FORMER METROPOLITAN MEAT MARKET
1-3 BLACKWOOD STREET and 36-54 COURTNEY STREET NORTH MELBOURNE, Melbourne City
Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The former Metropolitan Meat Market was built in 1880 to the design of the architect George Johnson. Later additions extended the main hall in 1908. The exterior is a two storey stuccoed brick building with facades to both Blackwood Street and Courtney Street. It sits on a rusticated basalt base and the main decorative system is of giant order Corinthian trabeation. The ground floor windows are flat headed with bracketed hoods, and the upper storey windows are round arched with vermiculated keystone decoration. A continuous bracketed and dentillated cornice runs along both facades and over the pair of pediments flanking the splayed corner. This section of the building comprised the original Metropolitan Hotel, shop, hall entrances and bank premises. The market hall measures about 34 metres by 82 metres and has a shallow barrel vault timber roof with a 16m span. The arches are of built-up timber springing from timber posts which divide the roof into bays the width of each market stall. The floor is paved with basalt pitchers. The bressumer at the junction of the hall ceiling and the top of each stall has decorative cast iron brackets. Cast iron heads of animals decorate the stalls.
The basement cooling chambers were added in 1890 and 1908 to provide considerable cellarage space under the market hall. The 1908 cooling chambers and cellar space areas are constructed with load bearing brick walls, reinforced concrete columns and steel columns carrying a concrete slab ceiling, which forms the floor of the extended market hall above.
How is it significant?
The former Metropolitan Meat Market is of architectural, historical and scientific significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The former Metropolitan Meat Market is architecturally significant as the most ostentatious and decorated market building in Victoria. At the date of construction in 1880 the 16 metre clear span of hall was one of the largest timber roof spans in Victoria. The reinforced concrete in the 1908 basement extension is an early Victorian example.
The former Metropolitan Meat Market is historically significant as an unusual example of a privately owned and operated market. The Victorian Meat Market Company had determined to separate themselves from council facilities and control and integrated other businesses into the complex including the Metropolitan Hotel , shops and a bank.
The former Metropolitan Meat Market is technologically significant for the use of cool room technology. The additions in 1890 and 1921 took advantage of evolving technology to provide for cool air for the overnight storage of meat.
FORMER METROPOLITAN MEAT MARKET - History
In 1841 a Market Commission was established and a general market, later known as the Western Market began trading near the bottom end of Collins Street. In 1847 the Town Council established the Eastern Market, on the site later developed as the Southern Cross Hotel. The Western Market declined until redevelopment in the 1850s (Miles Lewis, Melbourne, The City’s History and Development, 1994 p.23). Flinders Lane was widened and a design by George Donaldson estimated to cost 60,809 pounds, was begun. The site was left in a semi-completed state for some years with some makeshift market operations.
In 1857 overcrowding at the Eastern Market prompted petitions for a new site to be proclaimed, and in 1859 the government made available to the Council a site on Elizabeth Street, now part of the Victoria Market. Market gardeners did not take up the opportunity but the Council soon established a horse, pig, cattle and hay market. The land was reserved in 1867 (Lewis 1994, p.74) In 1877 the Melbourne General Market Site Act transferred to Council control the north end of the old Melbourne Cemetery. Human remains were removed to the Melbourne General Cemetery, but other parts of the cemetery continued for burials until the early twentieth century (Lewis 1994, p.66).
The Victoria Market began in the meat market building in the irregular eastern block bounded by Queen, Victoria, Elizabeth and Therry Streets in 1869. The remainder of the old cemetrery was added to the market site in 1917 by the Melbourne General Market Lands Act, Remaining bodies were removed between 1920 and 1922 (Lewis 1994, p.99). Tenants of the Western Market were moved to an enlarged Victoria Market in 1930. The market was the principal wholesale market for fresh fruit and vegetables from 1878 to 1975 and remained a popular source of fresh produce, while also becoming an important leisure and tourism centre.
