Ritz Hotel, St Kilda

Original post 1 May 2020

The Ritz Hotel in #FitzroyStreetStKilda was built in 1922, possibly designed by #ErnestHLong, who later designed the similar #RitzMansions next door. The new hotel replaced the old wooden Cricket Club Hotel (previously the British Family), had hot & cold water to ever room, and a dining room for 400. It also had until recently loads of great #stainedglasswindows, only 2 in place now, but Council promises me that they’re coming back! The internal renovations were complete just before the lockdown, interesting to see whether it opens any time soon. I have early memories if this place when being driven past as a kid in the 70s in the way to Luna Park of big signs saying Les Girls, though i wasn’t quite sure what that was….but it was this, not girls at all : “In 1970, entrepreneur Sammy Lee brought the famous Sydney drag troupe, Les Girls, to perform at the Ritz Hotel. It was the first official drag performance ever staged in Melbourne and their arrival caused a sensation. Because they were officially classified as ‘male’, the performers required police permits to appear in female attire while travelling to the show, and were forbidden to ‘be on the street’ dressed as women at all.” #StKildaHistoricalSociety notes.

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