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When The Strand opened in 1892, it was the fifth and last of the arcades built in Victorian Sydney. Today, it is the only one remaining in its original form.
When English architect, John Spencer unveiled his plans for the arcade in the mid-1880s he received a standing ovation. The plans were ambitious. The arcade was to be 340 feet long, and three stories high, running between Pitt and George Streets. Magnificent cedar staircases at each end of the arcade led to the second and third floor galleries which were linked by a central bridge.
The arcade was one of the first Victorian buildings in Sydney designed to take into account the harsh Australian climate. The roof was to be made of glass, specially tinted to reduce glare, and the access gallery of the top floor was projected to shade the lower levels.
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