SIGNIFICANCE: »Former CBA Bank designed by A Henderson and associated with many key townspeople this is the most important nineteenth century building in the streetscape.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
86-88 Thompson Street
This building has regional significance for its architectural interest as a former bank in the style of `Boom Classicism' and for its associations with the notable architect, Anketell Henderson. It also has historical associations with the Commercial Bank of Australasia and a number of other banks from 1892 ([i]) and also with prominent businessmen, Louis Horwitz, John Thomson, and T H Laidlaw. A bank was first recorded on the site in 1892 owned by solicitor and businessman, L Horwitz (1858-1919). ([ii]) His father, Henry Horwitz (1819-1899), storekeeper, owned earlier buildings on the site, including a store and shops, at first with Abraham Marks in 1867 ([iii]) and then with Sigismund Jacoby, ([iv]) storekeeper (and first owner of St Ronan's, at 5 Dryden St.). ([v]) Louis became the owner in 1888. ([vi]) A privately owned bank was identified in 1894 as a brick bank and in 1897 as the Commercial Bank. ([vii]) Horwitz remained owner until 1904. A prominent local barrister, councillor, and Mayor in 1882 (aged only 24), he disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 1904. A financial scandal broke out. He later served a gaol sentence. In 1909 he left for San Francisco where he became a respected member of the Bar Association there. ([viii]) The `bank' was owned in 1905 by the Assets Finance Co.; from c1910 by Thomson & Laidlaw; 1915, by D Laidlaw; by Laidlaw & J Thomson in the 1920s and by T H Laidlaw & Co. in the 1930s. ([ix]) Other banks associated with the building include the E.S.& A. (in 1948) and the A.N.Z.
The combined trabeated and arcuated facade of the building is standard for bank designs with this being a rather richer version than the normally austere designs of the previous decades. It stands at the cusp of bank architecture. Currently occupied by the A.M.P. Society the building is in excellent condition. It is substantially intact but there have been some alterations to the ground floor. The building is now the most important from the nineteenth century in the streetscape.
[i] Trethowan, B, `A Study of Banks In Victoria 1851-1939', see its index card; Hamilton Rate Book 1892 No. 116 (Bank, NAV 150 pounds).
[ii] Garden, Don, Hamilton, pp 84-85.
[iii] Hamilton Rate Book 1867, No. 76 (Marks & Horwitz, stores and house, NAV 350 pounds)
[iv] Ibid., 1870, Nos. 54 & 55 (Horwitz & S Jacoby, shops, NAV 200 pounds).
[v] Garden, Don, Hamilton, pp 86-87. Some may have been incorporated into the new bank according to the mixture of building materials shown on the HSA Detail Plan.
[vi] Hamilton Rate Book 1888, Nos. 103 and 104.
[vii] Ibid., 1894, No 179 (brick bank & dwelling, NAV 150 pounds); 1897, No 124 (NAV 150 pounds).