Shop - Phillips Foote Restaurant
Statement of SignificanceNB. This statement has been amended with further information since the Conservation Management Plan was adopted in early 2013.The site known as 101 George Street has historical significance as part of an important place for the Gadigal people, and as a place continuously occupied by Europeans since 1788. The land was part of the first hospital in the colony. The Assistant Surgeons' house covered part of the site and was used by William Balmain, D'Arcy Wentworth and William Redfern and possibly others until the hospital moved in 1816. The house was later occupied by Francis Greenway as his home and office. Following acquisition of the land by Frederick Unwin, the present site was leased to William Reynolds, a former convict, who constructed the present main building in 1838. It has been continuously occupied and used for commercial purposes since then, with alterations to the buildings and site especially at the rear, and was the first property to be conserved under the auspices of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority, following the Green Bans which halted the proposed wholesale demolition and redevelopment of The Rocks area. It thus has social significance for The Rocks community.Apart from its associations with Greenway, Unwin and Reynolds, the place also has associations with Thomas Playfair, who operated a butcher's shop from 1869 to 1887, and whose business evolved into a major manufacturing and export concern that extended into other premises in The Rocks.The main building has aesthetic significance as an important and early component of a wellpreserved 19th century commercial streetscape. It is also a rare commercial building surviving from the 1830s, with a number of typical features of a shop and residence of the period. Its present appearance and fabric also demonstrate conservation theory and practice during the early phase of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority's activities in The Rocks.The site has research and archaeological significance as part of the first hospital in the colony, with potential for the presence of remains relating to this and to the second period of development in the 1830s.
Housing and shops
Construction Years: 1838 - 1838
Physical Description: No.101 George Street is a plain two storey brick shop and residence, originally built in 1838. The building has been subject to modifications since but generally in a sympathetic manner. It has a simple early Victorian Regency style shopfront. Style: Georgian; Storeys: 2, plus attic and basement; Roof Cladding: Iron sheeting; Floor Frame: Timber
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The first development on the subject site took place in relation to the Assistant Surgeon's residence which was later occupied by Francis Greenway. Although the subject site appears to have been undeveloped, the site contained a wall associated with the residence. Following Unwin's acquisition of the legal title to the land, known as Allotment 12, Section 84 in the town plan of Sydney, he registered a 21 year lease with William Reynolds, who had recently constructed a building on the leased land, described in the 1838 leasehold document as 'the messuage or tenement thereon lately erected and built by the said William Reynolds'. Reynolds may have informally leased the land from Unwin prior to erecting the building on it. He had already acquired the land fronting Harrington Street to the west, where he built a number of cottages in the1820s. Reynolds arrived in Australia in 1817 to serve a life sentence. He received a Ticket of Leave about 1826 and a conditional pardon in 1835. About the same time, possibly in response to a housing shortage in the 1840s, Reynolds constructed two rows of buildings in an L-shape fronting present-day Suez Canal as well as a right of way on land he owned. Another more substantial building was erected by Reynolds to the rear of the present-day Phillip's Foote building fronting George Street. These buildings were described by 'Old Chum': 'Off the [Suez] 'Canal' was a blind court with some half dozen houses occupied by, to all appearances, some of the roughest of the rough.'Rate records of the building fronting George Street dating to 1845 show that it was a two storey brick residence of nine rooms, with an attic and shingled roof. An 1841 plan labels the site as 'Mr Chapman's Butcher Shop'.The present-day Phillip's Foote building fronting George Street, after changing hands a number of times in the 1840s and 1850s, came to be owned and occupied from c1858 by William Yeoman (1833-1886), Painter/Glazier/Plumber. Yeoman leased the building to Thomas Playfair, butcher, between 1869 and 1886. Playfair (1832-1893) was elected to the City Council as a representative of the Gipps ward in 1875, and served as an alderman until 1893. He was mayor in 1885. Among his achievements with the Council were the widening of George Street North and the establishment of the Homebush sale yards as an alternative to the Glebe Island abattoirs in 1882. He advocated a better city water supply and is remembered as someone who 'instead of trying to sink the shop and kick away the ladder by which he rose, he stayed where he had always lived [The Rocks], long enough to earn the respect and love of his neighbours.'Playfair moved to 103 George Street about 1887, and the Phillip's Foote building was converted to an oyster saloon under the management of Frederick Rossich (also referred to as Bossich). Under the ownership of John Gill from 1885 and the State government from 1901, the