Evans Stores, Harbour Rocks Hotel
Statement of SignificanceThe Harbour Rocks Hotel and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458).The site of the Harbour Rocks Hotel is of historical significance as part of the original hospital garden, and of subsequent buildings from 1850 until the construction of the Evans' Stores in 1890. The Evans' Stores demonstrates the nineteenth century mercantile/commercial built form of The Rocks. The building has aesthetic significance as an unusual and imposing warehouse which forms an important visual element in Harrington Street, with Suez Canal on one side and the terraces at 42-52 Harrington Street on the other. It also forms part of a strong visual precinct of buildings with Nos 42-52 and Nos 55-71 on the other side of the street, and relates to 39-47 Argyle Street.
Builder/Maker: Built for George Evans
Construction Years: 1890 - 1890
Physical Description: The former Evans' Stores is an imposing 3 storey brick warehouse with a painted façade. The building is dominated by four pediments above the cornice, each decorated with a sunrise motif. The façade is divided into four bays by pilasters capped by finials. In 1989, work was completed on the conversion of the Stores and the adjoining terraces at 42-52 Harrington Street, with shops, bars and restaurants facing Nurses Walk to the rear. (SCRA Annual Report 1989: 31)
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: This site was part of the original hospital garden. In 1836 evidence presented to the Court of Claims stated that Allotment 3 had been promised to David Smith by Governor Macquarie as a reward for services as a master mariner. Smith sold the land to Thomas Middleton shortly after acquiring it. The Court accepted the claim although no date was given for Smith land acquisition, but a later Abstract of Title gives it as 1814 with additional information that the land was sold about a month later.Middleton died intestate in about 1828 but a claim by his son Charles, who was still a minor, was accepted in 1836 and the land granted to him. In 1842 when Charles Middleton was about 22 years old, he subdivided the Harrington St property and put it up for public auction. There was only one buyer, William Adnum who purchased Lot 1 for the rather large sum of 335 pounds, the large sum may indicate there was a building on the site, although there is no record in the rate book. The remainder of the allotment was purchased 3 years later by Charles Middleton's mother Eliza for 200 pounds. In 1846 William Riley purchased Adnum's allotment for half the price he paid for it and then in 1848 purchased Mrs Middleton's land for the same price as she paid for it.The first major development of the site occurring during Riley's ownership during which ten dwellings were constructed on the allotment. The houses were constructed of different materials, those on Harrington St and along the laneway were of stone and three houses at the back of the block were built of brick. The 'Wells' map of 1850 shows buildings on the site, and the City Council detail sheet of 1856 shows the arrangement of the buildings. This latter map refers to the lane beside the buildings as 'Riley's Lane'. Later the name of the lane was to change to 'Reynolds Lane' in 1871, 'Harrington Lane' in 1880 and finally 'Harrington Place' in 1883. By 1856 ten houses filled the allotment, the difference in level between Harrington and George St enabled the houses to be tiered into a small site, the arrangement of the back yards and outbuildings was irregular and for No. 10 Harrington St appear to be non-existent, other than by a share arrangement with No 11 Riley's (later Reynolds) Lane. While this type of stacking of houses was common in The Rocks, conditions were ameliorated to some extent by the fact that the land to the south (allotment 3) had not been built upon, while the properties to the east were mainly on the George St frontage, providing a little more light and air than if the surrounding area had been completely built out.In 1858 and 1861 Nos 12 and 14 Harrington St were listed in the Sands Directories as seamen's lodging houses but this use seem to have been of short duration. For the next twenty years the houses were generally let to long term tenants. For all of its owners form the 1850s to the 1880s, the Harrington St houses were investment properties, probably let on weekly tenancies. In 1854 William Riley, now a 'landowner' having moved up the social ladder, sold his Harrington St houses with other properties to Patrick Murphy for 4360pounds, a phenomenal rise in value, indicative of high city land prices following the gold rush. Six years later Murphy sold the houses to Donald Kell for 1500 pounds. Kell's ownership became complicated when, after mortgaging the property to architect James Hume in 1868, Hume died intestate three years later. The mortgage was subsequently transferred to solicitors Billyard and Adams by the firm appointed by the Supreme Court to administer Hume's estate and Kell retained his property which was still mortgaged on his death in 1875.Under the terms of Kell's will, the property was to be managed by his trustee to provide an income for his wife and unmarried daughter. Following his widow, Elizabeth's death in 1879 the property was to be divided between their three children: the three houses on Harrington St to his son Joseph, the four houses in Reynolds Lane to his son John and the three brick houses off Reynolds Lane to Agnes, who had married in 1876. When the mortgage on the property was discharged in 1881, the three children were free to use their separate parts of the estate as the wished. They all eventually sold out to Richard Holdsworth and George Evans, both solicitors in Sydney.Holdsworth and Evans immediately brought the property under Torrens Title and by June 1884 were tenants in common. The houses were rented to weekly tenants. In 1885 Holdsworth transferred his share of the property to George Evans for the token sum of 10s. The houses were demolished in 1885-86 and the new store erected in 1887.The four storey store was constructed with four separate loading docks on the ground floor at Harrington St and with hoists in the rear lane. The plan was of one room per floor enabling the building to be let in four sections, each of four floors with loading facilities. For occupants requiring more space, the infill of the arches in the dividing walls could be removed.In 1888 John William Cliff purchased the store for 8000 pounds and then leased it back to Evans. The first tenants W Gardiner & Co bone and free stores stayed from 1887 until 1890. As there is no entry in the Sands Directory for tenants in the store from 1891 until 1883 the building may have been empty. Evans sold the property back to Evans in 1893 for 10s, he may have been in default with his mortgage payments.In 1893 the building was leased to Cowan's gas meter manufacturers for five years. During this lease there were extra windows added to the north wall of the