Metcalfe Bond Stores
Statement of SignificanceThe Metcalfe Bond Stores are of State heritage significance for their historical, social, aesthetic and scientific values. The site and buildings are also significant for their contribution to The Rocks, which is a precinct of State heritage significance in its own right. As part of the early land grants to the merchant Robert Campbell, the Metcalfe Bond Stores site was part of the area in The Rocks that was resumed in 1901 by the NSW Government.Constructed in the 1910s, the Metcalfe Bond Stores demonstrate Sydney's early twentieth century mercantile character and are typical of bond stores built in The Rocks at that time. As good representative examples of the Federation and late Federation style applied to warehouses, the Metcalfe Bond Stores possess landmark qualities both from the Harbour and from other sites within The Rocks. The buildings are also significant as part of a group of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings in George Street North and Hickson Road which have survived largely intact. The unique form of the site, characteristic of early quarrying and road excavation works in The Rocks, is also of significance. The Metcalfe Bond Stores are important for their ability to contribute to the technical history of warehousing and building construction in the early twentieth century in NSW. The first adaptive reuse of the warehouses to shops, offices and restaurants by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority from 1972 contributes to our understanding of conservation philosophy and practice of the period. Although the potential for archaeological relics is limited by later quarrying and excavation works, sections of quarried rockface and a rough faced ashlar retaining wall remain in the basements of the buildings along the George Street frontage and sections of these elements may date to the 1880s or earlier. As part of a precinct that attracts a large number of national and international visitors, the Metcalfe Bond Stores have strong connections with The Rocks Markets and other commercial outlets which have special and long-standing associations with visitors and Sydney-siders. The listing of the Metcalfe Bond Stores on the National Trust Register and the Register of National Estate, demonstrate the esteem that the buildings are held in by the wider community.The buildings are also of social significance for their association with the private bond storage company, Upward & Co, who commissioned the construction of the buildings and tenanted the buildings for over 60 years. Although not uncommon, the Metcalfe Bond Stores are a good example of the larger form of early 20th century warehouse in the inner city areas which have minimal alteration and adaptation.
Offices / Shops
Bond Store, Warehousing
Construction Years: 1912 - 1916
Physical Description: The Metcalfe Bond comprises two adjacent buildings, both simple bond stores in the functionalist tradition with timber post and beam interior construction. Exterior walls are of load bearing red brick with minimal darker brick outlines.66-76 George Street: The older of the two buildings, built in 1912, comprises three storeys to George Street and five to Hickson Road, seven bays long with a stucco parapet. Openings on ground and second floors are semi-circular in shape.78-84 George Street: Located south of the earlier building and built in 1916, also of three storeys to George Street, five to Hickson Road but nine bays long. The parapet is stepped, dividing the façade into three large sections. All openings are rectangular with two prominent string courses between the first and second floors. The brick detailing is more elaborate than the 1912 store, but the two form a harmonious whole of uniform height and texture. (Croker 1976)Style: Federation Warehouse; Storeys: 5; Roof Cladding: Corrugated Iron; Floor Frame: Timber
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The subject property was part of a lease of land to Captain Henry Waterhouse in c.1799. Charles Grimes's Plan of Sydney, prepared in 1800, shows three parcels of land held by Waterhouse on the foreshore near present-day Campbell's Cove. The alignment of George Street ran between these parcels of land. Waterhouse only held his leaseholds for one year, and did not build on them.Robert Campbell acquired Captain Waterhouse's leases soon after Waterhouse's return to England in 1800. Campbell was one of Sydney's most prominent merchants in the first decades of European settlement. James Meehan's Plan of the Town of Sydney of 1807 shows the two leaseholds occupied by Campbell. This plan shows that Lot 1 included land on both the eastern and western sides of George Street, while Lot 2 was the small square allotment to the south, directly addressing the waterfront. Robert Campbell was officially granted this waterfront land of today's Campbell's Cove, in 1814.A plan of Sydney dated to 1835 shows the extent of Campbell's land. The site of the Metcalfe Bond Stores is in the south-western portion of the Campbell Estate. By the early 1840s, Campbell began subdividing his land holdings, particularly land which was set back from the wharves and therefore less useful to his mercantile enterprises. The site of Metcalfe Bond Stores was a garden for most of the nineteenth century, at which time it was level with George Street: 'The site was still a garden in 1877, level with George Street and separated from Campbell's storehouse