Shop and Residence
Statement of SignificanceThe shop and former residence at 182 Cumberland St has historical significance as an early commercial site in The Rocks area, still operating with a commercial use, and one of the few remaining corner shops and residences in The Rocks. It is also significant as an example of the work for the Government Architect's office in the government's redevelopment of The Rocks area in the early years of the 20th Century, and is associate with the then Government Architect WL Vernon. The building has aesthetic significance as a good and well preserved representative example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style, skilfully adapted to its steep site and corner location. The ability of the building to demonstrate the principal characteristics of its type has been enhanced by recent conservation works.
Shop and residence
Shop and residence
Retail and Wholesale
Construction Years: 1911 - 1912
Physical Description: The two storey building at the corner of Cumberland and Essex Streets has brick parapet walls, with a slate roof behind. The part of the building on the corner is grander, with stepped sandstone lintels above the shop entry and windows and sandstone keystones above the first floor arched windows. The lower part of the building facing Essex Street features an arched brick entry doorway and does not have a parapet.Style: Classic Free Style Edwardian; Facade: Brick; Internal Walls: Plastered brick walls; Roof Cladding: Slate
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: By the 1790's a rudimentary street pattern was emerging on the upper ridges of The Rocks where a number of tracks traversed. With the influx of Irish convicts after the 1798 Rebellion, Governor Hunter built a fort on Windmill Hill (now Observatory Hill) for defence of the colony from the internal threat of the Irish. People who had constructed houses on leases on Windmill Hill, had them resumed and they were demolished, one of these was Thomas Boulton.Thomas Boulton arrived in Sydney as a free settler in 1801 with his family on the Minorca. He was granted 100ac at Toongabbie in 1802, but farming was not his calling. He was a stonemason and moved to The Rocks, at least by 1804 when his house on Windmill Hill was demolished. His alternative lease was on the east side of Church Row, (now Cumberland St). This allotment would eventually form the south-east corner of Essex and Cumberland St, but when he took the lease, Essex St probably did not exist. This lease was officially granted in 1809 to Boulton by Colonel William Patterson during the interregnum caused by the deposition of Governor Bligh. Like all the leases granted during this illegal regime, it was declared invalid in Jan 1810 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie arrived. Boulton had to petition Macquarie for his land at Toongabbie and his town lease. He wrote to the Governor recounting the loss of his lease on Old Windmill Row for the construction of Fort Phillip and the grant of another in Church Row by Colonel Paterson in compensation. Boulton stated that he had been 'at much trouble and expense in the purchase of the ground and the erection of the house thereon'. On 13 January 1817 Thomas Boulton senior died, aged fifty-three. His will, written in 1812, provided for his property to be divided equally between his wife Grace and his son Thomas, with Grace's share to go on her death to her son John Michael Anthony. Less than six weeks later, Grace also died and the Boulton family property was divided between the two step-brothers. Thomas Boulton's share of the inheritance was the Cumberland Street property while John Michael Anthony acquired a property in Cambridge Street.Thomas Boulton junior was a well-known and respected member of local community. In December 1820 he was listed as 'residing and settled' on his own property in Cumberland Street, he and his family were probably living in the original Boulton family home. Between 1807 and 1830 Thomas and his wife Elizabeth had thirteen children, of whom all but one survived. With a large family to support, Thomas diversified into an additional line of business, as a licensed victualler. Thomas mortgaged the Toongabbie property for £25 in 1818 and in 1824 petitioned Governor Brisbane for land, stressing the demands upon him with a large family. The family continued to live in Cumberland Street and in April 1829 Thomas gave the 'dwelling house in Cumberland Street Rocks Sydney' as security for a loan of £50 from Thomas Dunn. In May the following year he sold his Cumberland Street house and premises to Isabella Moss for £165.Isabella Moss was already a resident in Cumberland Street and was a publican. Isabella Byrne had arrived free in the Colony as a young child in 1803 and in 1825 had married James Moss. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1826 but by the time their son, James William, was born in 1829, Isabella was already a widow. Just a month after purchasing the Cumberland Street property Isabella Moss died leaving two small children. Her father Aaron Byrne, a carpenter and Joseph Moss, a publican, were named as her executors and all of her property was to be held in trust for her two children until they reached the age of twenty-one. In the meantime the estate was to provide for their education and maintenance. In accordance with her will, the house and premises in Cumberland Street were then rented out to provide an income for her children.In 1834, when the Court of Claims provided a means for title to the land to be legally determined, Aaron Byrne and James Moss produced evidence for the Commissioners of Isabella's title to the land and of its previous ownership by Thomas Boulton junior, inherited from his parents. Their evidence was accepted by the Commissioners and a grant of the land was formally issued in 1834 to Aaron Byrne and Joseph Moss as executors and trustees.From 1830 until 1851, when Moss children had both reached the age of twenty-one, the property remained in the hands of her executors and was let. The occupants of the premises from 1830 until 1845 are unknown but during this period the house became a corner shop. The Rate Assessment Book of 1845 describes the premises as a shop in 'middling repair with new bakehouse' and, with a few brief exceptions, the buildings on the site served as a shop (or perhaps a combined shop and residence) until they were demolished in about 1911.The