Strand Arcade | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Strand Arcade

Item details

Name of item: Strand Arcade
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Retail and Wholesale
Category: Shopping/retail complex
Location: Lat: -33.8694129755 Long: 151.2076264880
Primary address: 195 - 197 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP580910
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
195 - 197 Pitt StreetSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address
412-414 George StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Ipoh Management Services Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

Designed in restrained Classic revival style, it is probably the finest of Sydney's shopping arcades built in the Victorian period, and the only one that has not been radically altered. It is the only surviving pre-1960 arcade. It is a rare building type within Sydney and Australia. The best known work of Spencer and Fairfax, it adapted several favourite continental designs, the object being to achieve strength with elegance (Sydney Mail 10/09/1892).

It reflects the importance of Pitt Street and George Street as the premier retail precinct in Sydney. It is a significant component in the late Victorian/early twentieth century streetscape of George and Pitt Streets and contributes to one of the most substantial groups of late Victorian commercial buildings in the CBD. It has the potential to continue in its current use following several restorations after fires, the most recent in 1976 and 1980.

The Strand Arcade is one of Sydney's best known and loved buildings and is significant for the continuity of occupation and uses. The building contains significant examples of late nineteenth century building construction including the lift well structure, cast iron structural framing, cast iron roof trusses, coke breeze floors and tessellated ceramic tiles. (NT 2002)
Date significance updated: 23 Aug 04
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: John.B. Spencer assisted by Charles E. Fairfax
Builder/Maker: Bignell and Clark (1891); Stephenson & Turner (1976)
Construction years: 1890-1892
Physical description: The arcade is the longest of the Victorian arcades extending 340 feet between George and Pitt Streets with a basement originally containing shops reached by stairs in the ground floor concourse.

The Strand has three storeys - consisting of an enclosed arcade on each side of a concourse served by cantilevered access galleries, with five storey connections at both street fronts.

Bridges across the concourse link the upper floors. The glass roof was especially designed to reduce glare for the photographic studios on the upper levels.

Constructed of stuccoed brick with cast iron roof structure, cantilevered galleries, cast iron and carved balustrades, and timber framed shopfronts, the arcade looks like a row of Victorian terraces with cast -iron balconies. Neo-classical fluted cast iron columns, and elaborate traceries of ornamental lacework cast delicate shadows in the sunlight from the vast glass panelled roof.

The concourse lighting consisted of chandeliers suspended from the crown of the roof trusses and lit by fifty gas and fifty electric lamps in each. Some of the light fittings, which still exist, were designed by the architect.

Following the 1976 and 1980 fires, large portions of the interior were reconstructed to match the original in appearance, with an upgrade of materials for fireproofing concealed under traditional materials. Some of the original fabric remains as fragments. The two suspended type hydraulic lifts were repaired, the golden cast iron balustrades were copied and the cedar baluster posts were made to match the handcrafted originals. Tessellated tiles, stained glass and cedar stairs and shopfronts were adapted from the original designs. (NT 2002)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good physical condition following restoration works in 1976, and 1980. (NT 2002)
Date condition updated:23 Aug 04
Modifications and dates: 1976, 1980
Current use: Retail
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lots

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

Shopping Arcades:
The Victorian arcades provided much needed shopping frontage and pedestrian space at a time when Sydney had developed streets running south from Circular Quay with relatively few cross streets linking them. The arcades also provided shelter for pedestrians and goods from harsh sun and heavy rain as street awnings were not yet in use. Thomas Rowe designed the first two arcades: the Sydney and Royal Arcades in 1881 and 1882, and in 1891 proposed the Imperial Arcade. In 1887-88, Rowe's former assistant C.A. Harding built the Victoria Arcade.

The Strand Arcade, the finest and longest (340 feet) of all the arcades was built in 1890-1892 by Bignell and Clark, designed by John B. Spencer an English architect who had come to Australia in 1883 in association with Charles E Fairfax. Its lighter neo-classical fluted columns, delicate ironwork and carved balustrades contrasted with Rowe's heavier more stolid designs.

The opening of the arcade was a grand affair with over 600 invitees. It was described as a "well designed modern arcade" with "first class shops" (SMH , 2/04/1892). The style was described by the Sydney Mail (10/09/1892) as an adaptation of several continental designs with the aim to achieve strength and elegance. The richly tiled floor became a favourite fashionable promenade.

Several fires caused considerable damage, especially that of May 1976, which damaged the George Street end especially. The ensuing sympathetic restoration by Prudential Assurance in 1976-1978 included the restoration of the two hydraulic lifts, laying of a new tiled floor, the copying of the golden cast-iron balustrades, and reproductions matching of the original hand-carved cedar baluster posts. The restoration work also removed additions, which had spoiled the original design.

The arcade continues as a first class shopping arcade with long term tenants. (NTA (NSW), 2002).

The Strand Arcade celebrated its 125th anniversary in August 2016 with a series of events and offers for customers. Retailers hosted free tasters, pop-up stalls, designer appearances and The Balvenie whisky tasting station. The events recreate the energy of a majestic Victorian arcade over a three day period, with a range of special deals, demonstrations. The complex will also launch the seventh volume of its '1891' magazine this week (Sydney Central Mag,, 24/8/2016).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Retailing-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing Commercial Enterprise-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Operating market and retail complexes-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing discrete retail and commercial areas-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban to urban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Early Sydney Street-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of urban estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Commercial store, shop-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Suburban Consolidation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing private towns-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Beautifying towns and villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in urban settings-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in shops and stores-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (mid)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1850-1900-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in suburbia-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going shopping-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Bignall and Clark, builders-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John B. Spencer, English architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Charles Fairfax, newspaper family publisher-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Strand is the only remaining example of Victorian arcade construction and style in Sydney, linking Victorian and modern Sydney retail history. Although over 100 years old it retains a light and airy atmosphere in keeping with modern usage.

