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Thread: Oops I wrecked a heritage house

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ringwood, vic
    Posts
    912

    Oops I wrecked a heritage house

    In 1999 my then fiance and I purchased our first house together. It was a 1930's weatherboard house in Croydon, vic. The S.32 showed an interesting history with the house originally being owned by 3 sisters an artist, journo and architect. It was sold in the 50's and has had a couple of owners since. Had a look at the time for info on the history of the owners/house but the internet was still 'new' and there was nothing to be found about them.

    In 2004 we did a major renovation on the house, and whilst we kept the style consistent with the era, we knocked down 3/4 of the external walls and rebuilt them with windows and doors all being moved, added and deleted. We also added a second story.

    At the end of the reno the house was like new although could have been lifted straight out of the 30's.

    I stumbled across some information recently which tells me the house is the one and only known building by Victoria's first female architect (Ruth Alsop) making it a very significant building. It was originally called Darley Dale in recognition of the girls parents hometown in Derbyshire, England and their parents home in Kew called Darley.

    Chatting with the head of planning confirms if the history was known at the time of the reno the house would have been heritage listed.

    Ruth has a street named after her in Canberra. The artist was quite famous (Edith Alsop) and there are a few of her collections around.

    We sold the house last year but now I am sad that we wrecked a building with such historical significance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Sunny Coast QLD
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    27,698
    I'm sure this happens more than is published--

    Though I would have thought mainly around the Blue Mountains---
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Tamborine
    Posts
    76
    Did you take photos before the reno? These could be useful to those who may be interested.

    I love history but what happened in your case is what makes it interesting. The past cannot be changed and yet it is forever changing, everyday.

    Just think maybe in 100 years someone will be on a LR forum talking about the house's history and your involvement.

    Cheers

    Michael

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ringwood, vic
    Posts
    912
    We kept a couple of photo's of the house and also gave some to the new owners together with all our plans which includes the floor plan as it was when we butchered it.

    I doubt the floor plan we had was original, but certainly it was very close to it. The kitchen had been changed as it originally had a fire place for cooking.

    One summers day about two years ago the dog was barking and there was some bloke standing across the road looking at the house and taking photo's of it. My wife went out to investigate and it turns out he owned the house in the 70's but now lives in WA. We found out from him that a timber shed used to stand where the detached garage now is. He recalled sitting in the kitchen with the doors closed and the heater on as it was so cold in the house. When we bought it the doors had been removed (stored under the house) and ducted heating had been installed.

    Will have to give the new owners the info I have found so hopefully the history can be recreated and passed with the house for those interested in it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ballajura, Perth, WA
    Posts
    1,132
    if it was on Heritage list it should have been picked up when you submit your plans to Council to do the renovations and additions and they should've then advised you what any changes could be done

    If the house renovations plans were approved than it wasn't probably on any listing of historically significant building register at the time

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ringwood, vic
    Posts
    912
    that's right it was not on the list at the time as the history was not properly known.

    Based on what we now know about the house and on talking with the head of planning it should have been on the list.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Yass NSW
    Posts
    2,643
    We own a heritage house and I have had some very interesting discussions with people over what changes can be made without destroying it's significance.
    Our house was built in 1860 and some quite major renovations that included building a kitchen on the back, replacing shingles with Iron roofing, filling in a cellar and closing in portions of the front verandah were done in the 1880s.
    What is the correct state to have the building in? Ironically I can get a council grant to knock down the 1880s additions to the verandah as these are seen as detracting from the heritage value of the building.
    Most old houses have a history of changes and renovations and these tell as much of the history as an unmodified house might.
    Maybe in 100 years architecture students may be as interested in your changes to the property as the original fabric of the house.
    Houses are built to be lived in, not to be museums.

    regards,
    Tote

    Our house: www.rathluba.com
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Sydney's gritty inner west (2204)
    Posts
    6,806
    I used to be a practicing Architect.

    If the alterations and additions were carried out in sympathy with and with respect to the original...and as a result looked as if it was meant to be there, then that is the greatest compliment you could pay the original Architect.

    I don't believe in preserving everyday (domestic) architecture in aspic.
    Mahn

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ringwood, vic
    Posts
    912
    this is it after we finished. originally single story
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Wheelers Hill, Melbourne
    Posts
    3,824
    I'ts really the councils fault as they must have poor records. Our family owns a heritage listed Pharmacy & when I called in to the council to ask about some renovations they looked it up and it had four big red arrows from all directions pointed at it. The poor guy behind the counter nearly fainted.
    DeeJay
    1999 Defender Wagon
    1977 SWB Hardtop

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