place continued as an oyster saloon until 1906 under several different proprietors, all of whom migrated from the region of Dalmatia, Austria (presently Croatia). Most of them became naturalised Australians after Federation.In 1905, Giuseppe Nardi took over the oyster saloon, and in 1906, the place was listed in the Sands Directory as both an oyster saloon and wine bar. Nardi arrived in Australia as one of the survivors of the Marquis de Ray's ill-fated attempt to colonise part of New Guinea in 1880. As the ship's supplies diminished and disease felled numerous passengers, an attempt to reach Australia for provisions was thwarted when their ship in disrepair. Anchored off Noumea, the surviving passengers on the ship were rescued and brought to New South Wales for settlement. Eventually the surviving families' settlement inthe id-North Coast came to be known as New Italy. Giuseppe Meani, an Italian who was naturalised in 1903, succeeded Nardi as proprietor of the wine bar between 1906 and 1909. He was followed by Casper Schelling (1909-1912), I.R. Tolamini (1913-1915), and Alfret Meynet and his wife (1915-1920). Pesman and Kevin in A History of Italian Settlement in New South Wales note the attractions of operating a small independent business to migrant Italians, which may be said to apply equally to migrants from Dalmatia. Small businesses require little capital outlay, and could be operated economically with the use of family labour. Living on the premises reduced the requirement to navigate in the English language. Where job prospects for migrants amounted to menial labour or dangerous work, running one's own business provided a self-determined means of income, and generally allayed exposure to the hostilities and attitudes of bosses and anti-immigration campaigners.From 1922, the ground and first floor were tenanted by a number of manufacturing companies, agents, and a newsagent. This trend continued until at least 1933 (when the Sands Directory ceased). From 1943, John J Cohen rented the premises for the use of repairing musical instruments at 1/- a week. Cohen's lease continued until his death in 1965, when his wife took over the lease. Their business was called 'Harmony House' and operated at 177 George Street, while they used part of 101 George Street as an office, and sub-let part to Collopy & Co. Although full tenancy records for 101 George Street are not available, reference is made in 1965 to the lease of the top floor (probably referring to the first floor) by AJ Robb and its occupation by the Merchant Navy Allied War Service Association, which at times held functions with up to 40 people in attendance. The structure of the top floor was considered dangerous enough in 1965 to terminate the lease.Rita Cohen of Harmony House continued to lease at least part of the ground floor while the condition of the building gradually worsened, according to condition reports carried out periodically by the Maritime Services Board. In 1967, the iron roof and box gutters were considered beyond repair, and water entering the roof caused the electric wiring to short circuit. Not surprisingly, Rita Cohen terminated her tenancy in the same year, and the building sat empty as the Sydney Cove Authority's plans for redevelopment were waylaid by the Green Bans efforts.Internal memos in the early 1970s show that the Authority considered demolition of the building to be the best course of action, however they held concerns as to what the reaction to demolition would be by groups such as the 'Save the Rocks' committee. An engineer reported on the bowing and cracking of the front façade in 1970, and stated that movement had taken place over a long period and did not require urgent demolition for public safety. Props were the preferred solution, and the building was temporarily braced against its neighbour across Suez Canal.In 1971, the Authority heard complaints from the tenant at 99 George Street about water seeping from 101 George Street into her basement. Water was found to be standing 3-4 feet deep in the cellar of the Phillip's Foote building. Shortly thereafter, the City Health Department ordered that the 'accumulation of miscellaneous rubbish, including scrap wood, scrap iron, papers, empty bottles, tins and vegetative matter which is likely to afford harbourage for vermin' be removed from the premises. The Authority hired a contractor to carry out the order, clean the interior of the building generally, remove the existing cast iron fireplaces for storage at the Authority's offices, board up all entrances, and to demolish the timber and corrugated iron shed abutting the northern brick wall of the yard and the timber frame in the southeast corner of the yard. In 1973, demolition of the building was again considered by the Authority, as it had become 'something of an eyesore and has [been] so for the past six years or so.' However, a memo by the Professional Services Manager stated that the building should be retained because of its contribution to the block bounded by George, Argyle, and Harrington Streets. The building itself 'does not have any historical merit, it is considered to be an important element in the whole.' About the same time the firm of Dredge & Evans, via their architect Philip Cox, sought a tenancy in The Rocks area to transfer their dormant Australian Wine License. The Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority hesitated in offering any more than a three year lease because of uncertainty as to the building's future, the lack of money to restore it for the short term, and the absence of any survey plan for the area, which