Falstaff Coffee Palace/ Peoples Palace

Repost this day 2017 (and nothing at all has happened since):

#wintersun in #SpencerStreet on the rather gaudily painted former Falstaff #CoffeePalace, built 1891, and the 1913 #CharlesHothanHotel beyond, both by the prolific #WilliamPitt (21 years apart). Both #heritagelisted in 2013, both sold recently, but sadly might just mean facades with towers behind / a great pity in the case of the Charles Hotham, which has great #artnouveau tiles and plaster on the ground floor, intact upper floors too. Hopefully the new guideline mandating keeping majority of the building or at least the ‘front portion’ will be in force soon ! Update, wasnt soon, not approved till 2020 ! Nice photo from @cityofmelbournelibraries from the 80s showing #acroterion now missing.

Surprised to find that the @library_vic has the original plans ! Labelled ‘people’s palace’, seems like it was actually named after the large restaurant in the back, the Falstaff Restaurant/ Cafe, aka Falstaff Coffee Palace. It had 167 rooms, and was to be ‘moderately priced for the artisan or working man’ which it seems it always was and still is. Lots of robberies, drunkenness, accidents either there or of people living there. The architects were not just #WilliamPitt, but with #CharlesDEbro, opening in early 1891. It’s very restrained for them and the period, perhaps befitting it’s purpose. It’s lost the balustrade and top bits, and the colour scheme is terrible.

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