Building ProfileName : Windsor Hotel (formerly the Grand Hotel)
LocationAddress: 111 Spring Street
Windsor Hotel (formerly the Grand Hotel) is a landmark
Construction DetailsBuilt: 1883 - 1923
Original use: Club/Hotel/Coffee Palace
Current use: Accomodation
Built in the Victorian period in the Second Empire style
Magnificent Victorian Hotel with Second Empire styled twin towers and classical treatment.The Windsor Hotel is of architectural significance as probably the largest and grandest of Australias 19th century luxury hotels. It is a fine example of a colonial grand hotel of the late Victorian period in the tradition of luxury hotels in Europe and is a unique survivor in Melbourne. In style the Windsor is something of an amalgam of English romantic classicism of the early 19th century and anglicised French Second Empire, the latter being the style of choice for the earliest English grand hotels of the 1860s. Despite these precedents, Webbs combination of styles was unusual for the time and the Windsor has a distinct facade befitting a grand hotel. The basic structure and planning of the building, particularly the dining room at ground level and central light court above, is intact, giving an excellent sense of the design of late-19th century luxury hotels. The Windsor forms part of an architecturally valuable precinct which also includes Parliament House, the Old Treasury, Tasma Terrace and the Princess Theatre. The Windsor Hotel is of architectural significance as one of the finest, although unusual, examples of Charles Webbs work. Over more than thirty years in practice, Webb produced a substantial number of important buildings, usually focussing on ecclesiastical, institutional and domestic work. Nearby Tasma Terrace is an example of the latter, while the Windsor is one of his relatively few commercial commissions and certainly the largest of these.
The Windsor Hotel was commenced in 1883 for George Nipper of the shipping firm Nipper and See. It was designed by Charles Webb and built by Thomas Cockram and Co., and originally known as the Grand Hotel. At first containing 200 rooms, the building was later extended to 360 rooms as the Grand Coffee Palace, the flagship of James Munros temperance movement, in time to accommodate visitors to the Centenary Exhibition of 1888. Webb was again the architect for the extension, adding the twin cupola-capped French Second Empire towers. Above the main entrance to the hotel is the sculpture Peace and Plenty, installed as part of the 1888 additions. The design of the sculpture is attributed to John Simpson Mackennal, who also worked on the interior and exterior decoration to Parliament House. Reclining on a segmental pediment, two classically inspired figures draped in robes represent peace and plenty. Cast in stone, the figures support a heraldic shield and hold a charter and the horn of plenty. In 1921-22 substantial renovations took place, especially to the main lounge and dining room, and the hotel re-acquired its license. The northern annexe of the hotel was constructed in 1958 to the design of Harry and Frank Norris.Architect: Charles Webb
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