Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Hyde Park - the widening of College Street

To take this shot, I am standing about where the steam shovel is working in the second B&W shot. I am facing north. Ironically, the width of the relatively new cycle lane is about how much College Street was widened in c. 1930.

The foundation stone for Sydney College (later to be incorporated as Sydney Grammar School) was laid - by the Chief Justice Sir Francis Forbes - in January 1830, and College Street itself was created in 1832. Your imagination tells you that it was a rutted, dirt track for horses and gigs pushed up beside the eastern perimeter of Hyde Park. A decade after Wentworth Avenue was ploughed through the houses on the southern side of Liverpool/Oxford Streets - in abt 1912 - College Street was widened for the first time. It was widened again in the early '30s.

Looking SW over Hyde Park South towards Liverpool Street from roof of building at corner of College Street and Francis Street (1930s)(Courtesy of City of Sydney).
Note the balagan of building design on the southern side of Liverpool Street, where, not all that earlier, stood the elegant Lyons Terraces.

But everything in this Sydney 'hood was in upheaval from 1919 until about March 1932. The findings of the "Royal Commission for the Improvement of the City of Sydney and its Suburbs, 1909" were gradually implemented. Design competitions were held for both an underground railway system, and a bridge to span the harbour. Hyde Park was deemed to be the home for two stations on the "city circle" underground: St James, and Museum. Regular services commenced at each of these stations in December, 1926. From 1919 until 1927, the vast majority of Hyde Park was excavated.

These trwo shots show the 1930 terrain as it is in 2015.
Left: Looking south
Right: Looking north

The southern end of the park was beginning to return to some degree of normalcy as 1926 progressed, and a competition was held for the redesign of the park, which was ostensibly won by Norman Weekes, even though the committee only implemented parts of Weekes' design. They at least went ahead with the ANZAC War Memorial, and the Archibald Fountain.

Looking SW over Hyde Park South towards Liverpool Street from roof of building at corner of College Street and Stanley Street (1930s)(Courtesy of City of Sydney
This shot was taken a few months later, and fron one street further down College Street.

And so to the widening of College Street from about 1926 - 1932. It was part of the Weekes redesign of the decimated park, and occurred as the ANZAC Memorial was nearing completion.


William Kendall said...

Such amazing change in your city over the decades. My eyes get drawn to those spires in the first shot.

Jim said...

I like that sneaky shot towards the cathedral.

Gemma Wiseman said...

I have never seen a cycle lane with a raised border - separating cyclists and cars. What a grand idea. Love this mix of past and present views. So intriguing.