Langleys toy shop in Royal Arcade to relocate
- Credit: Denise Bradley
One of the longest established shops in Norwich - bringing joy to children since Victorian times - is downsizing.
However, Langleys, which moved into the Arcade in 1925, is not moving far.
It is transferring its model collections and collectables, currently housed on the first floor in the current shop, to a smaller unit in the Royal Arcade.
Some of the rest of the toy stock, sold from the ground floor area of the shop, will be transferred to Langleys' other store in Chantry Place.
Langleys, which was opened in Norwich in 1883 in Prince of Wales Road by founder James Langley, is the Arcade's longest serving tenant.
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The toy shop was in the unit later taken over by Jamie's Italian, now empty, before moving to its present unit in 1985.
It was feared in 2019 that Langleys would relocate out of the Arcade altogether but owner Steve Scott decided to retain the current store despite opening a second shop in Chantry Place.
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Mr Scott said there would be no redundancies as a result of the move.
The Chantry Place shop will also be unaffected by the new move, said Mr Scott.
He said: "The Arcade without some representation of Langleys would be like Morecambe without Wise and we just couldn't bear to break ties with this historic venue.
"However, the consolidation of the two distinct limbs of the business was necessary to enable it to thrive in the post-Covid environment.
''The more junior toy side of the business is dependent on stable footfall. Chantry provides this and our modern bright and spacious shop set out on one level has been particularly appreciated by mums with prams and those for whom a steep staircase is an unwelcome challenge.
''The new Royal Arcade shop enables us to bring our specialist models, collectables and 'geeky' board games into one dedicated ground floor destination location."
The current Langleys shop in the Royal Arcade will close on Sunday, June 6 and the new one will open that week.
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James Langley, a local businessman opened the first Langleys toyshop in 1883 in Prince of Wales Road. He later bought out his competitor Galpins Toyshop in the Royal Arcade in 1925 to open his second store.
Langleys was later taken over by local entrepreneur Tom Fielding in 1971. The store went on to be run by John Fielding, who received his first pay cheque in the shop when working for his father as a 12-year-old. He retired in 2015.
Current owner Steve Scott has run Langleys since and his aim has always been to keep a presence in the Royal Arcade, despite tough times, pre-Covid, when rents were high.
His latest move will mark a new chapter in the indomitable link between the store and one of the city's historic attractions.