Statement of SignificanceHarts Buildings, Nos. 10-14 Essex Street, are of State and local heritage significance for their historic, aesthetic, social and scientific cultural values. Their historical values are demonstrated by their association with the late 19th century development of The Rocks which is significant in its own right as the earliest area of Sydney to be developed and association with the convict settlement of Australia. The buildings are good examples of two storey, bald-faced terraces provide evidence of the building practices of the 1890s and remain as good examples of speculative housing constructed in The Rocks during this period. The solid construction and decoration of the parapet also indicate the prosperity and confidence of the time leading up to the construction of the buildings.The buildings significantly continued to be used for residential purposes for nearly 100 years, despite changes of ownership and management.The adaptation of the buildings in the early 1990s for use as a pub in association with the nearby modern Hotel complex represents the shift and development of the area from a residential precinct to a commercial zone and a focus of Sydney tourism.The buildings are associated with builder, Peter Hart, who constructed dwellings in Millers Point and Newtown. With the Butchery Buildings, the buildings are now the only remaining buildings constructed by Hart in the area. The buildings are also associated with the Sydney Harbour Trust who became responsible for the buildings from c. 1900 and its successors, the Maritime Services Board, Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. The buildings are also now associated with the Shangri-La (former ANA) Hotel.The buildings are of aesthetic value as good examples of late Victorian style, two storey bald-faced terraces that despite the adaptation retain their original external character, scale and details and a sense of their original internal layout and details. The building form and massing significantly responds to the site conditions and indicates the earlier topography and character of The Rocks. The buildings occupy a prominent corner site and are prominent elements in the Essex Street streetscape primarily due to their corner location and modest scale and contribute to the diversity of the Essex and Gloucester streetscapes and area in general.Harts Buildings are also significant as an integral component of a group of nineteenth century buildings about the intersections of Essex, Gloucester and Cumberland Streets, which collectively illustrate the range, diversity of styles and urban scale of development in The Rocks between 1840 and the First WorldWar.The buildings are of some social value as historic buildings which contribute to the development of The Rocks, which has high social value to residents and occupants and the wider community who campaigned against full scale redevelopment of the area in the 1960s and 1970s and continue to hold The Rocks in high regard for its historical, archaeological and architectural significance and research potential. The buildings are now part of an active commercial "community" and busy tourist precinct and popular venue for leisure activities for local workers and tourists alike.The buildings are of scientific value as part of a reference site. The buildings illustrate the domestic standards and design of bald-faced terraces during this period in The Rocks. With Lilyvale and The Butchery Buildings they demonstrate the architecture, domestic and commercial attitudes of the period between 1840 and 1900 in NSW. The buildings significantly retain fabric from 1890s construction phase. The historical development of the site indicates European occupation since at least the 1840s with archaeological deposits potentially remaining below the buildings.The buildings remain as good representative examples of two storey, bald-faced terraces in The Rocks. There are no other comparable examples of residential terraces in Essex Street from the same period and the buildings are rare as one of a few 19th century developments remaining in the area south of the Cahill Expressway.
