168 Napier Street, Fitzroy

The two houses in this first recent picture, numbered 166 (right) and 168 (left) were built prior to 1865. The house number at the time of the 1865 Sands & MacDougall Directories was 114. By January 1869, the number had changed to 152 and between 1890 and 1895 changed again to 168 Napier Street.

Google Image July 2019. 168 Napier St is on the left.

In 1865-1873, a Mrs Sarah Martin, a nurse, was residing here, likely with her daughters after her husband Elisha Martin of Helston, Cornwall had passed in 1854. He was a carpenter and had moved with his wife and three girls to Australia arriving on 17 July 1853 on Harpley. Sarah and Elisha had children Emma, Sarah (wife of Daniel Hutchinson, Chemist, of Parramatta), Laura Ursula (wife of Samuel Clay, Butcher) and Charles (born in Australia). It looks like Sarah may have had siblings William and Mary Ann living nearby.

Sarah (also known as Sally) had married Elisha in 1843 and they lived in Shoreditch in 1851, he was 44 and she was 35. Emma (Emily) was 6 and Sarah was 3. John Moyle lodged with them (presumably her younger brother aged 30), reference: 1851 Census. From the records it appears that Elisha may have married previously, but I haven’t confirmed this.

In Jan 1866, Emma, their eldest daughter married Joseph Snadden, second son of John M Snadden. John M Snadden ran the Bucks Head Hotel on the corner of Charles St and Napier St. John was from Alloa, Stirlingshire. Joseph was a iron moulder.

In October 1866, it appears that Sarah Martin may have become insolvent as a result of “Adverse judgement in the supreme court in an action of ejectment at the suit of John Wm. Thurland and Frances Hodgson, and from inability to pay the amount of taxed costs. Liabilities 75l 5s; assets, 5l; deficiency 70l 5s. Mr Goodman, official assignee.” I cannot find much on this and it needs further research.

June 1870: “On the 24th ult., at the residence of the bride’s mother, 152 Napier Street, Fitzroy, by the Rev. Mr Hamilton, Lemuel Clay, of Carlton, elder son of Samuel Clay of Richmond, to Laura Ursula Martin, youngest daughter of the late Mr Elisha Martin, of Fitzroy”

In November 1872, Sarah finalises her final will leaving her estate to her son and daughters (Probate Records)

Then in Jan 1873, Mrs S Martin passed away with the funeral leaving her home here. She was aged 55 years.

1875-1880 – Leonard Grimwood

1885 – No one is recorded at 152.

In April 1888, an advert ran looking for good machinists to make canvas shoes, to meet outside of 152 by H Hyams.

1890 – A Manachi

In 1892 the house was advertised for rent as a 5 roomed brick house, gas, bath, near Town Hall; rent moderate.

1895 – Frederick Barley

In January 1895, the owners advertised to buy a Hawkers Fruit Truck.

In June 1895, a rental room was advertised: “Comfortable furnished room, suit married couple or friends, 4s.: single, 2s 6d” and in November, the front room was advertised for a “lady at business : 3s.”.

The house was advertised again for full rental in May 1896, April 1897, March 1898, July 1899, October 1899, July 1900, March 1901, July 1902, December 1902

Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Map – 1899 – Map held by the State Library

1900 – Henry Bryan

Room advertised in 1904.

1905 – Mrs Margaret Butt

1910 – Thomas McRae

1915 – Mrs A E Murphy

1920 – Miss Catherine Fleming

This image (below in 1921) is of the road construction of Napier Street, looking south. You can see 168 Napier Street to the left, which is the two story building. Immediately below this image is the same streetscape today. You can see the buildings on the right had been removed in the 1969 for the housing commission building of Atherton Gardens.

Image held by Fitzroy Library. Two inch asphaltic concrete surface on a cement concrete foundation, twenty feet in width. Photo taken 1929.
Google Image – July 2019

1925 – Miss H Chemmings

1930 – Mrs Alice Benson

In October 1941, Emily May Thompson wife of Robert and loving mother of Jim, Mary, Laura and Bob, aged 53 passed away.

Image held by Fitzroy Library. 1975 – View of Fitzroy looking south from the Town Hall
Committee for Urban Action Photo (1970-1974) – held by the State Library. 168 is on the far left.
Committee for Urban Action Photo (1970-1974) – held by the State Library. 168 is on the far right
Photo by John T Collins – held by State Library – 1984 – 168 is on the far right slightly shaded by the tree.
Photo by John T Collins – held by State Library – 1984 – 168 is the two story house set between the two white houses.

3 thoughts on “168 Napier Street, Fitzroy

  1. Hi Each, I own 168 Napier Street Fitzroy and have been trying to research its history when I found your post. Would be keen to find out what else your research has yielded, and share what I know.

    1. Hi Lalita, Apologies for the delay responding – I have been overseas. Your place is amazing – the super large chimney is so dominating. I haven’t yet really dived into your place in any detail – so I would love to have any additional information that you know about it – and I might have a play and see what I can find.

    2. Hi Lalitha, please do come back and share what you know – I have added some more information about your house and people that lived there in 1865-1873, but I would love to know what you have discovered! Cheers Rachel

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: