The Block Arcade is the finest example of a 19th-century shopping arcade in Australia, standing in stark contrast to the amazing bohemian laneways. Originally called Carpenter’s Lane – The Block Arcade features a mosaic floor, carved stone finishings, and a beautiful glass dome centerpiece.
It’s home to a collection of boutique retailers, including the Tea Rooms 1892 – the original location of the iconic Hopetoun Tea Rooms. Opened in 1892 by Lady Hopetoun (the wife of the Victorian Governor,) these tea rooms provided a place for women to relax in between their day of shopping.
The Block Arcade was named after a peculiar pastime that would take place on Saturday mornings. From the 1860s – right up until the 1930s – men and women would dress nicely, and walk the block; it was a social event, where people could be seen. This was referred to as ‘doing the block.’
The most magnificent feature of the Block Arcade is the glass dome. Architect David C. Askew was asked to take inspiration from the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan – Italy’s oldest active shopping centre – and it’s a striking copy.