Pub / Hotel (part of Shangri-la Hotel)
Residential buildings (private)
Construction Years: 1890 - 1899
Physical Description: This property comprises three, two storey stuccoed brick terraced houses erected in the first decades of the 20th century. They are located in Essex Street, on the western side of Gloucester Street intersection. The three buildings are located hard on both the Essex and Gloucester Street frontages resulting in relatively plain and unadorned facades. They are designed in a restrained Federation Arts and Crafts style characterised by the cornice, string course and castellated skyline formed by the roof level balustrades and chimneys. To the rear each house is planned with a typical, two storey 'tunnel back' arrangement. The remaining space at the ground floor has been infilled. Internal planning originally included a typical entry corridor leading to a stair passage along the party wall. The stairs originally continued to roof level in a small enclosure, giving access for maintenance. (Schwager Brooks 1989: 17-18)Style: Federation Arts & Crafts; Storeys: Two; Facade: Brick; Internal Walls: Finished with lime plaster; Roof Cladding: Corrugated iron; Floor Frame: Timber; Roof Frame: Timber
|Lot/Volume Number||Section Number||Plan Folio Code||Plan Folio Number|
Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The site is part of Allotment 14 of City Section 70 originally granted to Elizabeth Thompson on the 19 April 1839. The 1838 Robert Russell plan shows Allotment 14 with narrow frontage to Essex Street, extending along Gloucester Street. The claimant is noted as the late James Thompson. It would appear that Elizabeth subsequently subdivided the site. A plan of Section 70 shows Allotment 14 divided into two parcels, with the subject site located in the south eastern corner of the section which is generally bounded by Cumberland, Little Essex (formerly Essex Lane), Gloucester and Essex Streets. It is not clear if the Thompsons developed the site the in any way, however, in October 1843 the land was conveyed to Mr N Bray. Bray may have developed the site from this time, in 1849 he took out a mortgage to Mr John Minton Hart. The 1865 Trig Survey plan shows that the site was occupied by a regular shaped structure constructed to the Gloucester Street alignment by this time. Two detached structures are also shown constructed to the rear, western site boundary. In 1875 the land was purchased by William Daley. The plan on the Land Title dated November 1877 also shows the building on the site, with frontage to Gloucester Street. A party wall is clearly indicated on the plan, along the north eastern site boundary. A small detached structure occupies the north western corner of the site. The site was subsequently transferred three times in 1879 and in early 1880 was part of a parcel of land extending along Essex Street transferred to Peter Francis Hart, a builder. The plan on this land title indicates the same building footprint seen on the earlier plans. In the same year the land was transferred to Elizabeth Hart. The Percy Dove plan of 1880 shows the two, one storey dwellings facing Gloucester Street, Nos. 153 and 155. A small structure is attached to the rear of No. 153. Another single storey structure is also shown on the Essex Street frontage, at the south western corner of the site. This building is numbered No. 10 and is surrounded by open yard. It would appear that is was slightly setback from its neighbour to the west, No. 8 Essex Street, another single storey structure noted as being occupied by a bootmaker. The adjoining building at No. 6, also noted as being a single storey building, was occupied by a grocer. A Field Survey dated July 1887 confirms the form and setback of the buildings occupying the site. The detail survey shows one set of stairs on Gloucester Street to the front of the buildings, Nos. 153 and 155. An annotation on the plan identifies the buildings with their neighbours to the north along Gloucester Street, as "old cottages". The buildings appear to be constructed on a rock ledge, which is outlined on the sketch plan. A detached WC is located in the north western corner of the site and another detached larger brick building is located at the rear of No. 155. These details were transferred to a detail sheet dated December 1887. This plan was subsequently revised in September 1895 by which time new buildings are shown occupying the site. The buildings, shown hatched, are constructed to the Gloucester and Essex Street boundaries, with three open yards along the northern site boundary which also featured small timber, attached structures. The main building was constructed in brick. The structures that formerly occupied the site and stair from Gloucester Street are also indicated, however, are crossed out on the plan. It would also appear that the rock face was also cut back to the Gloucester Street building line.Based on these plans, it would appear that the buildings were constructed sometime between 1887 and 1895. It is assumed that they were constructed in 1892. Nos. 153 and 155 Gloucester Street are listed in the Sands Directory until 1892. Nos. 12 and 14 Essex Street are also listed in the Sands at this time, however, are listed to the east of Gloucester Street. Nos. 10, 12a and 14a, however, on the western side of Gloucester Street, are first listed in 1893. The Sands indicates that the street number subsequently changed and the subject buildings became Nos. 10, 12 and 14 by 1898. The buildings generally responded to the irregular shape of the site and were constructed on the original rock ledges that characterise the area. Unlike the previous building that occupied the site, the buildings were constructed with frontage to Essex Street and stepped down the grade of the street, which falls to the east, toward George Street. It is not clear why the Essex Street address was preferred, possibly to allow northern aspect to the rear of the buildings. However, housing