building overlooking the laneway. It is not know if the firm used all the building but by 1895 part of it was being used as a barracks for the unemployed.In November 1895 the Australian Order of Industry & the Active Service Brigade announced the opening of a barracks for unemployed single men, it could accommodate up to 500 for 3d a night. During the 1890s depression the Brigade assisted the unemployed by establishing barracks in a succession of buildings around Sydney providing lodging and breakfast for a few pence. The aim of the organisation was not to provide charity but self-respect and reliance. The Harrington St barracks were initially named the Wentworth Falls barracks but the name was changed to Liberty Hall in Feb 1896. As well as bed and breakfast, the organisation also arranged lectures and education in the building. The Harrington St barracks were conveniently located near Circular Quay and the wharves, where work should be available, and it seems that the barracks were maintained until 1900. Paying nominal rent, the barracks barely broke even and can have done little to pay off the mortgage to Evans. By 1900 Evans again had commercial tenants, the John Gainsford's Australian Broom Factory, but the resumption of the property by the government put an end to his investment in Harrington St. From about 1905 the building appears to have been fully occupied. The exact occupancy of the stores is difficult to work out as the building was designed in four sections that could be occupied together or as four separate tenancies. Another complication was the street numbering, they stores had four street addresses and had replaced three houses and until 1924, when the street was renumbered, the addresses varied between 1-12 Harrington St, 8-12 Harrington St, or in council rates books 8, 10, 12 and 12 1/2 Harrington St. From about 1921 the Joplin manufacturing Company also used two of the adjacent terraces Nos 42 and 44 Harrington St which were also included in its address in the street directories, even after the company gave up the lease of 44 Harrington St at the end of 1927.From 1905 until the early 1930s the stores were occupied by tenants whose businesses included: indenters and importers; chemists and druggists; sheep shearing machinery; a wool and skin store; an electrical engineer; an oil merchant and polish and ink manufacturers. Until 1925 there were usually four tenants, each occupying one section of the building. By far the longest serving tenant was the Joplin Manufacturing Company, appearing first in 1903 as GC Joplin importer, they had a continuous history of occupancy until Nov 1971 when the company went out of business.In 1970 the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority was set up to redevelop The Rocks areas, the building was originally planned to be demolished but Green Bans placed by the BLF to support the local community prevented it. By 1983 the income generated by the occupants of the building did not meet the expenditure on the property and compliance with Ordinance 70 necessitated considerable expenditure to bring the stores up to current standards. The best outcome for the Authority was for a developer to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings, so along with the terraces 42-52 Harrington St an Expression of Interest was put out in 1986 and five submissions received. The submission by the Tara Hotel Group was recommended to the Minister on financial and architectural grounds. The proposal was for a budget hotel using the stores and terraces with new construction at the rear. The new development took place in 1988 and the Harbour Rocks Hotel was opened in 1989. Since then changes for disabled access, the rearrangement of the restaurant and bar areas and the provision of balconies at the rear have occurred.
Historical significance: The site of the Harbour Rocks Hotel is of historical significance as part of the original hospital garden, and of subsequent buildings from 1850 until the construction of the Evans' Stores in 1887. The Evans' Stores demonstrates the nineteenth century mercantile/commercial built form of The Rocks. The former stores meet this criterion at State Level
Historical association: The former stores meet this criterion at a local level for their association with the Joplin Manufacturing Company which occupied the building continuously between 1903 and 1971
Aesthetic significance: The Harbour Rocks Hotel is a good example of a late Victorian Italianate Style warehouse with prominent pediments and symmetrical styling. The building makes a positive contribution to the streetscape. The former stores has aesthetic significance as an unusual and imposing warehouse which forms an important visual element in Harrington Street, with Suez Canal on one side and the terraces at 42-52 Harrington Street on the other. It also forms part of a strong visual precinct of buildings with Nos 42-52 and Nos 55-71 on the other side of the street, and relates to 39-47 Argyle Street.The former stores meet this criterion at State level for their contribution to the State Significant area of The Rocks
Social significance: The former stores are of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458).
Research significance: Any remains associated with the hospital garden, artefact deposits or features association with the hospital building or auxiliary structures such as kitchens or wells, have the potential to retain information about a number of themes, such as alienation of the place after 1788, provision of early health facilities and the on-going development of the site.
Rare assessment: The former stores do not meet this criterion as there a a number of other examnples of their kind, some better preserved internally within the local area.
Representative assessment: The former stores building is a good example of a Late Victorian Italianate Style warehouse with prominent pediments and symmetrical styling. It retains evidence of its former use such as hoisting beams, loading platforms and doors and internal hatch openings. The former stores meet this criterion at local level
Intact assessment: Above ground archaeological remains
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Mostly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Terraced into hill slope from Nurses Walk frontage.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation ? does not include architectural styles ? use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities.|
|Developing cultural institutions and ways of life||Activities associated with recreation and relaxation.|
|Governing||Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|National Trust of Australia Register||10745||Warehouse||27/02/1978|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01545||Evans' Stores, Harbour Rocks Hotel||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0433||Warehouse||21/10/1980||2322|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0433||Harrington Argyle Precinct||21/02/1980||2317|