Tavistock House was built for John Tighe as a hotel circa 1850. The architect was Samuel Marlow. The hotel was known as the Ship Inn. The building was extensively altered and extended during the nineteenth century. In 1906 it was renovated again, giving its present Edwardian Freestyle form with Art Nouveau detailing. The 1906 renovations were designed by Leonard Flanagan's office. Another architect, Robert Haddon, is thought to have been consulted on the Art Nouveau decoration. Internally the pit sawn timber roof is evidence of the earliest stage of construction whilst the pressed metal ceilings are evidence of the early twentieth century renovations.
How is it significant?
Tavistock House is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
Tavistock House is historically significant as one of the State's earliest surviving hotel sites and retains in small part, the earliest surviving hotel structure in the city. Although substantially altered in detail, Tavistock House is still recognisable as a hotel, possessing the simple form and fenestration of hotels of the mid nineteenth century. It is, in part, among a very small group of pre-gold rush buildings in the city.
Tavistock House is architecturally significant as an unusual but distinctive two-dimensional renovation in the Edwardian Freestyle manner, and is particularly notable for its unusual Art Nouveau cement detailing on the upper facade. The building is a successful blending of elements of early Australian colonial and later Edwardian Freestyle architecture.