original house, as built by Thomas Boulton senior, could have functioned as a shop without any alteration, there was no immediate necessity to have purpose-built premises when setting up in business. The 1823 and 1834 surveys show a simple rectangular building, but by 1851 a corner shop, in effect a single room, had been built on the west side of the original building. This single room addition maximised the use of the location and street frontage, giving it a traditional corner shop entrance at the south-east corner of Cumberland Street and Essex Street.In December 1848 Elizabeth Moss turned twenty-one, to be followed by her brother, James William in January 1850. In November 1851 the Cumberland Street premises, a baker's shop comprising a corner shop and bakehouse, went up for sale. The new owner was Samuel Watson, a grocer, who paid £325 for the premises. The Watson family lived almost opposite the Boultons in the 1820s and in the 1840s Robert Watson, a grocer, was at the corner of Cumberland Street and Essex Street. For Samuel Watson, as for Isabella Moss's executors, the Cumberland Street shop was an investment property and was rented out. By 1865 another building had been added at the back of the original house and shop, along the eastern boundary of the property, an improvement to add to the value of the premises. The shop was mainly used as a bakers and confectioners with a brief period as a butcher's shop in the 1860s. It was a good location, with the other businesses on the corner of Essex Street; the Coach and Horses and the grocers on the west side of Cumberland Street and a butchers on the east side. When Samuel Watson died in December 1870 he instructed his executors to sell his unproductive properties and left the rents and profits from his 'productive real estate' for the benefit of his wife Mary Ann Sarah Watson until their youngest child (there were nine of them) reached the age of twenty-one. The shop in Cumberland Street was retained by Watson's executors. In June 1891 shortly after Samuel Watson's youngest child, daughter Jane, reached her twenty-first birthday, his mixed investment portfolio, including the shop in Cumberland Street was put up for sale. The purchaser of the Cumberland Street shop, which was then bringing in a yearly rental of £71.10s, was Adolphus Rogalsky who paid £825. Rogalsky was still the owner when the property was resumed by the government in 1900 as part of the Observatory Hill Resumption Area. A comparison of the two surveys drawn in the 1880s and the Fire Underwriters Plan c. 1901 shows that the building along the eastern boundary of the site had been removed and a new structure built along the Essex Street frontage. This work may date to Rogalsky's ownership in the 1890s. Throughout the 19th century the shop and its outbuildings defied the attempts of surveyors to regularise the city streets and projected into the footpath of Essex Street.The Rocks resumption provided the opportunity for replanning the oldest part of Sydney. A scheme was submitted in November 1903 for rearrangement of the streets. The major impact in Cumberland Street was road widening and straightening, particularly at the northern end, which involved a considerable amount of demolition. In preparation for the work the Department of Public Works photographed much of the area, including the old shop at 182 Cumberland Street. This photograph, taken on 16 August 1901, shows the shop as it probably had looked for almost fifty years. The demise of the old The Rocks area also attracted the attention of many artists and Lionel Lindsay's etching 'The lolly shop' captures both its 'old world charm' and what would undoubtedly have been its attraction for the local children.New terraced houses, flats, corner shops and hotels designed by the Government Architect's office replaced their 19th century counterparts. In 1911 plans were drawn for a new shop and dwelling at 182 Cumberland Street and tenders were called. The successful tenderer was C McCarthy of Mosman. The building was two storeys and stepped down the slope of Essex Street. It was completed before the new Housing Board came into existence in 1912 but was mentioned in the Board's first annual report for the year ended 30 June 1914. The total cost was £1,804. 15. 8d.Associated with the street widening and realignment was a new name. Cumberland Street was now York Street North. In this new arrangement there was pedestrian access only along Essex Street from Princes Street to Gloucester Street, with a flight of steps in the pavement on the south side of Essex Street immediately next to the shop. In place of the road there were raised flower beds and along the new line of streets, concrete fencing.The major priority of the first stage of redevelopment in The Rocks and Millers Point in the early 20th century was the construction of new wharfage; the second was the much larger task of building the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Combining a roadway, train and tram tracks the new bridge required long and wide approaches for both the above ground traffic and excavation for the railway tunnels as they emerged from the underground City Railway. On the south side of the bridge these approaches extended back to Grosvenor Street. All of the properties on east side of Upper Fort Street, both sides of Princes Street and the west side of York Street North were resumed or purchased in the mid-1920s and were demolished. The old Rocks was now divided by a vast swathe of roadway, isolating the east side of York Street North from its old connections that once stretched up to Observatory Hill. According to the record of occupancy provided by the Sands Directories A P Johnson, confectioner, was the tenant of both the old shop at 182 Cumberland Street and of its replacement at 182 York Street North. In 1918 Ernest T Johnson took over and remained in the business until early in 1930. But by 1929 the business was failing; Johnson was in arrears, out of work and unable to pay anything off his debts. The general economic climate may have had much to do with this failure, but the construction of the Harbour Bridge approaches must also have had a major impact on businesses in the area, as much local housing was lost in demolitions for the bridge and the construction work took years. A new tenant, Patrick Halloran, took over in 1930 but was soon asking his landlord, the Sydney Harbour Trust, to take the shop off