to the east by a quarried rock face' (Quote unreferenced in CMP). The State Government acquired the site in 1887 and used it as a stone quarry. In early 1912, a three-storey warehouse (one of the Campbell's Stores) that had been in use by the firm of Upward & Co, Bonded and Free Stores, was demolished to make way for the formation of Hickson Road. Consequently, the company required new storage space to compensate for this loss. In August 1912, John Upward, proprietor of the firm Upward & Co, took up a fifty year lease on a parcel of land with a frontage of 81 metres on the eastern side of George Street. One of the conditions of this lease was that 'a building to the value of at least £10,000 was erected thereon'. Although the lease expired in 1965, Upward & Co remained as tenants at the Metcalfe Bond Stores until 1972. Works to construct Hickson Road required extensive quarrying and excavation. Land of the subject property was excavated to the level of Hickson Road, and 'a stone retaining wall to support George Street' was constructed.' In 1914, the Sydney Harbour Trust reported that 'the southern portion of Hickson Road has been completed for a length of 500 feet from its junction with George Street North'. The Metcalfe Bond Stores was constructed in two stages. The first stage, a seven bay brick warehouse at 66-76 George Street (to the north), was designed in 1912 by the architectural firm of Eaton and Bates in the Federation Warehouse style. Charles Schultz was the Master Builder. The northern section of the Metcalfe Bond Stores was completed in 1913.Bond stores were places where goods, on which the duties are waiting to be paid, were stored under bond and in the joint custody of the importer, or agent, and the customs officers. Although the store at Customs House was intended for the storage of bonded goods the growth of trade to Sydney over the nineteenth century meant that much of this storage was contracted out to private bond storage companies such as Upward & Co. and Cleland's. Shortly after its completion, the first stage of the Metcalfe Bond Stores (referred to as the 'New Metcalfe Bond') was described in Building magazine as a ' fine structure of brick with pilasters running from the first floor up to arches at the top of the building, which are carried higher than the roof line, breaking the skyline and giving relief to the pediment. The openings are fitted with Brady's revolving shutters and the lifts throughout by Standard Waygood, Ltd. Interesting overhead gear was installed by Arnold & Co. The success of the building is its sincerity of construction, being built for strength to carry heavy floor weights, yet being simple and neat in its architectural design'. In 1918, plans were prepared for the southern section of the Metcalfe Bond at 78-84 George Street; the architect for these works is unknown. This warehouse of nine bays, sandwiched between the northern section of the Metcalfe Bond Stores (66-76 George Street)-and the Bushells Building (86 George Street), was designed in the post-Federation style.On 8 December 1925, architect F H B Whitton prepared two plans for alterations to the Metcalfe Bond Stores, to strengthen the floors of the northern (1912) section by way of stainless steel stanchions and beams. These plans were approved by the City Council on 11 February 1926. The stainless steel used for the stanchions and beams was manufactured by the British engineering firm of Dorman, Long & Co, who had been contracted to construct the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1924.Sydney Council Rates records for 1948 described the Metcalfe Bond Stores as being of brick construction with an iron roof; the rates records also indicated that the building was still being leased to Upward & Co and continued to be used as a bonded and free store. The gross annual value of the property in this year was £2024.The Metcalfe Bond Stores was vested in the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority in 1970. It continued to be leased by Upward & Co. and used as a warehouse and store until 1972, at which time 'the Authority commenced renovation and conservation of the sixteen bay warehouses to offices, galleries, shops and restaurants.' Plans for these works to convert the building for a range of commercial uses were carried out by the architectural firm of Devine, Erby and Mazlin, and included a fire upgrade throughout. New restaurants opened in the building and included the Old Spaghetti Factory (in the southern portion of the building from 1973) and Pancakes on The Rocks. In the early 1980s, further works to the building included the installation of air-conditioning and the construction of partitions on the first floor. Tenants in the offices on the upper levels have included the Sydney Cove Authority (SCRA), the Australian Bicentennial Authority and Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising.In 2011, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority undertook extensive base works, including upgrading of amenity areas, lifts, stairwells, toilets and building services. Works to the north building included a new skylight on the western slope of the roof, which was a major intervention, together with an updated mezzanine floor below, and new rooftop air conditioning plant. The new fitout; including the skylight, mezzanine and air conditioning, were sensitively designed to respect the heritage significance of the building while achieving sustainable outcomes.
