Building ProfileName : Church of England Mission
LocationAddress: 261 Spring Street
Construction DetailsBuilt: 1894 - 1913
Original use: Office
Current use: Office
number of floors : 3
Built in the Victorian period in the Neo-Gothic style
This building dates from 1894 but its current face dates from 1913 when the hall was incorporated into a new three storey Mission Convent. A chapel, offices, bedrooms, kitchen, dining and sitting rooms and a cellar were added to the front of the old dance hall and across an adjoining vacant lot in the 1913 reconstruction. A domed apse was also added to the rear of the hall, as a sanctuary. It is claimed that the Greek and Syrian Orthodox Churches conducted early services in the hall. The building belongs to the Federation Gothic style, embracing numerous stylistic elements of the Free Gothic style. It is a remarkably plain building, three bays wide, entirely constructed of red bricks. The ground floor incorporates two simple entrances with arched heads and shallow label moulds. Beside the door groups of lancet head windows produce a uniform ground floor image which does not align with the bays above. Pilasters corbel from the first floor level to form a square topped bay with a large lancet arch recess on each side of the central gabled bay. The centre element of the Spring Street elevation contains two windows finished with a pediment at roof level surmounted by a Cross. The two doors of unequal size are finished with a neo-Gothic moulding.
This site was part of a Crown Grant to Henry Boorn Foot on 29th April, 1847. William Mather purchased the site on 20th August, 1847 and the first building was a brick house, three rooms and kitchen in the Melbourne City Council Rate Book of 1851 and was occupied by James Doyle, a commercial clerk. Part of the site was used as a wood yard and bottle washing establishment in the 1860s. In 1875 William Best purchased the property and applied for a permit, No 6834, on 19 July 1876 to build a room. The builders were Rawlins and Sayers. This room, in fact, was a brick hall used as a Dancing Academy. The premises apparently had an unsavoury reputation and are believed to have been eventually closed by the Police in the 1880s. The hall was a cigar factory for a short time before the Church of England Sisters of the Community of the Holy Name rented the premises for Church services and as a meeting place for local community activities. The north end of Exhibition Street was a slum during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and various charitable agencies had premises at this end of town, including the Salvation Army (at the former Synagogue in Exhibition Street), the Church of England (at these premises and in Little Bourke Street nearby at their Chinese Mission) and the Methodist Church. The Church of England purchased the property on 9th October 1904 and on 6th January 1913 applied for a permit to build additions at 261 Spring Street. The builder was G W Farnsworth and the architects were Bates, Peebles and Smart. The building remained in use with the Sisters until 1957.Architect: Bates, Peebles & Smart
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