Scots Church Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Scots Church Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Scots Church Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Church
Location: Lat: -33.8662640715185 Long: 151.204661301285
Primary address: 42-44 Margaret Street (And 2 York Street), Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
42-44 Margaret Street (And 2 York Street)SydneySydney  Primary Address
2 York StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Scots Church is a six storey building of Inter war Gothic style. Scots Church has exceptional historic importance for its ability to embody the longevity of the association of this site with the Presbyterial Church. As well as recalling the early nineteenth-century history of this area as Church Hill, the building also has a powerful ability to reflect the impact made on the city by the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The building is important in the professional work of the noted architectural partnership of Rosenthal, Rutledge and Beattie. The building is architecturally significant as a rare and outstanding example of a highly intact original commercial Gothic exterior and an interior of high quality design with outstanding potential, due to its intact condition, to be maintained in its original state. The building is well resolved in its detailing in both its interior and exterior, and is particularly noted for its unique auditorium design. The building is aesthetically significant for its contribution as a landmark building to the Wynyard Square streetscape. It is also significant as the winner of the 1927 competition judged by N Weekes. The building is socially significant as a popular venue for both ecclesiastical and secular activities, over many years. The Assembly Hall has considerable social importance for its contribution to the cultural diversity of the city.
Date significance updated: 13 Jan 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Rosenthal, Rutledge & Beattie
Builder/Maker: Beat Bros.
Construction years: 1929-1929
Physical description: Scots Church, located opposite Wynyard Park, diagonally opposite St Phillip's Church, has three main components: The Assembly Hall, secondary meeting halls and offices for use by the church, and office space for general leasing. The Assembly Hall is a large, two storey, elliptical space of unique design located in the middle of the building and occupying the full width of the site. The facade is designed in Gothic style with ashlar sandstone and a granite base. It comprises five floors with a raised central section of six floors on the north and south facade. The long elevation is divided into three bays separated by recessed courts. Each bay is divided into three divisions. The lower two floors have arched windows with the recessed bays marked by pediments. The upper facade comprises a series of tripartite flathead windows, with bay divisions expressed by buttresses. Gothic detailing in the form of gargoyles, quatrefoil tracery, and sandstone proliferate.
Category:Individual Building. Style:Inter-War Gothic. Storeys:6. Facade:Sandstone, Granite cladding. Side/Rear Walls:Sandstone, Granite cladding. Internal Walls:Face brick, Sandstone, Plaster brick, Timber glass partitions. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane covered in a concrete wearing slab.. Internal Structure:Conc. encased steel frame. Floor:Reinf. conc. slabs. Roof:Reinf. conc. slab. Ceilings:Set plaster on framing, decorative plaster with leadlights in Assembly Hall. Stairs:4 - Internal stairs clad in terrazzo. Entrance steps granite. Fire Stairs:4. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:5 - Lift cars and gates are of considerable rarity. Airconditioned: Yes.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building has survived virtually intact with the lifts, finishes and general fabric in original but badly maintained condition. The external and internal detailing to the foyers, stairwell lifts, and office areas are largely intact although in poor condition. There is considerable growth of algae to the facade and acid rain has leached out the materials binding the stone together. The alignment of the masonry has been disrupted in the light courts which could have serious implications to the remainder of the building. The lifts are in poor working order, but original condition. Intrusive Elements:The sixth floor addition.
Date condition updated:13 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: c. 1929
Further information: High Significance:All the intact original fabric of the north, west and south facade except the recessed lightwells. All the facade finished in particular the elaborate Gothic detailing. all the intact original fabric o the interior of the Auditorium and Hall of Remembrance. Medium Significance:All the intact original fabric of the interior of the stairs and the lift lobbies. Low Significance:Any remaining interior spaces.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Church, Offices
Former use: Church, Offices

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. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