The first Melbourne Town Council Meat Market was established in 1842 on the site of the current Victoria Market. The Meat Market building at Victoria Market was built in 1868 and was the home of the wholesale trade (C E Cole, Melbourne Markets 1841-1979, pp.47-48). It was these premises that a group of butchers became dissatisfied with. When they set themselves up as the Victorian Meat Market in 1874 the company immediately sought to distance itself from the council facilities and built a market to the design of George Johnson in Elizabeth Street north in 1875 (Miles Lewis, The Metropolitan Meat Market, 1984, p.4). This soon proved inadequate too and the company looked to build a new market in North Melbourne, closer to the livestock markets in Flemington.
William Reynolds was driving force behind the creation of the new market. He came to Australia in 1852 from Devon, England. A plaster bust of Reynolds is located inside the Metropolitan meat Market, over the Courtney Street entrance. Reynolds was a Justice of the Peace and later Mayor of Hotham.
In 1870 Reynolds was a wholesale butcher operating at the Melbourne Town Council Meat Market (established in 1842) on the site of the current Victoria Market. The market was very congested and Reynolds led the move to find more spacious premises for the meat trade. The Victorian Meat Market was formed as a private company in 1874 and premises located just north of Victoria Street were designed by George Johnson, built and occupied. This market also soon proved to be too small.
In 1879 Reynolds located a larger and more convenient site in North Melbourne on the north corner of Courtney and Blackwood Streets, extending to Tyrone Street. The site, first the location of a girls school, later a boarding house, was cleared. The company was reformed as the Metropolitan Meat Market Company with Reynolds as chairman of the directors.
The architect of the new market was again George Johnson, probably chosen for his work on the 1875 market and the North Melbourne Town Hall in 1876. The foundation stone was laid in February 1880. The marker took eighteen months to build at a cost of 18,500 pounds. By the end of 1881 the building was completed and in February 1882 the company opened for business. The new market was directly linked to the stock market at Newmarket by Flemington Road. It was also conveniently close to the municipal Hay and Corn, and Horse and Pig markets in Sydney Road. It has been suggested that Johnson followed the building type used at the Smithfield market in London, with separate stalls leased by individual operators (R Langford, The Metropolitan Meat Market North Melbourne, BArch Thesis University of Melbourne, 1967 p.23) William Reynolds occupied five of the stalls in the south-west corner of the market hall.
At first the market extended to the north end only to within about fifteen metres of Tyrone Street with a rear entrance extending down a ramp. In 1907 the market was extended to Tyrone Street and a second exit made into Blackwood Street. The date over the central doorway in Blackwood Street - 1874 - relates to the formation of the original company. A two storey hotel was incorporated into the building on the corner of Blackwood Street and Courtney Street. The entrance to the main bar was on this corner. On the upper storeys the Metropolitan Hotel had possibly eighteen bedrooms rooms, a billiard room over the main bar as well as office space and caretaker quarters (Langford, p.19). On the lower floor, for the convenience of the market staff and customers, was a back bar connected by a stair to the interior of the market. This was later used as a coffee-stall. Further along Blackwood Street were also shops and a bank. All the buildings were leased by 1881. The bank was leased by the National Bank, the shop by Craig and Lock (as a saddelry) and the hotel by a Mr Mayfield (Langford p.28). The bank was vacated in 1896 and does not appear to have been used as a bank again (Langford p.29).
Amongst the original operators at the market was the Second Victoria Meat Market Company, who leased twenty of the original twenty five stalls. This company consisted of nine shareholders, all apparently butchers and including Reynolds himself as W Reynolds & Sons. The other shareholders were S Johnson & Co, Joseph Birtwistle & Son, George Bygate, John Ogden, John Brundell, John Baudains, Thomas Knight Bennett and William Simmonds (Lewis 1984, p.5). Stallholders not part of the Second Victoria Meat Market Company included C Dudley, Mark Morris and A R & W Pridham. (Butler).
