Former "Mark Foy's Emporium" Including Interiors and Forecourt | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Former "Mark Foy's Emporium" Including Interiors and Forecourt

Item details

Name of item: Former "Mark Foy's Emporium" Including Interiors and Forecourt
Other name/s: Mark Foys Piazza Store; Sydney Downing Centre
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Retail and Wholesale
Category: Department Store
Location: Lat: -33.8789577192559 Long: 151.207865208904
Primary address: 143-147 Liverpool Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
143-147 Liverpool StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address
302 Castlereagh StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address
Elizabeth StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The former Mark Foys building is historically significant through its associations with the Foy family and the development of retailing in Australia. Its location is a physical reminder of the former retail core of the City which extended to Railway Square, and included the Anthony Hordern store (now demolished) and the Marcus Clarke stores. The store was a focus of City life for over half a century. The building is also associated with prominent architects of its time, McCredie & Anderson and H E Ross & Rowe. The former Mark Foys building is aesthetically significant as a high point of department store architecture in Australia for its time. It contains many fine examples of design and craftsmanship, including the moulded terracotta external elements, mosaic tiled and terrazzo floors, gilded brass surrounds to show windows, decorative plaster ceilings and wrought iron balustrading. The use of white glazed brick and yellow/orange glazed terracotta is a rare example of the extensive use of these early20th century building materials, and the unusual and distinctive facade and piazza continue to be a landmark in Sydney. The building is a strong element in the streetscape at the corner of Hyde Park. The building also has technical significance as an early and technically innovative reinforced concrete flat plate structure, and represents an early instance of facade retention and sympathetic additions.
Date significance updated: 06 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: McCredie and Anderson (original), H E Ross & Rowe (1928 additions), DPWS (1991)
Builder/Maker: Douzans Bros (original), Concrete Constructions Ltd (additions)
Construction years: 1909-1909
Physical description: The former Mark Foys building occupies most of the block bounded by Elizabeth, Liverpool and Castlereagh Streets. It displays an eclectic mix of styles from the early years of the 20th century. The arrangement of shopfronts and windows is reminiscent of similar buildings in Chicago, while the truncated pyramid roofs at corners and steeply gabled pediments recall French Second Empire design. The building has a sandstone base, with a broad terrazzo piazza at the northern end, under a large awning. Similar awnings, with pressed metal soffits, extend along Elizabeth and Castlereagh Streets, with large metal-framed show windows beneath. The facade above the awning is of white glazed brick decorated with yellow faience, and has large bronze framed windows. Integral mosaic tiled signs along the Elizabeth Street facade advertise the products once for sale. The roofscape is dominated by the corner towers, clad in green tiles, and gabled parapet. Internally, notable features are the mosaic tiled and terrazzo floors, decorative plaster ceilings and column capitals, and the glass chandelier above the circular stair. The interior of the building now contains several courtrooms as well as facilities for witnesses, juries and people in custody. Category:Individual Building. Style:Inter-War Chicagoesque. Storeys:6 plus basement. Facade:Glazed brick, Glazed terracotta tiles, Bronze frame windows. Side/Rear Walls:Glazed brick, Glazed terracotta tiles. Internal Walls:Plastered brick. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Reinf. conc. Columns. Floor:Reinf. conc. Slab. Roof:Reinf. conc. Slab. Ceilings:Decorative plaster, Susp. plasterbd.. Stairs:4, 3 original. Fire Stairs:Yes. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:5. One original landing door has been reused as a decorative panel. AirConditioned:Yes.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally intact and in good condition. The original chandelier has been relocated above a new circular stair. Intrusive Elements:Rooftop additions, fabric concealing original well.
Date condition updated:06 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1909 (original), 1928 (additions), 1991 (refurbishment)
Further information: High Significance:Overall form, scale and character of the building, façade (except for modern additions) including awning and piazza, mosaic tiled pavement lights, internal structure, remnants of original Museum Railway tunnel, preserved original fabric internally including terrazzo and mosaic tiled floors, plaster decorations, western stairs, wrought iron balustrades. Medium Significance:Reproductions of original fabric externally and internally, original fabric reused in new locations (eg chandelier). Low Significance:Rooftop additions, modern fitout and services, new spiral stair below chandelier.

Was a heritage item in 1989 and remains an item to the present.

