What is significant?
Wardlow was built by CC Fewster in 1888 for John Boyes, owner of the Brunswick Iron Foundry. The architect is not known, but was possibly the partnership of Twentyman & Askew, who three years later designed a warehouse for Boyes in Russell Street, contracting to the same builder, Fewster.
Wardlow was the main feature of a larger development that began with 110 and 112 Park Drive and later included the adjoining houses at 33, 35, and 37 Degraves Street, finished in 1889. All the houses had cast iron decoration from Boyes' Brunswick Foundry, and also share other details, including tessellated pavements and decorative patterns etched into the exterior render.
Wardlow is in an excellent state of preservation mainly because of successive ownership and occupation by several generations of the Boyes family until 1975. The exterior of the house and layout of the garden are virtually as they were in 1888. The side and rear courtyards were created in the 1990s.
The interior decorative scheme retains many original elements. The drawing room and dining room retain their respective characteristic masculine and feminine schemes. The entrance hall, drawing room, dining room and parlour retain decorative wallpapers: gilded pelmets survive in the dining room and study; joinery and doors are wood grained in imitation of walnut, with gold stencilling. Original leadlight and coloured glass sidelights to the front door light the entrance hallway. The name Wardlow is etched in the ruby glass in the transom light over the front door. In the hallway the floor is partly laid with encaustic tessellated tiles, and original wall and ceiling paper and cornices enriched with plaster mouldings also survive. The drawing room has original silk and velvet curtains and an overmantel.
The service areas have been substantially modernised although a panel of seven servant bells, with associated cranks and wires, survives in the kitchen vestibule.
The first floor rooms were redecorated in the 1920s and 1930s, but retain some of their Venetian blinds. Original wallpapers identical to those in the main hallway survive in the first floor passageway. A new bathroom was installed in an upstairs bedroom in the 1990s.
How is it significant?
Wardlow is of architectural, aesthetic and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Wardlow is architecturally significant as an archetypal example of boomperiod Italianate architecture. Characteristic elements include the asymmetrical plan, thetower over the entrance and decorative urns to the parapet. In particular, the internal layout has not been altered, and the arrangement of the main rooms and servant spaces is still clearly understood.
Wardlow is aesthetically significant as a metropolitan house which, more than any other surviving example, exhibits a boom period middle class domestic interior with intact decorative finishes. The scheme is a vivid demonstration of the range of decorative techniques that Victorians applied to their interiors, and is representative of upper middle class aspirations of the late boom period.
Wardlow is historically significant as the major element in a comprehensive and unusual development scheme for the site, which included the adjoining houses in Degraves Street. It demonstrates the partly speculative nature of the development.