When the market was built refrigeration technology was in its infancy and the only facility for keeping meat was a small cool-room serving all the operators built at the rear of the Blackwood Street stalls. With no refrigeration in the market it meant that all stocks had to be cleared each day. In hot weather slaughtering was forced to stop. In 1890 cooling chambers were added on the Blackwood Street facade. It seems that a one storey premises was erected over the new cooling chambers and the external wall was continued to the bank, creating a small courtyard between the two buildings. A Mr Anderson had agreed to lease the vacant land and two surviving cottages adjacent to the bank for seven years. The contractor for the cool room was Mr Hall, who under the supervision of George Johnson also underpinned the corner of the bank wall (Lewis 1984, p.34). After petitioning for a decrease in rent in 1895 ( Langford p.29.) Anderson did not take up the option of extending his lease in 1897 but sold the cottages, premises and machinery to the company for one thousand pounds (Lewis 1984, p.34). The Metropolitan Ice Company became tenants of the freezing chamber in 1905, and soon sub-let them to an engineer called Dunkerley (Lewis 1984 p.18).
Major extension works were carried out in 1907-8. Johnson had died in 1898 and the new architects were Gibbs and Finlay. They called for tenders in March 1907 and Swanson Brothers appear to have carried out most of the work (Lewis 1984 p 14). The new 5 inch (127mm) thick floor was of reinforced concrete and built by John Monash's Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Company. His company held the patents and therefore had a monopoly on this type of Monier construction (Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Company archives, University of Melbourne Archives. Includes drawing of new floor). The lengthening of the hall increased the number of stalls by four and provided for a new and additional entrance on Blackwood Street, parallel to Tyrone Street (Lewis 1984 p 14). Additional freezing chambers were included in part of the basement of the 1907-8 extension. Various leasing arrangements meant that the Metropolitan Ice Company and Dunkerley continued to rent the old and new freezing chambers until vacating them in 1919. The use of the remaining area, now known as the Wood Workshop, is not clear but it seems to have been occupied by a retail butcher in the 1960s and also have been used for associated cool store functions. (Meredith Gould, Meat Market Craft Centre, Partial Building Survey, 1984, p 121).
After many requests by stall holders, in 1921 the company built a line of cooling chambers at the rear of the stalls on both sides of the hall. The refrigeration was provided by the Metropolitan Ice Company located opposite the market in Blackwood Street. Cold air was pumped through a large pipe under the road and directed by fans through the chambers (Lewis 1984, p.19). The new chambers were built by Reynolds Brothers following a report and recommendations by the engineer C A D’Ebro in 1919. The work was supervised by Finlay, now the surviving partner of Gibbs and Finlay. Cool air was supplied by the Metropolitan Ice Company at 2,000 pounds per annum (Lewis 1984 p.42). The new chambers were officially opened in May 1921 (Lewis 1984 p.19).
In 1925 the garage was built on land locvated north-west side of the market, facing Courtney and Wreckyn Streets. The builder was T A Pemberton. The 1890 part of the building was later extended to two storeys when the Master Butchers Association took over the premises in 1925. The Dorman Long steel present in the cooling chamber area was probably put in at this time to support the additions.
The market was sewered under supervision of Gibbs and Finlay in 1901, and electric lighting was installed in 1910 (Langford, pp.33-4). In 1900 the main hall was floored with pitchers and the stalls were asphalted (MMBW Plan, 21 May 1900). The hall was asphalted over in 1911 for sluicing to the Tyrone Street drain (Langford, p.34). Electric lighting was apparently not installed in the hotel until 1913 (Lewis 1984, p.17).
The market’s fortunes declined slowly. The decline was exacerbated by health requirements requiring the separation of petrol-driven vehicles from the stalls. Decline culminated in closure in 1974.
