Former Warehouse Including Interiors | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Former Warehouse Including Interiors

Item details

Name of item: Former Warehouse Including Interiors
Other name/s: Kent House, Spanish Club
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8777381159927 Long: 151.204656838443
Primary address: 88 Liverpool Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
88 Liverpool StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Spanish Club, 88 Liverpool Street is significant as an unusually tall Federation warehouse of traditional loadbearing construction. It has aesthetic significance as an imposing element in Liverpool Street and because of its bold facade with fenestration presaging the Chicagoesque style. It has historical significance as a representative of the turn-of-the-century warehouses once abounding in this part of Sydney. This is one of the tallest warehouses to employ the traditional system of internal timber post-and-beam structure while exhibiting characteristics of framed construction such as full-width windows. It has additional historical significance as an example of the work of the eminent firm of architects Kent & Budden, the principals of which both served as presidents of the RAIA. It has technical significance as a rare example of an unusually tall building having a traditional timber internal structure and for its early use of metal framed windows. The building has social significance as an identified gathering place for Spaniards in Sydney and as a place for the dissemination of Spanish culture to the broader community generally.
Date significance updated: 14 Sep 12
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.


Designer/Maker: Kent and Budden
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1912-1912
Physical description: The Spanish Club is a substantial eight storey former warehouse. The club reception area and bar are at street level, the restaurant on the first floor and club offices and recreational facilities above. The building is constructed with loadbearing brick perimeter walls and an internal structure of timber posts, girders and joists. The facade is designed in four bays, the two in the centre being wider than those on the flank. The metal frame windows of the centre bays are notably wide, while those of the flanking bays are paired and timber double-hung. The ground and first floors are faced with axe-faced trachyte on a polished base with the main entrance under its own entablature in the west bay. The upper facade is in red-brown face brickwork with the main entablature above the sixth floor, the seventh treated as an attic, and the eighth a mansard with south lights and decorative dormers. The lift tower in the west bay extends to a higher level. Category:Individual Building. Style:Federation Warehouse/Incipient Chicagoesque. Storeys:8 + Mansard. Facade:Face brickwork; trachyte; cement render; steel & timber windows. Side/Rear Walls:Face and common brickwork. Internal Walls:Plaster and plasterboard on studs and furring; some plastered brick. Roof Cladding:Corrugated iron. Internal Structure:Timber posts and beams; some brick walls. Floor:Timber joists and flooring. Roof:Timber: Trusses and mansard rafter construction. Ceilings:Plaster and plasterboard on framing. Stairs:Concrete, enclosed, modern. Lifts:One, modern, possibly in original brick wall..
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
This is one of the tallest warehouses to employ the traditional system of internal timber post-and-beam structure while exhibiting characteristics of framed construction such as full-width windows. On the east side there are some high windows and the name KENT HOUSE in large raised lettering. Internally, the mansard roof construction is partially visible above the eighth floor. Intrusive Elements:Air-conditioning units and exhaust fans in window openings. Advertising signs above ground floor windows. Infilling of Kent House entrance. Alterations at Spanish Club entrance.
Date condition updated:05 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1912 (Information Project Co-ordinator)
Further information: High Significance: The overall form of the building, mansard roof form, the Liverpool Street façade, the original façade elements with fenestration suggestive of the Chicagoesque style. Intrenal structure consisting of timber posts, girders, joists and timber flooring. Steel framed windows.' Kent House' sign at the top of the east elevation. East, south and west facades.

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: Club Facilities and Offices
Former use: Warehouse


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.

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 )

This building was designed in 1910-11 by Kent & Budden, one of Sydney's leading firms of architects, for Mr Frank Grimley, who had purchased the property from the Bank of Australasia in 1911. His company manufactured harness and saddlery, and important carriage ware. Some of the working drawings by Kent & Budden, survive in the Council's archives. They were approved in 1910. The building was most likely occupied in 1912. Although approval was given for `an office block' in Kent House for C. E. Waters & Co. Ltd in 1913, it is not known if the changes took place or the association of the company with the building. In the 1960s the building was converted to use as the Spanish Club and has been a centre for the Spanish community since that time.

