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A Browser's Paradise, early 1900s

As Sydney grew around the arcade, it changed very little inside and soon became a refuge from increasingly crowded, noisy streets. The early 1900s are remembered by people who travelled to the city from the suburbs by tram especially to see the electric lights in the Strand Arcade – one of the first places in the city to be lit by electricity. It was browsers paradise. Shops crammed onto the ground floor included stamp and book specialists, milliners and jewellers working in the windows of their shops, because there was nowhere else to sit. For twenty years it was a thriving, friendly place, a haven in the heart of Sydney.