A numerous class of buildings — to wit, private banks, insurance and other offices, which used to make so little pretension to external character as to be scarcely distin guishable from the ordinary houses around them — now contribute to the adornment of our streets. Although not exactly public buildings, they shame several which are included in that prouder title. Nor are their facades altogether without practical utility, especially to strangers ; inasmuch as being conspicuous objects they serve as landmarks, by breaking up the bewildering and tiresome monotony which is the sole characteristic of many parts of the metropolis. — The Quarterly Review (1854)

Among the noticeable facts of the present day is that of the marvellous improvement in the street architecture of the metropolis. On all sides we now see springing up buildings for commercial purposes, such as a few years ago were not dreamt of, exoept for the palatial clubs of Pall-mall. Wherever the requirements of business or private enterprise demand reconstruction of premises the improvement most striking. In some parts of the City streets are being almost entirely rebuilt in the most sumptuous and solid manner — the 1866 Illustrated London News

[Buildings are in London unless otherwise noted.]

Markets and Exchanges

Shopping Arcades


Department Stores

Banks and Office Blocks

Other Building Types

Some Illustrations of Shops in Dickens, 1836-1859

Last modified 28 November 2019