Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

From Shoe Factory to Art Gallery to Apartments

The story of Richmond can be told through the history of one of my favourite buildings at 10 Waltham Place, off Church Street. I first knew the building as a rather exotic (in its day!) art gallery. I asked an 'old' Richmondite recently what the building had previously been as I had always thought it was a wool storage facility but apparantly it was a shoe factory?!
Waltham Place - 3 storey apartments with 'workers cottages' in the foreground
It used to be Pinacotheca Gallery - which was the term for an ancient Greek or Roman picture gallery. The final show at Pinacotheca was in 2002 and it was then converted - rather sympathetically in my opinion - into apartments. At the time we all thought that 3-storey apartments would be too difficult (all that climbing) but there is now a plethora of unsympathetic 3-storey 'townhouses' sprouting like weeds in this soon to be ruined suburb. 
Perhaps it is worth climbing 3 flights - look at the view from one of the apartments! (hockingstuart)
I doubt that the shoe factory workers would recognise the inside of their 'factory'
Fortunately I was able to use my favourite Google (!) and there I found the history of 10 Waltham Place in the Australian Heritage Database (view here). I loved part of the story. Henry 'Money' Miller (a prominent landowner and politician - nothing has changed!!) built it in 1881 and it was leased to a local shoe maker - John Bedggood (some of us may still remember Bedggood shoes - if I recall they were mainly school shoes in my day!) The factory was extended in 1890. Bedggood was a prominent member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church which is located on the corner of Waltham Place and Church Street. 
The old Wesleyan Methodist (now Uniting) Church (corner Church Street) looking towards the workers 'cottages' and the shoe factory
The seven 2-story terrace houses next to the 'factory/gallery/apartments' were built to house the workers at the factory - harking back to the days of workers cottages in Britain.
A simple workers cottage at 12 Waltham Place

Would the shoe factory tenants recognise this cottage now?!
What a change Henry 'Money' Miller, John Bedggood et al would see if they returned today. 

Pretty Peppercorn Park opposite the workers cottage - gorgeous

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