would be required forregistering a lease of any more than three years with the Registrar-General.Dredge & Evans took a tenancy at will and began renovations to the building in July 1974. The work involved gutting both the Phillip's Foote building and the Cook House to the rear, and the near-complete rebuilding of the Phillip's Foote building front and rear walls. Notes on the approved Building Application plans indicate that the external walls were to be 'dismantled with care saving building materials which may be reused in the reconstruction.' The four buildings to the north of the Phillip's Foote building were found to be slipping and pushing against 101 George Street. A bulwark was required to keep No. 101 vertical, and to stop the neighbours from slipping against it. A bar, previously located at Playfair's Buildings, Harrington Street (which was demolished for construction of Clocktower Square) was installed in the front room of the building. Having spent $220,000 on the renovations, Dredge & Evans opened the Phillip's Foote wine bar and restaurant in 1976 and reported in May of the same year that they served 200 to 700 meals a day, and were open seven days a week. Their trading capacity was limited by their usable floor area, and Authority approved their expansion into the area of the former Yeoman's Store building to the north (which had already been demolished in the early 20th century). The work was documented and carried out in 1977. New openings were made in the yard wall at the back of the Phillip's Foote building and in the north wall of the Cook House in order to access a new roofed verandah which opened into a courtyard dining area. About the same time, the Authority were restoring the stone flagging of Greenway Lane. Creating the opening in the yard wall enabled the flagging work to be carried through the Phillip?s Foote outdoor dining areas to access Suez Canal for the first time in the history of the site.Phillip's Foote continues to be operated by the company which carried out the renovation work.
Historical significance: The site of 101 George Street has an important association with the historical development of Sydney, and the metropolitan area, since European settlement in 1788, and earlier with the Gadigal people of Sydney Harbour.To the Gadigal the site formed part of a strip of land along the western shore of Warrane (Sydney Cove) which they called "Tallawolladah". The fact that this area was named denotes it as a special or particular place for the indigenous peoples of Sydney Harbour before the coming of the Europeans.This land became part of the site of the Assistant Surgeons' house and associated garden within the first hospital compound established in 1788. The site is therefore important as being part of the earliest European settled part of Australia, with specific importance in the establishment of medical practice. When the general hospital relocated to Macquarie Street in 1816, the Assistant Surgeons' house was allocated to Francis Greenway by Governor Macquarie.The Assistant Surgeons' land was sold to FW Unwin in 1838 and was immediately leased to William Reynolds and Michael Gannon, who were both convicts who made their way in the colony through building construction. Both of them have residences known by their names on the block in which 101 George Street stands - Gannon's house and shop in Argyle Street and Reynolds' Cottages in Harrington Street.The main building at 101 George Street, built by William Reynolds in 1838, is of significance as the first and only known building on this site. It forms part of the early commercial development of the Rocks area, with a history of tenancies typical of the area's association with a maritime population and maritime industries, including an export butchery, a shipping providore, oyster saloon, wine bar, shipping agent, and commission agent. Part of its space was rented for a number of years by artist John Alcott who is best known for his maritime paintings of ships and harbour scenes.The buildings at 99 -97 were originally built to three storeys, rebuilt to a smaller scale in 1867 creating a coherence to the whole run of buildings from 101 to 93 George Street that exemplifies a scale and simplicity common to small commercial developments during the 1840 -70 period. It shares these qualities with other blocks fronting George Street in The Rocks and contributes to the heritage value of the precinct.While other parts of the city rebuilt and upsized, these buildings remained, as economic depression in the 1890s and repositioning as a 'slum ' in the twentieth century allowed them to be bypassed for redevelopment. Proposals to demolish 101 George Street in the 1970s were shelved, its longevity secured by the changing attitude of Sydneysiders to the heritage values of The Rocks. It was the earliest place owned by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority to be 'restored' following the intervention of local community groups supported by the famous builder's labourers Green Bans which changed the direction of government thinking concerning the future of The Rocks.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The historical significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·The site's association with the first Hospital gardens and the Assistant Surgeon's House.·Being one of the first generation of commercial buildings to survive on George Street·Its continuity of use as small commercial premises.·Becoming the first building to be restored following the government's decision to maintain The Rocks as a heritage precinct in the 1970s.