FORMER METROPOLITAN MEAT MARKET - Assessment Against Criteria
a. The historical importance, association with or relationship to Victoria's history of the place or object
The Former Metropolitan Meat Market was formed by a private company of wholesale butchers, the Victoria Meat Market Company, who separated from council control at Victoria Market. It was unusual as a privately operated market.
b. The importance of a place or object in demonstrating rarity or uniqueness
The Former Metropolitan Meat Market has an unusually large clear span timber roof for its date of construction in 1880. The Former Metropolitan Meat Market is significant for its rarity in the context of the loss of other major markets in central Melbourne.
c.The place or object's potential to educate, illustrate or provide further scientific investigation in relation to Victoria's cultural heritage
d. The importance of a place or object in exhibiting the principal characteristics or the representative nature of a place or object as part of a class or type of places or objects
The Former Metropolitan Meat Market is unusual as a surviving market dedicated to one form of produce. Its position demonstrates its associations with the cattle markets in Flemington, to which it had convenient access.
e.The importance of the place or object in exhibiting good design or aesthetic characteristics and/or in exhibiting a richness, diversity or unusual integration of features
Architecturally, the Former Metropolitan Meat Market complex is one of the most ostentatious of the surviving markets in Victoria. Architect George Johnson chose a Renaissance Revival scheme to demonstrate the ambitions and prestige of the new private company. It was an unusual complex that incorporated the Metropolitan Hotel, shops and a bank.
f. The importance of the place or object in demonstrating or being associated with scientific or technical innovations or achievements
Within the 1908 extension the Former Metropolitan Meat Market has examples of early reinforced concrete construction techniques. It also incorporates cool room technology and demonstrates evolution of this technology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
g. The importance of the place or object in demonstrating social or cultural associations
h.Any other matter which the Council deems relevant to the determination of cultural heritage significance
FORMER METROPOLITAN MEAT MARKET - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Conditions:
1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of alterations that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such alteration shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.
3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it.
4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
* Minor repairs and maintenance which replace like with like.
* Removal of extraneous items such as air conditioners, pipe work, ducting, wiring, signage, antennae, aerials etc, and making good.
* Installation or repair of damp-proofing by either injection method or grouted pocket method.
* Regular garden maintenance
* Installation, removal or replacement of garden and courtyard watering systems.
* Laying, removal or replacement of paving in gardens and courtyard.
* Installation, removal or replacement of grilles, bars and security locks to doors and windows
Interior of Meat Market Hall building
* Removal of paint from originally unpainted or oiled joinery, doors, architraves, skirtings and decorative strapping.
* Installation, removal or replacement of carpets and/or flexible floor coverings.
* Installation, removal or replacement of curtain track, rods, blinds and other window dressings.
* Installation, removal or replacement of hooks, nails and other devices for the hanging of mirrors, paintings and other wall mounted artworks.
* Refurbishment of bathrooms, toilets and or en suites including removal, installation or replacement of sanitary fixtures and associated piping, mirrors, wall and floor coverings.
* Installation, removal or replacement of kitchen benches and fixtures including sinks, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers etc and associated plumbing and wiring.
* Installation, removal or replacement of ducted, hydronic or concealed radiant type heating provided that the installation does not damage existing skirtings and architraves and provided that the location of the heating unit is concealed from view.
* Installation, removal or replacement of electrical wiring provided that all new wiring is fully concealed and any original light switches, pull cords, push buttons or power outlets are retained in-situ. Note: if wiring original to the place was carried in timber conduits then the conduits should remain in-situ.
* Installation, removal or replacement of bulk insulation in the roof space.
* Installation, removal or replacement of smoke detectors.
* Installation, removal or replacement of grilles, bars and security locks to doors and windows
Interior of 1925 Garage Building
* All interior alterations that do not adversely affect the structure and exterior appearance of the building.
FORMER METROPOLITAN MEAT MARKET - Permit Exemption PolicyThe purpose of the permit exemptions is to allow works that do not impact on the significance of the place to take place without the need for a permit. The main importance of the former Metropolitan Meat Market lies in the 1880 buildings, constituting the main market hall, the Metropolitan Hotel and the former bank and shops. The market hall and Metropolitan Hotel retain the highest degree of intactness. The former bank and shops areas have been considerably altered. The 1890 structure now known as the conference centre has also been considerably altered. The basement areas are of great significance for demonstrating a variety of structural techniques, including early reinforced concrete. The garage building, circa 1925, is important mainly for its structure and exterior form.
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