What is significant? The row of shops at 68-74 Piper Street was constructed in the 1850s. The style of construction is a restrained Victorian Classicism and although constructed over a period of, perhaps ten years, they make a pleasing terrace. The top storey entablature providing a unifying note across 68 to 72 Piper Street, the windows on the top storeys, except for 70 Piper Street, are round arched.
The corner shop at 68 was purchased for £850 in 1860 for Francis and Perkins, Chemists, who had occupied the former single storey timber shop and residence on this site. The 1860s building is of brick construction, the shop continued to trade as a chemist until the 20th Century.
The shop at 70 Piper Street was built for Samuel Atwood before 1859. The Dowling Brothers' draper store was there by 1858, but the site had a number of owners/tenants and had a time as both a grocer and stationer as did 72 Piper Street, next door. The work on the top storey of 70 Piper is more elaborate than the shops either side The cast iron balcony on No.70 is unusual both for its form and survival, it appears to be original, the door onto the balcony has a pediment and the windows are rectangular rather than arched.
The shop at 72 Piper Street, on land also owned by Atwood were originally one storey and constructed in 1858 to a design by James Blakely, the brick second storey was added some time later.
Dobinson's Hall of Commerce, at No.74 Piper Street was built in 1859 to a design by William Douglas (who was also working on the Kyneton Hospital at this time). Dobinson's, a firm of drapers located elsewhere in Kyneton, moved in early 1860. This shop appears to be purpose built, its largely intact interior spaces were expressly created for a drapers store with plenty of natural light through the upstairs and ground floor windows. Originally there was a 2 storey void or atrium at the front of the shop, but this has since been infilled. The first storey front windows are particularly notable for their size and their ingenious single pivoting opening. The stone work used at both 70 and 74 were from one of the local quarries.
How is it significant? The Shops at 68-74 Piper Street are architecturally and historically significant to the state of Victoria.
Why is it significant? The shops are early (late 1850s) survivors of a 'row' or 'suite' of two storey shops. Although common in the city and inner city, for example the Crossley Buildings in Bourke Street (H435) or the many later examples such as the Emerald Hill Precinct H1136, there are few 19th century survivors in the regional towns.
The shops are of architectural significance as rare survivors of a type of building. The shops are important as purpose built retail shops and the architectural features that express this, particularly the large ground floor display windows and the solid brick and stone construction. It is interesting to note that they also still function as retail spaces, although this was not true of their role throughout the 20th century.