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

Scots Church is located in a part of the city known historically as Church Hill; an important place in Sydney's fabric from the foundation of European settlement. The colony's first church, the Anglican church of St Philip's, was built on this hill in the 1790s. A Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built near the hill in the 1820s and the foundation stone for the original Scots Church was laid in July 1824. It was the first Presbyterial church erected in the city, founded by John Dunmore Lang who had arrived in the colony in 1823. On the northern side of Church Hill St Patrick's, the Roman Catholic church was built in the 1840s. Between 1926 and 1929 the NSW Government resumed both the Scot's Church and the church offices in York Street for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge roadworks and Wynyard Station. A complex series of real estate transactions, land swaps and compensation agreements enabled the Presbyterian Church to reconstruct their church and offices on the original but enlarged site, facing both Lang and Wynyard Parks, with frontages to Jamieson, York and Margaret Streets. An architectural competition was held in 1927 for designs for a new Presbyterian Assembly Hall and associated offices. The brief called for a building which would be a monument appropriate to the universal character and inherent nobility of Presbyterianism; a material consummation of the church's pioneer efforts in this new world of Australia, and an appreciation of the substance and vitality which actuate the church towards problems of the future. Twenty-seven designs were submitted in the first stage of the competition and were judged by Norman Weekes. The winning design was selected in May 1928 but it was not until April 1929 that tenders were called and work commenced on the site in July 1929. On completion the Church and Assembly Hall became a popular venue for both ecclesiastic and secular activities.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Scots Church has exceptional historic importance for its ability to embody the longevity of the association of this site with the Presbyterian Church. As well as recalling the early nineteenth-century history of this area as Church Hill, the building also has a powerful ability to reflect the impact made on the city by the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The building is important in the professional work of the noted architectural partnership of Rosenthal, Rutledge and Beattie.
Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This building is significant for its innovative use of technology in the stone fixing. Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Has aesthetic significance locally. Cultural:The building is a rare and outstanding example of a highly intact original commercial Gothic exterior and an interior of high quality design with outstanding potential, due to its intact condition, to be maintained in its original state. The building is particularly noted for its unique auditorium design. The building is significant for its contribution as a landmark building to the Wynyard Square streetscape. It is also significant as the winner of the 1927 competition judged by N Weekes.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As a popular venue for both ecclesiastical and secular activities, over many years, the Assembly Hall has considerable social importance for its contribution to the cultural diversity of the city. Has social significance at a State level.The building is a rare and outstanding example of a highly intact original commercial Gothic exterior and an interior of high quality design with outstanding potential, due to its intact condition, to be maintained in its original state. The building is particularly noted for its unique auditorium design. The building is significant for its contribution as a landmark building to the Wynyard Square streetscape. It is also significant as the winner of the 1927 competition judged by N Weekes.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The building is a rare and outstanding example of a highly intact original commercial gothic\exterior and an interior of high quality design with outstanding potential, due to its intact condition, to be restored with minimum effort. It is well resolved in its detailing to both its interior and exterior and is particularly noted for its unique auditorium design.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The building is significant for its contribution as a landmark building to TheYork Street streetscape.
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 Scots Church should be retained and conserved and continue to provide meeting rooms for the church. The existing conservation plan should be updated as required and used to guide the future use and maintenance of the place. Finishes never intended for painting such as the stone and granite facade and interior timber joinery remain unpainted and continue to be appropriately maintained. Surfaces intended for painting such as the timber windows should continue to be painted in appropriate colours. Exterior: All remaining intact fabric on the external facades with the exception of the sixth floor should be retained and conserved. Future refurbishment should recover significance by restoring the existing finishes which are currently badly maintained. As the original building was proposed to be one hundred and fifty feet the addition of further floors to the building may be acceptable. Any additional floors should be designed to reinforce the commercial Gothic appearance of the original in a contemporary manner. Any vertical extension to the building should not negatively impact significant interiors. Any future development should preserve the existing form, external surfaces and materials of the facade. Door and window openings should not be enlarged or closed in. Interior: All remaining intact fabric on the interior such as the Auditorium and Hall of Remembrance, stair wells and lift lobbies should be retained and conserved. Elsewhere where the original interiors are minimal in detail further alterations may be acceptable provided the work does not compromise further the facades of the building and the significant interior spaces. The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the fa├žade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I188414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1928Sydney Morning Herald 29.5.1928 p.11;
Written 1928Sydney Morning Herald 9.5.1928 p.14;
Written 1928Sydney Morning Herald 31.5.1928 p.6;
Written  Building 12.6.1928 pp.6?-74;
Written  Building 12.7.1928 p.42 (illus);
Written  Building 12.6.1929 p.47;
Written  Building 12.11.1929 p.39 (ad);
Written   Sydney Morning Herald 26.11.1929 p.7;
Written  Sydney Morning Herald 14.9.1927 p.11;
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenGodden Mackay1995Statement of Heritage Impact for Scots Church
WrittenIncoll Group2000Statement of Heritage Impact: Scots Church
WrittenJohn Graham1992Conservation Plan for Scots Church

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: 2423854


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