Historical association: NB. This criterion has been amended with further information and reassessed as State significance since the Conservation Management Plan was adopted in early 2013.The site is associated with the colony's first hospital and the assistant surgeons who lived on the site in the house built for them in 1788, they include William Balmain, D'Arcy Wentworth and William Redfern, and possibly several others. The site is associated with Francis Greenway who is recognised as the first significant NSW architect. The main building at 101 George Street, now the Phillip's Foote Restaurant, is associated with Frederick Wright Unwin, solicitor and owner of the site c1838-1846. The site also has associations with William Reynolds, an early convict builder in the area and lessee of the site who constructed the building in 1838, and with William Yeoman who purchased the building in 1861. Yeoman, like Reynolds and Gannon before him, was a large building contractor who owned various other places in The Rocks and within the block on which No 101 stands.Thomas Playfair operated the premises as a butcher's shop from 1869 until 1887. The business evolved into a major manufacturing and export concern. Playfair lived and worked and constructed commercial premises in other sites in The Rocks, and was a major figure in the public life of the local area and of Sydney, serving as alderman for Gipps Ward from 1875 -1893 and as Mayor in 1885.Association with local owners ended in 1885 when John Gill acquired this and all properties to the corner of Argyle Street, and around the corner in Argyle Street. This heralded the arrival of the absentee grazier landlord and the decline of the area residentially. Between 1887 and the early 1920s it has association with European immigrants from Dalmatia (present-day Croatia) and Italy, a history which is significant in reflecting aspects of a waterfront precinct serving a diverse clientele of local and maritime needs. Gill transferred the property to the state following government resumptions in 1901 and it has remained in state ownership ever since. The provision of low cost and sometimes peppercorn rents during the period that the building was administered by the Maritime Services Board allowed its use by small community groups and individual tenants. One of these was the artist John Alcott, who worked out of the building from 1923 to 1926.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The associational significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·Association with several early Assistant Surgeons, including William Balmain, D'Arcy Wentworth and William Redfern.·Association with Francis Greenway ·Association with early convict builders and developers·Association with manufacturer and local and Sydney civic leader, Thomas Playfair·Association with artist John Alcott, whose paintings are held in national and overseas galleries.
Aesthetic significance: The main building at No 101 George Street has aesthetic significance as an important and early component of a well-preserved 19th century commercial streetscape of State significance. The building also makes an important contribution to the confined character of Suez Canal, which evokes the colonial townscape of The Rocks.No 101 George Street is also significant for demonstrating techniques from an early period of conservation practice in Sydney. The building was reconstructed during the 1970s after falling into disrepair, reconstructing some elements, and elsewhere using modern materials and design methods which were based in contemporary heritage philosophy. The building provides archaeological evidence of these technical achievements having been partially reconstructed from the original 1838 building.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The aesthetic and technical significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·The early 19th century form and detailing of the exterior of the main building within the George Street streetscape and beside Suez Canal·Use of contemporary heritage philosophy in the 1970s reconstruction
Social significance: No 101 George Street is part of The Rocks precinct where the Green Bans influenced the way that the NSW government, the people of Sydney and the wider Australian community understood and valued the history and heritage values of Sydney's first settlement. Following the green bans movement in the 1970s, 101 George Street was the first building to be restored under the guidance of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority, and has maintained the use then established until the present time. It therefore has social significance for present and past members of The Rocks community (including the existing tenant).The association of the place with food and drink, though not continuous, has been substantial, as a butcher's shop from c. 1868 until 1886, with a meat curing cookhouse at the rear from 1882, with oyster bars and wine bars from 1886 until the early 1920s, and as Phillip's Foote restaurant since 1976, with Philip Cox's interpretation of the history of the place, including the cookhouse at the rear, echoing these earlier uses.101 George Street meets this criterion at a LOCAL level.The social significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·Its role in supporting the local working population of the waterside economy until the 1970s.·Being the first building to be refurbished by the government following the Green Bans movement, symbolising the regeneration of The Rocks for the local community.