constructed in The Rocks by this time was not orientated towards the harbour and Essex Street may have lost its association with the gallows and old Gaol by this time. The buildings were also constructed to the northern and western site boundaries, abutting the existing neighbouring buildings along Gloucester and Essex Streets streetscapes, with only small open yards provided along the northern boundary. It is assumed that the north eastern party wall from the earlier development on the site was retained and new buildings constructed to it and the single storey building to its north, No. 151 Gloucester Street. The wall is exposed today and the shadow line of the gable roof, the height of a single storey structure constructed on a rock ledge is evident. This building was subsequently replaced by two storey terraces constructed by the NSW Housing Board in c. 1912-13. The 1895 field survey notes show the form of the building with attached WCs in the rear yard. The plan indicates a typical type of housing for this period, with rear tunnel back form. Terraces had long being an accepted form in The Rocks with land speculators looking to maximise inner city sites, with no front gardens or setback from the street and restricted open spaces. The buildings also show reference to building codes introduced decades earlier with the incorporation of party walls which extended beyond the roof planes of the buildings. The external form illustrated and inspection of the buildings today suggest that internally the buildings also featured typical internal layout with two main rooms on the ground and first floor with smaller room on both levels in the rear tunnel back. It is assumed that the three upper rooms were accessed via a stair extending up the party walls and returning into the building. The first floor level was typically split to allow access to each of the three first floor rooms. Another narrow stair extended from the first floor to the roof in each of the terraces. Only one of these stairs remains (in No. 14) today.In 1900 the buildings were resumed under the Darling Harbour Resumption Act and came under the responsibility of the Sydney Harbour Trust. Despite resumption and change of ownership, the buildings appear to have retained their original form into the early decades of the twentieth century. A Sydney Water plan dated 1911 also shows the original form and suggests that no external change had been undertaken to the buildings with the open areas across the northern site boundary clearly evident. It also indicates that the buildings to the north of the site, along the Gloucester Street frontage, were demolished about this time to make way for the proposed terrace of 17 houses about to be erected by the PublicWorks Department at Nos. 127-152a Gloucester Street. The plan also shows a lane extending across the western site boundary and rear of the terrace sites and buildings facing Cumberland Street. This is consistent with a number of housing schemes following the cleansing operations of the early 1900s and preparations for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which displaced a considerable percentage of the local population. The Housing Board notified City Council in October 1912 that before work commenced on the premises at Nos. 127-152a Gloucester Street, the premises at Nos. 6 and 8 Essex Street would be demolished once the tenant was vacated. It is assumed that Nos. 6 and 8 were demolished in 1912. The Gloucester Street terraces were demolished in 1987, and site was used as a car park prior to its redevelopment in the early 1990s.Today the building is used as a hotel, Harts' Pub.A plaque in the building today notes that the buildings were occupied by Margaret Fulton, a celebrated cookery author, and her family between the years of 1954 and 1968. The buildings were unoccupied for several years before their use as a temporary site office for the adjoining development of the D2 site (north eastern corner of Essex and Gloucester Streets) in the 1980s.
Historical significance: The historical significance of Harts Buildings is demonstrated by:· the evidence of the place as part of the late 19th century development of The Rocks which is significant in its own right as the earliest area of Sydney to be developed and association with the convict settlement of Australia;· their association with a group of small scale commercial and former residential buildings (Lilyvale and the Butchery Buildings) that demonstrate the evolution of the area from the 1840s to the turn of the 20th century;· their continuous use as residential dwellings from their construction in c. 1892 for nearly 100 years, despite changes of ownership and management; and by· their association with the shift and development of the area from from a residential precinct to a commercial zone and a focus of Sydney tourism activities by the adaptation of the buildings in the early 1990s for use as pub in association with the nearby modern Hotel complex.The buildings meet this criterion on a STATE level.
Historical association: The associational significance of Harts Buildings is demonstrated by:· the association of the buildings with Peter Hart, a builder who constructed the buildings which now bear his name and also owned and developed other properties in Newtown, Millers Point and the adjacent site (the Butchery Buildings);· the association with a number of local residents and occupants including Margaret Fulton, a well-known and highly regarded cookery writer who occupied part of the buildings during the late 1950s and early 1960s; and by· the association with significant groups including the Sydney Harbour Trust, who became responsible for the buildings in c. 1900, Maritime Services Board, Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. The buildings are also now associated with the Shangri-La (former ANA) Hotel and part of the tourist and commercial enterprise in the area.The buildings meet this criterion on a LOCAL level.
