333 Smith Street, Fitzroy (Birmingham Hotel)

The hotel, located on the South West Corner of Smith and Johnston Streets was built in 1853. (Hotels of Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola Piccolo (1978))

The Hotel

The relatively unadorned façade of the hotel has its main feature the shallow arched openings on the ground floor – a favourite motif of Early Victorian architecture. The name and date of the hotel carved on the parapet was probably added during the 1880’s in the fever of High Victorianism; while the glazed vitreous tiles were added during the early 1900’s when they were particularly fashionable” Hotels of Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola Piccolo (1978).

The list of Publicans (according to Piccolo) were:

  • Thomas Cook – 9 Dec 1854

In September 1856, the Pub served as a polling booth for the election. It served the area around St Marks’ with A-K attending the Liverpool Arms and L-Z the Birmingham Hotel (The Argus, 24 Sep 1856, p.5)

  • William Fisher – 1857 (with Henry Groom noted in the Melbourne Directory for 1860)

In April 1859, the building behind the Hotel on Smith Street was sold by Mr Stubbs at a public auction on the site. At the same time, Mr. Stubbs also sold Nos. 187 and 88 Johnston street Abbotsford (near the Ullswater Cottage), using the Pub as the venue for the auctions (The Argus, 29 April 1859).

Tenders wanted to put in six Ventilators. Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy” (the Argus, 10 April 1861, p.8, Advertising)

  • J Goodal – 1863

Plaster wanted for a small job. Between 10 and 11 o’clock. Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy” (The Argus, 6 Jan 1863, p.1, Advertising)

  • William Wallace – 24/4/1865
  • William Dalziel – 1865

New Insolvents – Joseph Love, of the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, publican, Causes of insolvency: Falling off in business and bad debts. Liabiliites L229 17s. 11d.; assets L372 14s; deficiency L77 3s 7d. Mr. Shaw official assignee “(The Herald, 29 Aug 1865, p.3, New Insolvents).

  • James Moore to William C Hill – 26/5/1866

Wanted, two stonecutters, aslo two men for pitching. Apply Birmingham Hotel, Smith Street, Fitzroy.” (The Argus, 24 Jan 1866, p.1, Advertising)

  • William Hale – 1866
  • William Kennedy – 1867
  • E F Lakeman – 1869
  • J W Doran – 1870
  • William Gaynor 1871 (1871 Rate Book – Brick building, 13 rooms)
  • Henry Spearman – 1874
  • H Butler – 1875
  • Samuel Bailey – 1876

J Kibble, hotelkeeper, Echuca, was summoned to the District Police Court yesterday for L1, 3s, 5d., for gas furnished by the Collingwood Gas Company to the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy. It appeared, however that Kibble was the wrong man. He had some idea of purchasing the hotel, and lodged there for a certain period, and superintended and checked the takings, in order to ascertain the amount of trade done, but the negotiation came to nothing, and he went to Echuca, whence he had now been brought. It was during the time that he was living in the hotel that the gas was consumed, and the company sued him as if he had been the landlord. The Bench dismissed the case with L3 3s costs against the company” (The Argus, 22 April 1876, p.7)

Wanted, Painter, Apply Birmingham Hotel, corner smith and Johnston streets.” (The Argus, 12 December 1876, p.1)

  • John Dingle – 1881 -1882
  • James Lucas – 1882

Painters – For painting and paperhanging, till 7.30 this evening. Specifications, Birmingham Hotel, Smiths St, Fitzroy.” (The Argus, 25 Aug 1882, p.1, Advertising).

  • Alfred Summers – 1887

Birmingham Hotel, corner Johnston and Smith Street, Fitzroy. You can see in the photo below the Hotel on the right. The description below the photo is from Collingwood Library and only details what is on the Collingwood side of the street.

Intersection of Smith and Johnston Streets looking south – A view along Smith Street showing Moran and Cato’s grocery, Peters and Co., J.E. Booth’s chemist shop, Allan’s photographic studio, various other shops, a number 170 cable tram and several horses and carts. Content of image: Moran and Cato ; Peters and Co. ; Booth, J.E. ; Allan’s Photographic Studio roads and streets streets – smith street – Image Held by the Collingwood Library c. 1887
  • William Mackay – 1888

First class new Billiard Room, well appointed, attached to Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy is now open. William McKay” (The Age, 8 Sep 1888, p.10, Advertising).

A strange robbery of jewellery was reported to the police yesterday, by Mr. Macarty, licensee of the Birmingham Hotel, Smith Street, Fitzroy. It appears that on Christmas night Mr Macarty placed all his takings in a chest of drawers upstairs. On the following day he proceeded as usual with his business and on finishing for the night, went upstairs to deposit a further amount of money in the same chest of drawers. To his surprise, he found that some thief had been there and had robbed him. The amount stolen was L45 in notes, gold and silver, and L45 worth of jewellery” (The Argus, 28 December 1888, p.6, Robbery of Money and of Jewellery)

  • John Allen – 1891 (1891 Rate Book – Brick Building 15 rooms)

A young man named Henry Patterson, charged with the larceny of three billiard balls, the property of John Allen, of the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, on 4th March last, was found guilty of receiving and recommended for sentence” (The Age, 6 May 1897, p.6, Melbourne General Sessions).

