Sunday, July 19, 2020

More commerce in a residential area

Remember how I came across an old sign indicating a building in the residential are of Milswyn Street in South Yarra had once been a chemist? And of course then the Wimmera Bakery.

Here is a plaque on the front of the Wimmera Bakery building I discovered during another ISO walk. The last part which you won't be able to read says, "Architect: Norman Hitchcock, 1836 - 1899. His legacy of 100 ornate buildings from Brunswick to Toorak are wonderful examples of late nineteenth century bourgeois tastes".


St Martins Youth Theatre has been around for as long as I can remember and most of its properties are in St Martins Lane, South Yarra. While we have never attended a production, we really should as it has an excellent reputation and young performers should really be encouraged. Of course its operations have been suspended for obvious reasons. Opposite St Martins is this building, very commercial looking.


Sure enough. On the side it says Motor Engineers, Panels and then something else which I can't read in the photo. I'd better have another ISO walk along St Martins Lane to see what the last word is. I am rather amazed to discover there was so much commerce in a now very expensive residential enclave. 

Later edit: The sign says Motor Engineers (and) Panel Beaters.



30 comments:

  1. I suspect when it was more commercial it was much further from the heart of the city.
    Interestingly (and to me surprisingly) a petrol station in Yarralumla was given heritage status. It has extensively renovated and is now very expensive apartments. The architects/builders had to retain the original facade - though I cannot recognise it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, yes quite disconnected from the city back then. There are some classic 'modern' petrol stations from the 1960s that have been preserved. I really like them, but if you can't see the original facade, then what is the point of preserving it?

      Delete
  2. Motor engineers? Like auto mechanics? Interesting size though - going upwards.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that it is probably not auto mechanics, more like motor vehicle construction from the early 1900's or 1910's. Andrew, what is the address of this building, I remember reading some articles about vehicle construction businesses in the South Yarra area, and would like to do a bit of research into this one.
      My grandparents lived in Armidale (just up the road) and were very early adopters of the new fangled motor cars. My Grandfather was a fitter for Victorian Railways, and helped build and maintain steam locomotives at the Newport Workshops.

      Delete
    2. WWW, yes, auto mechanics. The height was probably required for a car hoist and tyre storage.

      Delete
    3. Pippa, love it if you could find out more. While I think it was car mechanic garage, perhaps you are right about its early days. Maybe it began as a coach builder or motor car body builder. Google Maps and Street View are not being helpful. On Street View I can see the next to the signage is 23 St Martins Lane, but 23 is not shown on Google Maps. I think the garage occupies 25-27 St Martins Lane, South Yarra.

      Do take great pride in your grandfather's occupation.

      Delete
  3. I like the way old buildings get put to use.Its great when they keep a plaque to tell its history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So do I diane. Within 10 years of a business being closed and a new business opened, nobody in the suburb/town will even remember what had once been there.

      Delete
    2. So do I Diane. I really do.

      Delete
    3. Hels, now we can go back to earlier days of Street View and see what was on the street. Tech is changing the way history is stored.

      Delete
  4. Here in Hawaii, the architecture is relatively new, dating back to the 1800s. The old Hawaiian huts are gone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gigi, yes, I think of Hawaii having quite modern buildings with very few old buildings, but there must be some.

      Delete
  5. You've discovered some hidden gems on your walk, just lovely to see. I read that Alice Anderson owned the first garage in Australia only employing females. It was in Kew, long gone but partly reconstructured at the National Motor Museum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, there was some publicity about Anderson's garage a couple of years ago when I learnt about it. Maybe it was when the exhibit was built. Rather amazing for the time.

      Delete
  6. I recall building looking like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dora, yes, just very functional without much merit.

      Delete
  7. It's amazing what you find when going on a walk, see so much more.
    Interesting about these plaques and how buildings change from one person to another using them for different forms of business over the years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, I suppose I am lucky to live in an area where there are interesting things to see, but I remember seeing interesting things in your city.

      Delete
    2. Yes we too have interesting things, forever changing.

      Delete
  8. If only these walls could talk. What a story they could tell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joe, I think those walls would repeat a lot of bad language.

      Delete
  9. In country towns, old buildings like that would become clubrooms for the local footy teams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, like where the players go after the game when they are all hot and sweaty, and then strip off and shower? Stop it.

      Delete
    2. Hah! No, I meant the function rooms where they hold dinners and quiz nights etc.

      Delete
  10. Amazing what we can see when we take nice walks. There are more older buildings here, than anyplace I have ever lived. I like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Travel, don't older buildings give us a sense of connection to the past.

      Delete
  11. You know how I feel about heritage buildings Andrew, they should be cherished, at least the facade should be kept and built around if the whole is totally unsaveable. Next time you come over we'll go to Gordon Street Garage, now an amazing eatery, but with lots of history ✨

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love old signs and such traces of local history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve, at times you have to be observant, but it is worthwhile

      Delete

Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.