him and to reduce the rent. He left soon afterwards and in August 1931 the Australian Labor Party applied to use the premises as a hostel for unemployed young women. The arrangement lasted for just over a year, although the ALP too fell into arrears and final payments were made by the Department of Labour & Industry.As economic conditions improved, more regular tenancy agreements recommenced, but it is unclear if this included the reopening of the shop. Requests to partition the shop suggest that the space was being used for other purposes, the shop ceased to trade in the depression, after which the premises were used purely for residential purposes. The last residential tenant was (Mrs) E Ludvigsen. According to the tenancy records she transfered her tenancy to J N Campbell Customs Agents in January 1958. However when J N Campbell applied to undertake alterations to the premises some years later they said that the use of the premises as a residence and office had begun in June 1951. Mrs Ludvigsen may have sub-let part of the building as offices from 1951-1957 while living there. From 1958 until c. 1975 J N Campbell used the building as the offices of their customs and shipping agency. The question of the future of The Rocks was once again on the agenda in the 1960s. Plans for high-rise redevelopment in The Rocks were tempered by somewhat different thinking when they were reviewed in 1974 and heritage was now an important element of the revivification of the area. The construction of the Cahill Expressway had, however, seriously compromised The Rocks, by more demolitions and by creating an artificial concrete barrier and an enormous visual block on George Street. Faced with this impediment, the area to the south of the Cahill Expressway was 'sacrificed' to high-rise while more modest proposals were developed for the retention of existing buildings to the north. With redevelopment pending, many properties to the south of the Cahill Expressway suffered a prolonged period of uncertainty. It was assumed that they would eventually be demolished and so fell into decay. When J N Campbell left in 1975, the premises remained untenanted until c.1993. The building fell into a bad state of repair and was occupied by squatters. The future of the area may have been uncertain but at least the street had retrieved its old name, Cumberland Street, which was officially gazetted in 1974.There is little evidence of any major change to the shop and residence from its construction in 1911-1912 until 1966 when alterations were made for J N Campbell by the architect George Rae. The back verandah had been enclosed some time after 1929, while a number of minor changes had probably been made in about 1958 when the building was adapted for office rather than residential use. In the 1966 alterations, designed to rearrange the office accommodation, the main change to the external appearance of the building was the removal of the recessed corner door of the shop, while internally a number of walls were removed to open up the office space. Reinforcing was inserted to provide additional support for this more open plan. Amended plans were approved in February 1967 and the work was completed by mid-year. In the early 1990s, after almost twenty years of neglect, the building was derelict and work began to repair the damage. In 1993 the building was re-roofed and the replacement of battens, vents, barge boards and cornice mouldings was required because of dry rot. Much of the original fabric had been removed while the building was vacant. The following year a Conservation Plan was commissioned and a report, including re-use options for the building, was completed by Robertson & Hindmarsh Pty Ltd Architects in October 1994.With some $335,000 of funding approved for the building in the next financial year, tenders were called for a programme of repairs and conservation to enable the building to be reused. In March 1995 the tender of R E Charles Constructions Pty Ltd was accepted and the work was carried out under the supervision of Scott Robertson of Robertson and Hindmarsh Pty Ltd. Aurora Expeditions vacated the building in 2008 during construction works on the adjacent Reynell Building and Cumberland Street South Public Domain upgrade. The Australian Youth Orchestra currently occupies the building.
Historical significance: The shop and former residence at 182 Cumberland St has historical significance as one of the few remaining corner shops and residences within The Rocks area, and an example of the reconstruction work undertaken in The Rocks by the Government Architect's office in the early 20th century. The retention of the corner shop reflects the commercial importance of the location, while the expanded residential provision reflects the intention of the redevelopment works to improve housing conditions. the place meets this criterion at a State level for its contribution to the history of the State significant area of The Rocks.
Historical association: The building at 182 Cumberland St is associated with the work of the Government Architect, WL Vernon, and his office
Aesthetic significance: The building at 182 Cumberland St is a good example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style on a small scale, and one of the most intact such examples of this style in The Rocks area.
Social significance: The place does not meet this criterion, as it has no particular association with an identifiable group.
Research significance: Any remains associated with the former shop and residence on the site have some potential to contribute to information about the early history of The Rocks,
Rare assessment: The building meets these criteria at a local level, as there are few intact buildings of this type and period within the local area.
Representative assessment: The building at 182 Cumberland St illustrates many of the principal characteristics of government-designed housing and commercial premises form he early years of the 20th century. The ability of the building to demonstrate the principal characteristics of its type has been enhanced (though not fully recovered) by recent conservation works.
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed.
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Terraced into hill slope.
|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.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01581||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|