The Former Gas Inspector's Residence at 1 Gleadell Street, Richmond, was built in 1883 for the Metropolitan Gas Company, following the construction of its Richmond gasometer in 1882. The seven-room house was the residence for the company's inspectors, the first of whom to occupy the house was John Corn. It seems to have been occupied as a residence until being sold to the Education Department in 1974. The building is a single storey structure, on a bluestone base, and was built in a style almost identical to the original town hall, post office and police station complex opposite. It was constructed of polychrome brick, symmetrically arranged around a central recessed arched entrance with an arched window on either side. The slate roof and prominent brick chimneys are distinctive features. The building is currently being used by Richmond Secondary College.
How is it significant?
The Former Gas Inspector's Residence is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it Significant?
The Former Gas Inspector's Residence is of historical significance as a remnant of Melbourne?s once extensive coal-manufactured gas supply network. The Metropolitan Gas Company built a gasometer in Richmond in 1882 to improve the supply of gas to Richmond and Hawthorn, which were at the time at the outer limits of the system. The residence is all that now remains of the Richmond Gasworks, the gasometer having been demolished in 1959, as was most of the infrastructure for coal-manufactured gas throughout the metropolitan area after the introduction of natural gas in 1969. The survival of the Former Gas Inspector's Residence provides an important association with the Metropolitan Gas Company, once a major supplier of gas to the city, and a reminder of Melbourne's early infrastructure development.
The Former Gas Inspector's Residence is of historical significance as a rare example of on-site industrial accommodation, demonstrating a form of industrial organisation that is very rare today. The form of the building, with its rare recessed porch and kitchen access off the main street, show the restrictions imposed by its location as part of the gasworks complex.
The Former Gas Inspector's Residence is of historical significance as a rare, substantially intact and attractive 19th century industrial residence. While the planning of the residence is traditional, the formality of its exterior and interior, the use of simple classical details and the restrained use of polychrome brick combine to give this small building an impressive dignity.
The exterior of the house is unaltered except for extensions at the rear, which date from soon after the turn of the century, which may have been prompted by the introduction of sewerage at that time. The interior is also largely intact, with surviving decorative details such as fireplaces and mantles, joinery and plasterwork. An interesting comparison can be made with the elaborate old valve house at 617 St Kilda Road, St Kilda. The impressive architecture of these two buildings provides an interesting demonstration of the importance of the infrastructure of gas production in 19th century Melbourne.