Aesthetic significance: The aesthetic significance of Harts Buildings is demonstrated by:· the style, form and classical detailing of the buildings which represents a simple, late Victorian two storey bald-face terrace style with stripped detailing and little ornamentation and incorporation of standard building techniques and finishes which reflects the "speculative" nature of the buildings;· the architectural configuration and layout which is representative of terrace housing of the period, however, like other buildings in The Rocks, shows some innovation in the way the buildings have been adapted to suit the irregular site parameters and topography of the site. The massing and form of the buildings, construction to the street frontage and lack of open space around the buildings represents the shift in the style and type of residential accommodation that became prevalent from the 1870s as the area became more developed and densely populated;· its landmark qualities, occupying a prominent corner site, the buildings are highly visible elements in the Essex Street streetscape. Their modest scale is in contrast with much of the surrounding development and together with the Butchery Buildings and Lilyvale Cottage, form a grouping of late 19th century buildings which exemplify the 19th century development of the area. These buildings are of high significance as the only survivors from this period (1840s to 1890s) in the block bounded by the Cahill Expressway, Cumberland, Essex and Gloucester Streets.· their contribution to an aesthetically distinctive townscape and part of a group of nineteenth and early 20th century buildings about the intersections of Essex, Gloucester and Cumberland Streets, which collectively illustrate the range, diversity of style and urban scale of development in The Rocks between 1840 and the First WorldWar.The buildings meet this criterion on a LOCAL level.
Social significance: The social values of Harts Buildings are demonstrated by:· their contribution as historic buildings in The Rocks which has high social value to residents and occupants and the wider community who campaigned against full scale redevelopment of the area in the 1960s and 1970s and continue to hold The Rocks in high regard for its historical, archaeological and architectural significance and research potential;· their contribution to the community's sense of place as part of a primarily residential and small scale commercial precinct that developed after the relocation of the Old Gaol from George Street in the early 1840s and association with a number of occupants and tenants who were part of a closely knit working class neighbourhood. The buildings are now part of an active commercial "community" and busy tourist precinct and popular venue for leisure activities for local workers and tourists alike.The buildings meet this criterion on a STATE and LOCAL level.
Research significance: The research value of Harts Buildings is demonstrated by:· their potential to yield new or further information as largely intact examples of terraces constructed during the 1890s that illustrate the domestic standards and design of terraces during this period in The Rocks;· their potential to yield information about the original topography of the area and how builders responded to the site conditions and rock ledges that typified the early character of The Rocks;· their potential to yield information about early life in The Rocks. The buildings significantly retain fabric from 1890s construction phase. The historical development of the site indicates European occupation since at least the 1840s with deposits potentially remaining below the buildings; and· as a reference site with the neighbouring Butchery Buildings and Lilyvale Cottage, the buildings demonstrate the architecture, domestic and commercial attitudes of the period between 1840 and 1900 in NSW.The buildings meet this criterion on a STATE level.
Rare assessment: Harts Buildings are relatively rare as:· one of a few 19th century, small scale residential buildings remaining in the area south of the Cahill Expressway with the Butchery Buildings, Lilyvale and terraces at the southern end of Cumberland Street, they form a significant grouping;· there are no other comparable examples of residential terraces in Essex Street from the same period;· a group of bald-faced terraces constructed in The Rocks in the 1890s. The vast majority of the surviving bald-faced terraces in The Rocks date from earlier period, mostly from the 1860s to 1880s;· with the Butchery Buildings are the only buildings constructed by builder, Peter Hart in The Rocks that survived the demolitions that followed the resumptions in 1900;· the buildings differ from other bald-face terraces in the area featuring a distinctive parapet and they respond to the site and retain evidence of the earlier topography and rocky ledges of The Rocks which can be interpreted in the way the buildings step down the slope of Essex Street and by the rock base visible at the base of the Gloucester Street facade.The buildings meet this criterion on a STATE level.
Representative assessment: The representative significance of Harts Buildings is demonstrated by:· the principle characteristics of the buildings as late Victorian style, two storey bald- faced terraces. Despite adaptation and alterations, the buildings, retain their original external character and a sense of their original internal layout which are typical of the style and remain as good representative examples of this type of building;· the use and retention of attributes typical of speculative type dwellings with restrained and simple detailing, scale and form of the buildings;· their contribution to a group which collectively illustrates terraced type dwellings and shift away from detached housing in The Rocks and wider area in the period of the 1840s to 1890s.The buildings meet this criterion on a STATE level..
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed.
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Area under building only. Terraced into hill slope. Investigation: Excavation
|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.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01550||Harts Buildings||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|National Trust of Australia Register||10927|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|