Historical significance: The Metcalfe Bond Stores at 68-84 George Street, The Rocks are significant because they demonstrate inner Sydney's early twentieth century mercantile character associated with the inner Sydney port facilities. (STATE)Located within the historic precinct, now known as The Rocks, the site and its buildings demonstrate the historical development of The Rocks over the twentieth century. The site forms part of early land grants to the merchant Robert Campbell and was one of many areas in The Rocks to be resumed by the NSW Government in 1901 after the outbreak of the plague. (STATE)The unique form of the site is characteristic of early quarrying and road excavation works which have helped to shape the streetscape around The Rocks. Some of the quarrying is associated with the shaping of the landform by Robert Campbell as shown in early views of his property. (STATE)Constructed in the 1910s, the Metcalfe Bond Stores are typical of buildings constructed in The Rocks at that time for the storage of bonded goods. (LOCAL)The Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority began adaptation of the buildings from 1972. This adaptation for use as shops, offices and restaurants is significant in demonstrating the late twentieth century adaptation of The Rocks warehouse buildings to business and cultural uses. (LOCAL)
Historical association: The Metcalfe Bond Stores at 68-84 George Street are significant for their association with the private bond storage company, Upward & Co, who commissioned the construction of the buildings and tenanted the buildings for over 60 years. (LOCAL)
Aesthetic significance: The Metcalfe Bond Stores at 68-84 George Street are important as reasonably intact representative examples of the Federation and late Federation warehouse styles. (STATE)Located between George Street and Hickson Road, the buildings are recognised for their landmark qualities both from the Harbour and from other sites within The Rocks. The buildings are also significant as part of a group of late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings in George Street North and Hickson Road which have survived largely intact. The range and ages of the buildings, which include the Campbell Stores, Metcalfe Bond Stores, the former Bushells Ltd Offices and the Mercantile Hotel etc, are aesthetically significant as examples of the changing development in commercial premises and the development of The Rocks as a whole. (STATE)The Metcalfe Bond Stores buildings are also important for their ability to contribute to the technical history of warehousing in the early nineteenth century in NSW. Because of the use of both timber and steel structural members, Metcalfe Bond Stores are an indication of the survival of the nineteenth century warehouse/factory construction techniques into the twentieth century, prior to the clear economic and technical superiority of steel-framed or reinforced concrete construction. (STATE)
Social significance: The Rocks as a whole is highly valued throughout Australia as a precinct that attracts a large number of national and international visitors. Situated at George Street North, the centre of the tourist hub at The Rocks, the Metcalfe Bond Stores contributes strongly to the character of The Rocks. (STATE)The buildings have strong connections with The Rocks Markets and other commercial outlets such as Pancakes on The Rocks, which have special and long-standing association with visitors and Sydney-siders. (LOCAL)In addition, the buildings are listed on the National Trust Register and the Register of National Estate, demonstrating the esteem that the buildings are held in by the wider community.
Research significance: The archaeological potential of the site of the Metcalfe Bond Stores relates to the early development of The Rocks. Although the site formed part of Robert Campbell's garden during the nineteenth century, the potential for archaeological relics is limited by later quarrying and excavation works that took place on the site in the early twentieth century. Notwithstanding this, sections of quarried rockface and a rough faced ashlar retaining wall remain in the basements of the buildings along the George Street frontage and sections of these elements may date to the 1880s or earlier. (STATE)The structural and other building details of the Metcalfe Bond Stores illustrate the technology used in construction of bond stores in the early twentieth century. Stylistically, it also illustrates the architectural and building practises of Sydney and the translocation of the then contemporary British building technology to the colony (STATE)The adaptation works carried out to the building in the 1970s by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority has the potential to contribute to our understanding of attitudes to conservation philosophy and practice of the period. The adaptation works are of added significance as the first conversion works undertaken by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. (LOCAL)
Rare assessment: As part of The Rocks precinct, the Metcalfe Bond Stores provides an accessible resource for archaeological investigation and historical, social and architectural interpretation, public access and education. (STATE)Typologically, the Metcalfe Bond Stores are not uncommon, and are similar to many such "industrial" buildings erected in the inner city and nearby areas, including Surry Hills, Pyrmont and Ultimo. While many of these buildings have been lost to redevelopment (a survey was beyond the scope of this study), few if any others have remained within original ownership, and with such little alteration and adaptation. (LOCAL, NOT RARE)
Representative assessment: The Metcalfe Bond Stores are a reasonably intact representative example of an early nineteenth century commercial warehouse building. Although somewhat altered, the building retains its building structure with timber and steel columns and beams, early twentieth century steel reinforcement, as well as its original roof structure. (STATE)
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly destroyed.
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Destroyed Assessment Basis: Site redeveloped in 1994. Former petrol station. Monitoring of works indicated fuel tanks on George St frontage cut into bedrock, machinery / car hoist foundations at rear obliterated any former evidence of site use. Some demolition material noted on site but this had been churned up by site preparation works in 1953. Investigation: Monitoring of demolition of Petrol Station 1994
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0324||New Metcalfe Bond||21/03/1978||14260|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7715||05/04/1976|
|Royal Australian Institute of Architects register||4703189|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01562||Metcalfe Bond Stores||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||8949|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0324||New Metcalfe Bond / George Street Precinct||21/03/1978||2125|