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: Courthouse
Former use: Retail, Commercial Office

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 )

Mark Foy’s Liverpool Street store was a Sydney landmark for eight decades after 1909. Mark Foy himself was, however, twenty-four years dead when his son Francis erected the building. Francis had come to Sydney from Melbourne after his father’s death in 1884, leased premises in Oxford Street with his brother Mark Jr and early in the twentieth century bought up the fifteen properties which occupied most of the block bounded by Liverpool, Castlereagh, Elizabeth and Goulburn Streets. The existing buildings on the first three streets were demolished in 1907 and the new building, two or three stories high, designed by McCredie and Anderson, opened in 1909. It had Sydney’s first escalator, the Escalier Hoquart, and first car delivery service. The inspiration for the building, though not its detail, seems to have been the Bon Marche in Paris (a connection commemorated still by UTS in its other former Foy building). Many contractors and suppliers were involved in the new store. The distinctive yellow faience brickwork outside was imported from Bermotoff in Yorkshire, the white glazed bricks from Shaw’s Rigg in Glasgow.

Mark Foy’s became a limited company in 1909 and the brothers Francis and Mark jr devoted more time to sport, horse-racing, motoring and, in the case of Mark, the Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath. H.V. Foy, another brother, managed the firm after Francis’ full retirement in 1914.

Massive extensions and alterations were made to the store in 1927-1930, designed by Ross and Rowe, creating an eight-storey building. The display windows around the piazza and the upper level ballroom were celebrated features of the renovated store. A planned extension to the south to create a Goulburn Street frontage was not fully achieved before the Depression of the 1930s prevented further building, except for the Castlereagh Street entrance, associated with the Museum underground railway station.

In 1968 the Foy company was taken over by McDowell’s, who were in turn absorbed by Walton’s in 1972, but the store retained its name until Grace Bros leased it from the AMP Co. in 1980 and closed the store in 1983. Already in the 1970s courts of justice had begun to use the upper floors and in 1983 a government committee recommended a multi-court complex, with 16 new court-rooms in the Foy building. The new complex, named after Reginald Downing, a former state Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, was opened by the Premier, Mr Greiner, in 1991.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The former Mark Foys building is associated with the Foy family and the development of retailing in Australia. Its location is a physical reminder of the former retail core of the City which extended to Railway Square, and included the Anthony Hordern store (now demolished) and the Marcus Clarke stores. The store was a focus of City life for over half a century. Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The former Mark Foys building represented a high point of department store architecture in Australia. It contains many fine examples of design and craftsmanship, including the moulded terracotta external elements, mosaic tiled and terrazzo floors, gilded brass surrounds to show windows, decorative plaster ceilings and wrought iron balustrading. The building is a strong element in the streetscape at the corner of Hyde Park.

The building has an early and technically innovative reinforced concrete flat plate structure, and represents an early instance of facade retention and sympathetic additions. Has aesthetic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The use of white glazed brick and yellow/orange glazed terracotta is a rare example of the extensive use of these early20th century building materials. The unusual and distinctive facade and piazza are unique in Sydney.
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 building should be retained and conserved, and should continue to be used for purposes which allow its original fabric and spaces to be appreciated and interpreted. An up-to-date Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. Exterior: The exterior of the building should be retained and conserved. In future, as funds permit, the intrusive elements at roof level should be further adapted to reduce their visual impact on the roofscape. The Museum tunnel should be conserved. Interior: Significant elements within the interior of the building should be retained and conserved. When changes are made to the building interir in future to suit changing needs, opportunities should be explored to recover more of the significant spaces, in particular the central 9-bay well as a more appropriate setting for the chandelier. Areas of lesser significance which have been adapted in the past could continue to be adapted in the future provided that significant fabric and spaces, and the exterior of the building, are not adversely affected. Interpretive material should continue to be displayed in the building.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I185414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenC. Close1972‘Foy, Mark’, Australian Dictionary of Biography 4, Carlton 1972, 211
WrittenG.P. Walsh1981‘Foy, Francis and Mark’, Australian Dictionary of Biography 8, Carlton 1981, 570-1
WrittenJean Rice for Historic Buildings Group, Public Works Department1982The Mark Foy's building : Liverpool Street, Sydney : conservation study The Mark Foy's building : Liverpool Street, Sydney : conservation study by Rice, Jean.

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

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2424126


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