Friday Photo: Underneath Piccadilly Arcade
Todays Friday photo is a little on the gloomy side as it was taken down in the basement underneath Piccadilly Arcade in central Birmingham. The space was opened up for the Associated Architects ‘Hidden Spaces’ exhibition about Birmingham’s cinema history. The arcade itself was originally built as a picture house in 1910, though it was only open as a cinema for 16 years. It was so popular another larger cinema was built and the existing building was converted into the Piccadilly shopping arcade as we know it today.
You could see that the ceiling to the front half of the room sloped with the gradient of the arcade floor above, which is the original pitch of the rows of cinema seating. The space was a bit of a curiosity; though largely unembellished the room had some decorative plasterwork fleur de lys and portcullis designs. The walls were also covered with mysterious sequences of numbers and tally marks, the meaning of which became clear once we found out that until very recently the space was a snooker hall! The exhibition was very interesting and I’m looking forward to the second one being held in the Municipal Bank starting this Saturday.