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|