Bridge Road is currently going through rather a slump with many shops closed. It's a little bit sad really but as one of the more successful shop owners said recently "It will come back". She has opened a second one so she must feel confident! And I have to say that the successful shops will 'survive'. The rents for the shops are still exhorbitant - up to $95,000 per annum - you have to sell an awful lot of coffee or cotton Tshirts to even begin to pay the rent - just imagine! So rather than counting the empty shop fronts as you walk up and down why not take your time to stop and read the 'history of Bridge Road' on the various signs dotted along the way.
Bridge Road is actually classified as a heritage area as it dates back to 1837 (the first European settlers arrived just two years earlier). The first land sales were recorded in 1839. The Yarra Council even has a Heritage Walk - click here. I wrote about some of the signs in an earlier post entitled 'The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker' - and here is one (well two actually!) just to give you an example:
|Drapers and Grocers seemed to abound in the 19th century|
But I want to focus on some of the more detailed signs that you will find as you wander along. You will find a sign on the corner of Bridge and Punt Roads (in a little 'park') which really shows the difference between then and now!
|Imagine horse drawn vehicles sloshing through the mud (and droppings!) - loverly!|
The building on the right currently comprises an array of shops including a 7-Eleven, a 'naughty shop' (!) and other equally exciting finds!
|Perhaps a cheap Tshirt shop would be more successful as a 'lolly' shop!|
|Paperhangings, Oils, Colors, Glass - well before trams arrived in Bridge Road!|
As you wander along do stop for a coffee - perhaps try the new 'hot' cafe - Fifty Acres at 65 Bridge Road. It's almost opposite the famed Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder (I wrote earlier about the cheese room - smelly heaven!). It's always fascinating to see how one cafe can be 'hot' when just along the street there is another which is 'not'. I guess you either have the IT factor or you don't. Fifty Acres currently has IT.
Bowen Cottage client comment: Charming, comfy and quirky