Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Johnson's Corner

George Street, the main street of Sydney, was widened in 1911. The Kerry glass-plate negative is undated, but typically, they were taken during the 1880s. It shows George Stree looking north (toward the Quay). The verandah on the left is the building that THEN stood on the corner of George and Grosvenor Streets. At that time it would have been owned by the family of Anthony Hordern. Originally, it was the site of the colony's first military parade ground before The Barracks were constructed on the site now known as Wynyard Station.

In 1909-1910, there was a Royal Commission into the planning of the centre of the city which resulted in the widening of Broadway, Oxford Street, William Street, and George Street. Three commercial buildings were erected along the George Street frontage. The corner building was officially named The Chamber of Commerce building, but everyone called it the Johnson's building because Johson had a draper's shop in the ground floor. The middle building - which I spotlight today - was The Commercial Building. The third building was the second incarnation of The Brooklyn Hotel. You can see the original hotel on the left in the Kerry image.

In the 1980s all but the facades were demolished and the three structures were amalgamated to form single floor tenancies across all three sites. The third Brooklyn Hotel is the ground floor.


Joan Elizabeth said...

To be honest I don't have your eye for seeing the past in the present. But I also don't have the love of the city that you do.

I wonder if the widening was as long and arduous as the widening of the GWH. They say we have only one more year to go!

Julie said...

What I love about "Then & Now" are all the changes to a site over time. I no longer rant and rave about needless destruction. All things pass. Change is constant. The world is in flux continually. What I do like is finding out the layers of time for city blocks. Fascinates me.

The widening of the streets was VERY quick. They resumed, paid peanuts, demolished and rebuilt. All in under two years.

Tahiti Daily Photo said...

As Joan, I don't have your talent for seeing these things.

William Kendall said...

It's curious, looking at the facades against that glass. It reminds me of a similar structure here.

Julie said...

William, I think that Australia and Canada are remarkably similar in some respects.