Research significance: The site has archaeological potential relating to the two phases of the Assistant Surgeon's House from 1788 to c1837. The site has potential to yield further information regarding the occupants of the house, notably Dr's. William Redfern, D'Arcy Wentworth, William Balmain and architect Francis Greenway. Extant building fabric may provide an understanding of the use of the yard area surrounding the house. Such fabric includes the stone wall located east of the house and running parallel to its facade constructed during the same period as No 101 George Street. Archaeological evidence may also exist of the original hospital gardens which were located within this site. No 101 George Street has an extensive rear yard area, now extending westwards to incorporate an outdoor seating area and a building known as the cookhouse. This area is rich in archaeological potential and is likely to contain remains of former buildings, structures and services from its earliest period of occupation. While No 101 George Street was substantially re-built in the 1970s, sub-floor and inter-floor deposits may have survived that have the potential to yield further archaeological evidence about the site's use and occupants from 1838 onwards. While partly disturbed, the site area of 101 George Street has the potential to yield evidence of indigenous and contact archaeology.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The research significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·Archaeological potential relating to the first Hospital·Archaeological potential relating to the two phases of the Assistant Surgeons House, including the yard areas·Potential evidence of the house's occupants, Dr's. William Redfern, D'Arcy Wentworth, William Balmain and architect Francis Greenway·Archaeological potential of earlier phases of the original 1838 building·Archaeological potential of the rear yard area to contain remains of former structures, buildings and services·Potential evidence of sub-floor, inter-floor and wall cavity depositsThe archaeological significance of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·The area of potential remains relating to the original hospital gardens and the two phases of Assistant Surgeons House built shortly after settlement in 1788 and reconstructed c1796. The cellar floor may seal archaeological deposits, and the rear yards of 101 George Street, including the cookhouse and former Yeoman's Stores, also have high archaeological potential.
Rare assessment: The main building at No 101 George Street, constructed in 1838, is among the earliest surviving commercial buildings in NSW. While a number of earlier houses and institutional buildings have survived, most early commercial buildings appear to have been replaced by later buildings.No 10 George Street was also the first property in The Rocks to be conserved and adapted for reuse under the auspices of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. Having remained in the same tenancy since that time, it retains much of the fabric introduced in the1970s, and unlike many other places which have undergone successive campaigns of conservation (such as the Argyle Stores) it is able to demonstrate the early philosophy and practice of heritage conservation prior to the introduction of the Burra Charter.The property meets this criterion at a STATE level.The rarity of 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·Its continued presence on George Street since 1838 as one of the earliest 19th century commercial (and originally residential) buildings to survive in NSW·Its retention of fabric from the 1970s period of conservation.
Representative assessment: The main building at No 101 George Street is typical of the small Georgian-style commercial and residential buildings of the early 19th century. It is an early example of a development pattern that was to become common throughout the 19th and early 20th century, a two-storey building (often with an attic in the roof) having a ground floor shop with living quarters above. No 101 is atypical, however, in having a central entrance rather than the more common entrance on one side of the shopfront.The place meets this criterion at a STATE level.The representativeness of No 101 George Street is demonstrated by:·The simple symmetrical front and rear facades of the main building (partially reconstructed and adapted, especially at the rear)
Intact assessment: ·Archaeological potential relating to the first Hospital·Archaeological potential relating to the two phases of the Assistant Surgeons House, including the yard areas·Potential evidence of the house's occupants, Dr's. William Redfern, D'Arcy Wentworth, William Balmain and architect Francis Greenway·Archaeological potential of earlier phases of the original 1838 building·Archaeological potential of the rear yard area to contain remains of former structures, buildings and services·Potential evidence of sub-floor, inter-floor and wall cavity deposits
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Terraced into hill slope at rear. Cellars below. However extant achaeological resource may exist form the date of the building's construction.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing cultural institutions and ways of life||Activities associated with recreation and relaxation.|
|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||1/12/036/0382||Commercial Buildings||21/10/1980||2184|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7096||09/11/1981|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01580||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7716||27/02/1978|