Queens Arcade Stories

Queens Arcade is home to some iconic retail businesses who have traded in this location for much of the life of the arcade and continue to be part of its "living history" – among these business's are:


Emerging from the tough times of the 1930’s Great Depression Alfred Marbeck and his wife Eily bought into an Auckland music store quickly becoming sole owners and moving the business to the Queens Arcade in 1933 – thus “Marbecks was born”.

Undeterred by the rocky 1930’s economy the business flourished - initially centered on the sale of musical instruments and sheet music the main source of home entertainment at the time. Shortly after came the first recorded music - wax cylinders followed by ‘78 records – another rarity today - the first shipment of records imported out of England sold out in a day in the Queens Arcade store!

Marbecks has had a strong family support network ensuring the business success. Firstly Murray, son of Alfie and Eily joined the business followed by his brother Haydn. In the 1970’s Murray’s son Roger joined the business and in 2013 returned to lead the Marbeck team into a new future coinciding with Marbecks 80th year of retailing from the Queens Arcade.

Marbecks continues to set the standard for NZ music retailing with the establishment of Marbecks Classical Jazz and Specialist Imports offering Classics, Jazz, Audio Books, World music and interesting imports cementing its position as a music lover’s paradise and the most diverse retailer of classical music & jazz in New Zealand.

T Clark Men's Shoes

T Clark Men's Shoes located at shop 27 on the Customs Street frontage of the arcade is the oldest independent quality men's footwear store in Australasia. Established in 1899 as a shoe and boot maker near 3 Lamps, Ponsonby Road the business opened a general store in Queens Arcade on completion of construction in 1929. In 1948 the business began specializing in ladies shoes.
In 1963 T Clark Men's and ladies' shoe stores occupied shops at both sides of the Arcade Queen Street entrance.

T Clark Men's shoes is the oldest business operating continuously from Queens Arcade excluding a period in 1981 when the Arcade was closed for extensive renovations.

T Clark Men's Shoes continues to offer New Zealand's most comprehensive range of high quality men's footwear.

Picture acknowledgement - Sir George Grey Special Collections - Auckland Libraries (7A1 4565)