The pedestrian-only precinct planning principle, and its design reveals European influences interpreted in an Australian context.

The arcade was considered a fashionable promenade. Over 600 people were invited to its opening in 1892 and very few failed to attend this event.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Strand Arcade is associated with J. B. Spencer & G E Fairfax, European architectural design influences in Australia and long-term tenants such as Coombs Bootmakers, Margo Richards Antiques (25 years) and the engraving kiosk (42 years). (NT 2002)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The light and airy feeling was considered remarkable in contrast to Rowe's heavier designs in the context of the Sydney Victorian arcades.

The Strand retains this aesthetic quality through the ornamental lacework panels, fluted columns and natural light. The Strand Arcade was considered the finest of the Victorian arcades in Sydney at the time of construction and still retains a reputation for good design. The balustrades, brackets and roof construction showed great skill and workmanship. Much attention was given to detail: light fittings were designed by the architect, even the sanitary appliances were given much attention. (NT 2002)

The Strand Arcade is a fine example of the work of J.B.Spencer & Fairfax 1891-2. (NT 2002)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Strand Arcade has been promoted as a tourist visit since its construction. It is valued by Sydneysiders and visitors as a beautiful arcade with high quality shops. (NT 2002)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Strand was the longest of the Victorian arcades (340 feet).
The lighting for the concourse consisted of chandeliers, suspended from the crown of roof trusses, and each containing fifty gas and fifty electric lamps.
The glass roof panels were tinted to filter the light for the upper storey photographic studios. (NT 2002)
The conservation work undertaken in the late 20th century can provide physical evidence of heritage building conservation philosophy and practice of the time.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Strand was the finest, longest and is now the only surviving intact Victorian arcade in Sydney. (NT 2002)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
One of five Victorian arcades in Sydney built to provide a pedestrian precinct and to protect goods and pedestrians from weather. (NT 2002)
The conservation works following fires in 1976 and 1980 are representative of conservation practice of the period.
Integrity/Intactness: The arcade is still used as a retail pedestrian precinct.
The Pitt Street end retains its original walls, doors and fittings
The 1976-1977 restoration copied original designs. Cast iron balustrades and cedar balusters were handcrafted after original designs, and the two hydraulic lifts were restored. (NT 2002)
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions 1. Existing and pending approved development:
i) DA Pending : Ground Floor Shop 30A Tresors 13.1 sqm - existing tenancy to undergo fitout upgrade
ii) DA to be lodged : Ground Floor Shop 21 Coomb's Shoe Repair 25.4 sqm - existing tenancy to undergo fitout upgrade
iii) Replacement / upgrade of Common Area directional signage

2. Minor modification to development consents listed at 1, provided the Director of the Heritage Branch is satisfied that:
a) the proposed works are substantially the same as the development for which the consent was originally granted, before any modifications to that consent
b) The Director has been notified in writing of the works proposed to be undertaken under this exemption prior to the commencement of works and has provided written confirmation that the works are exempt.

3. Changes to operating hours

4. Installation of temporary hoardings when facades are undergoing maintenance or conservation

5. Maintenance of, or minor changes to, external awnings

6. Changes to or development of roof access platforms

7. Non-structural works having no effect on heritage fabric: to back-of-house interiors, including management offices, service or support areas, store rooms, security rooms and plant rooms.

8. Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and waste services maintenance and essential upgrades: within the building envelope, within light wells and on the roof top within the envelope of the existing plant, including roof exhaust fans, and associated support ductwork

9. Upgrade of mechanical equipment relating to lifts

10. Refurbishment of bathrooms

11. All non-structural tenancy fitout works and changes of use that comply with the current version of the Strand Arcade Design and Fitout Guide endorsed by City of Sydney.

12. Removal or replacement of non-original inter-tenancy walls or portions thereof

13. Removal or replacement of non-original inter-tenancy staircases

14. Repair of deteriorated base building timber floors to match existing

15. Internal retail tenancy merchandising not affecting original fabric

16. Replacement of tenancy blade signage inserts

17. All non-structural fitout works to the George and Pitt Street towers

18. Changes to seating, waiting stations, reception desks, boundary units, floor coverings and table arrangements on all levels

19. Removal or replacement of non-original signs, fittings, furnishings and finishes

20. Work or changes to interior non-original fittings and furnishings with no effect on remnant heritage fabric identified in the Conservation Analysis and Guidelines document prepared by Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners, dated 1995

21. Installation, removal and replacement of temporary internal lighting, signs and decorations, such as flags, rigging, banners, art installations, merchandising, Christmas trees and associated decorations

22. Replacement of non-reproduction light fittings with gasolier-type fittings in keeping with those already installed and with the character of the building

23. Repair of deteriorated non-original tessellated tiles to match existing

24. Replacement of linoleum finishes

25. Temporary events such as fashion parades and product launches having no effect on building fabric
Dec 13 2011
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales do by this Order, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0186413 Dec 11 1257137&7138

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd1995Strand Arcade Conservation Plan
WrittenSydney Central Mag2016'Arcade marking 125 years with tasters and events'
WrittenThe National Trust of Australia (NSW), Julie Blyth2002State Heritage Register nomination - State Heritage Inventory form

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5050662
File number: S90/05312, 11/05819


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