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
It is one of the largest of many warehouse buildings erected around the turn of the nineteenth century, originally in the vicinity of the wharf area of the city. These buildings characterise an important phase of Sydney's history when goods were transported by horse-drawn vehicles and hydraulic lifts and hoists. Has historic significance locally.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is an imposing element in the Liverpool Street streetscape which has an unusually tall and powerfully scaled facade treatment. Although the building a Federation Warehouse in style, the full-width metal framed windows in the centre bays and some stripped Classical detailing, give the composition an interesting transitional Chicagoesque character. It is one of the tallest Federation warehouse structures to have loadbearing brick perimeter walls and an internal construction of timber posts, girders, joists and flooring. The two centre bays of the facade represent an early use of metal framed windows. Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Has cultural significance locally. Cultural:It is an example of the work of one of Sydney's leading firms of architects Kent & Budden, the principals of which both served as presidents of the RAIA.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Located at the centre of the Spanish quarter of Sydney, this recreation club, established in the 1960s, provided the impetus for the location of restaurants and bars which reflect a Spanish cultural influence. In addition to operating as a public restaurant, the club remains an identified gathering place for Spaniards in Sydney and a place where Spanish culture is disseminated generally. Has social significance locally.It is an example of the work of one of Sydney's leading firms of architects Kent & Budden, the principals of which both served as presidents of the RAIA. Has cultural significance locally.
SHR Criteria f)
It is one of the tallest Federation warehouse structures to have a traditional timber internal structure, and is associated with the early use of metal framed windows.
SHR Criteria g)
It is representative of the turn-of-the-century warehouses once abounding in this part of 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:

Prior to any development proposal, a Conservation Management Plan should be undertaken for the site. The general form, scale and facade configuration of the Spanish Club building should be retained. The opportunities for even a minor addition are extremely limited given the significant mansard windows, the highly significant timber structure of the building and the significant roof form and generally are not to be encouraged. The facades, the signifcant interiors, the timber structure of the building, the existing mansard windows the existing significant roof form should not be altered in any way except as noted about the ground floor. Research on the original fabric of missing elements is necessary prior to its reinstatement. The brickwork and arched doorway and canopy configuration of the new entrance to the Spanish Club should be replaced in a more sympathetic design when the opportunity arises. The brick infils and aluminium framed windows at ground floor level should be removed and replaced by base walling and shopfront assemblies that interpret the original design at ground floor level, utilising high quality materials consistent with the period and style of the building such as bronze. If no evidence of the original street frontage is available, this design should be based on buildings of a comparable style and period. The steel-framed windows on the floors above ground floor should be retained. If replacement becomes necessary, new steel windows should replicate the original windows. The original entrance should be reused, and a more complementary doorway introduced. Original or early brick surfaces and details, stone facings and details, cement render, and timber window frames and sashes should be conserved and appropriately maintained. Previously unpainted surfaces and details such as face brickwork and trachyte, should not be painted. Previously painted surfaces should continue to be painted in traditional colours. Air-conditioning units and exhaust grilles should be removed from window openings. The Kent House sign in raised lettering on the east facade should remain visible and be conserved. Advertising signs should not be permitted on the building. Interior: There is some minor scope for further adaptation of the interior provided this does not involve removal of the original timber post and beam structure and the appreciation of the former warehouse space is retained. Original structural elements should remain visible.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I185114 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  SCC Assessment Books
Written  City of Sydney Council Street Cards;
Written  Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol 9, p124.
Written  Sands Directories;
Written   SCC Building Survey Cards;
Written  Sydney Cityscope;
Written  Certificate of Title Volume 937 Folio 272; FP67498; FP939701;
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: 2424178

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