"Porter House" Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

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"Porter House" Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: "Porter House" Including Interior
Other name/s: Dixson & Sons Tobacco Factory; Porter House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8757928355174 Long: 151.207602885284
Primary address: 203 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
203 Castlereagh StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Porter House, formerly Dixson & Sons is five storeys high and has a facade clad with sandstone veneer of Victorian Classical Style. It is historically significant as a rare surviving example of a Victorian factory and warehouse in this part of the city and for its association with the Dixson family, prominent in Sydney business and philanthropic life over a number of generations. The building is aesthetically significant as an interesting example of an 1870s Free Classical inner city commercial building, with exterior painted signs are an interesting reminder of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century advertising. The building has streetscape significance due to its relatively sympathetic scale in relation to the adjacent St George's Free Presbyterian Church and Scientology House.
Date significance updated: 30 Dec 05
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: J F Hilly (original four storey section)m Burcham Clamp (1909)
Builder/Maker: Mr Eycles
Construction years: 1876-1876
Physical description: The facade features a fairly simple repetition of moulded round headed window openings. The slightly projecting central bay has five double sash windows on each level, the central ones being wider than the others. Each side bay has two narrower window openings. Windows on the southern side have flat arch tops to the openings. There is a wide entablature between the third and fourth floor. Above the top floor is a parapet surmounted by four bulky urns and a narrow pediment in the centre. The side walls are cement rendered with a lining to imitate large stone blocks, both side walls have remnants of many painted advertisements. The ground floor facade and interior have been substantially altered. The entire northern bay has been altered to form the present entry, stairway and landings to each floor some original pressed metal ceilings remain. The stairs are of dark grey marble with light grey marble risers and have metal balustrading in an Art Deco pattern. Category:Individual Building. Style:Victorian Classical. Storeys:5. Facade:Render. Side/Rear Walls:Render. Internal Walls:Rendered Brick. Roof Cladding:Corrugated metal. Internal Structure:Rendered brick. Floor:Reinf. conc. slab. Roof:Timber framing. Ceilings:Susp. plasterboard. Stairs:2. Fire Stairs:2. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:2. General Details:In general the building above the awning is intact externally and in need of repair work. Internally the building was remodelled in the 1930s and no evidence of significant original finishes exist. The stairs dating from the 1930s are intact and well detailed..
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Intrusive Elements: The façade below the awning.
Air Conditioned: Yes
Date condition updated:23 Nov 12
Modifications and dates: In 1876, the four storey building was constructed. In 1909, an additional floor was added and the pediment reassembled at the higher level.
In the 1940s, a three storey addition to the rear was constructed, extending the cartway as an eclosed space. At that time, the cartway floor raised with new terrazzo flooring and stair case.
In 1960s, the shopfronts were modified to the current configuration, and current awning added.
1984 Further modifications to the ground floor frontage
Current use: Commercial
Former use: Commercial

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

The original 4 storey section of this building was designed by J F Hilly in 1875, and erected the builder, Mr Eycles in 1876 for Hugh Dixson & Sons, tobacco manufacturers. This company was at that time the leading tobacco manufacturer in the colony. The building was designed as a factory where loose tobacco leaf was stored, processed and converted into plugs and 'figs' of tobacco, and then packed into boxes ready to be despatched to the company's warehouse in York Street. In April 1877 the Town and Country Journal published an illustration of the building and an account of the work of the business. In July 1879 a special issue of the Illustrated Sydney News produced to attract visitors to the Sydney International Exhibition. Included a series of illustrations of Sydney's commercial architecture. Included was Dixson & Sons tobacco factory in Castlereagh Street. The Illustrated Sydney News thought that Dixson's building was "an ornament to that portion of the city, being of the Italian style of architecture, simple and effective." It also commented that the large workforce employed by Messrs Dixson & Sons showed how popular the habit of smoking was in the colonies. Hugh Dixson, founder of Dixson & Sons, died in 1880 and his son, also Hugh Dixson, succeeded him as head of the company. In 1883 he built a massive warehouse and factory on the corner of Elizabeth and Park Streets. The Castlereagh Street business was let to tenants, the first of whom was W W Campbell, furniture manufacturer. In 1891 George Johnson & Sons, leather merchants, took over the building. Johnson & Sons remained as tenants for many years and both the northern and southern walls of the building carry remnant advertising for "Johnson & Sons Ltd, leather and grindery merchants, wholesale and retail. In January 1909 Sydney City Council approved plans for alterations and additions to the premises at 203 Castlereagh Street, designed by Burcham Clamp. The major change involves the addition of a fifth storey.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Porter House is a rare surviving example of a Victorian factory and warehouse in this part of the city. It is important for its association with the Dixson family, prominent in Sydney business, with philanthropic life extending over a number of generations.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Has aesthetic significance locally. Cultural:Porter House is an interesting example of an 1870s Free Classical inner city commercial building, later altered to meet changing demands. The exterior painted signs are an interesting reminder of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century advertising. The building has streetscape significance due to its relatively sympathetic scale in relation to the adjacent St George's Free Presbyterian Church and Scientology House.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The surviving painted advertisements on each side of this building, referring to George Johnson & Sons, long-term tenants, reflect an earlier era of advertising.
Has social significance locally.Porter House is an interesting example of an 1870s Free Classical inner city commercial building, later altered to meet changing demands. The exterior painted signs are an interesting reminder of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century advertising. The building has streetscape significance due to its relatively sympathetic scale in relation to the adjacent St George's Free Presbyterian Church and Scientology House.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Porter House is a rare surviving example of a Victorian factory and warehouse in this part of the city.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The surviving painted advertisements on each side of this building, referring to George Johnson & Sons, long-term tenants, reflect an earlier era of advertising.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

General: The overall form of Porter House, should be retained and conserved. Surfaces intended for painting should continue to be painted in appropriate colours. Exterior: All remaining intact fabric on the external facades should be retained and conserved. Future refurbishment should recover significance by the reconstruction of the façade at ground floor level consistent with documentary evidence the buildin and removal of the awning. As the original building's height forms an important context for the adjacent church, the addition of further floors should not be contemplated. Any future development should preserve the existing form, external surfaces and materials of the façade. Door and window openings should not be enlarged or closed in. Interior: The 1930's stair well should be retained. As the interiors have otherwise been extensively remodelled and there is little of significance remaining inside the building, further alterations could be carried out, provided any future internal work does not compromise further the facades of the buildings. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces (if any remain) should be retained and conserved. The building should be retained and conserved and a a Conservation Management Plan prepared. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I170214 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Sands' Sydney Directories; Sydney City Council Archives: CRS 126 275/16; NSW Land Titles Office: Certificate of Title Vol.2216 Fol.193
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2424180


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