings above the doors on the balcony remain adding to its original splendour. The stone masonry on Temple Row is still in good order and remains a focal point of interest with both tourists and students.
The Arcade underwent restoration works in 1984 and in recognition of these efforts the Birmingham Civic Society awarded the arcade a prize in 1985. In 1988 the Arcade was voted Birmingham’s favourite building.
GWA is openly acknowledged as Birmingham’s pioneer in the push for supporting independent retail.

Great Western Arcade

The Grade II listed Arcade was built by the Great Western Company in 1876-77 to span a tunnel for the railway line between Moor St and Snow Hill stations.

 

GWA’s roof was originally a glazed semi-circular barrel vault with a glazed central dome, similar to that of the Gallerio Vittoria Emmanuele in Milan which was constructed at the same time.

 

 

4500000
Visitors in 2015