MMBW Map 1900 showing the Birmingham Hotel
  • Matthew Allen 1904-1908

“Mills – On the 7th August, at her residence, 172 Boundary Road, North Melbourne, Emma Mary, the beloved wife of Peter Mills, tanner, North Melbourne, also daughter of Mrs. William Johnson, Brunswick; sister of Mrs. J. Allen, Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy; Mrs W Dully, Mrs H Messent, London and Mr F W Johnson, butcher, Brunswick, late of Maldon, Victoria, aged 37 years.” (The Age, 8 Aug 1904, p.1, Family Notices)

Baird-Allen – On the 26th December, 1904, at St Mark’s Church, Fitzroy, by Rev. E. Snodgrass, Hugh Pollock, youngest son of the late William Baird to Rachel, eldest daughter of Mrs Mathew Allen, Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy” (Leader, 11 Feb 1905, p.43, Family Notices).

Image held by Fitzroy Library. Taken from the Collingwood and Fitzroy illustrated Directory and Handbook, 1905.

“Lester-Allen – On the 13th of June, 1906, at the West Melbourne Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. James Gibson, Percy James Lester, of North Fitzroy to Agnes, third daughter of Matthew Allen, of Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy” (The Argus, 18 Feb 1907, p.1, Family Notices).

Hotel Transfers – Transfers of publicans’ licence were on Monday granted by Judge Moule as follows: – Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, from Matthew Allen to Eliza J Tiernan” (The Age, 16 Dec 1908, p.11, Hotel Transfers)

Eliza J Tiernan – 1908

A boarder at the Birmingham Hotel appears to commit suicide at the Coffee Palace Melbourne – note: refer to research in ‘Project Fitzroy Pubs’.

Frederick William Knaus – ?-1912

Licences transferred Mon 4 Mar 1912: Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, Frederick William Knaus to Eliza Jane Knaus (The Argus, 6 Mar 1912, p.10, Licensing Act. Metropolitan Court).

Eliza Jane Knaus 1912-1917

Licenses transferred – Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy: Eliza J Knaus to Mary Lyons (The Argus, 23 May 1917, p.13, Licences transferred)

Mary Lyons 1917-1918

Licenses transferred – Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy: Elizabeth Prentice to Mary Lyons (granted Monday 2 September 1918) (The Argus, 3 Sep 1918, p.3, Licenses Transferred). While the paper says this went from Elizabeth Prentice to Mary Lyons, I think it actually went from Mary Lyons to Elizabeth Prentice.

Elizabeth Prentice – Sep 1918 – April 1919

Licenses transferred – Birmingham Hotel, South Fitzroy: Elizabeth Prentice to Annie Dwyer; (published in The Age 16 April 1919, p.13, Deprivation of Licences)

Annie Dwyer – April 1919 – ?

? McRae – 1928

“Unauthorised Trading – Donald McRae, of the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy was charged at the Fitzroy Court on Thursday with having, on February 3 supplied liquor in such circumstances, that had he been the licensee he would have been liable to a penalty. Frederick Goves, Barkly Street, Brunswick , was charged with having carried away liquor and with having been found on the premises during unauthorised hours. Constable McGill said: – During the evening I had the rear of the hotel under observation. I intercepted a man who had a number of bottles in his possession . Mc Rae is the father of the licensee. McRae was fined L2 and on each of the two charges Groves was fined L1. On the bench were Messrs. T D O’Callaghan, P.M. and J.A. Campbell J. P.” (The Argus, 20 Feb 1928)

Donald McRae, passes away in 1938, at this stage he was the licensee of the Crown Hotel, Buninyong. Donald is known for his amazing ability as a hurdler in the 1890’s. (Sporting Globe, 1 Sep 1937, p.5, Passing of Veterans)

George Archibald Wallis – 1931

“Charges at Fitzroy – At the Fitzroy Court yesterday, George Archibald Wallis, licensee at the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, was charged with having sold liquor and permitted persons on his licensed premises in prohibited hours on April 28. Cecil Britton(sp?) of Sackville Street, Collingwood was charged with having been on licensed premises and carried liquor away from them in prohibited hours and with having thrown glass on the roadway. Britton? was fined L1 for having thrown glass on the road. L1 for having been on the hotel premises and L1 for having carried away liquor in prohibited hours. The charge against Willis of having sold liquor was dismissed, but he was fined L1 ? having permitted persons to be on his premises during prohibited hours. (The Argus, 5 Jun 1931, p.3, Licensing Prosecutions)

“Edward Charles Duff, aged 27 years, labourer, of Shepparton, appeared at the City Court on Monday to answer a charge of having inflicted grievous bodily harm on Thomas Hill, Condell Street Fitzroy. He was remanded to appear at the Fitzroy Court on October 19. Bail was allowed at 100 pounds with a similar surety. Hill, who was treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital on Saturday evening for a wound in the chest, alleged to the police that Duff stabbed him with a pocket knife following an argument which took place in the Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy.” (The Argus, 13 Oct 1931, p.8, Alleged Stabbing)

Three years after this ‘fight’ in 1934, there was another such incident, but this time it featured Clement Arthur Hill of Condell Street Fitzroy (perhaps brother of Thomas), maliciously wounding Francis Charles Aiken a barman at the Birmingham. Aiken had tried to remove Hill from the pub and was hit in the eye with the a 3/4 bottle of wine which landed him in hospital. Hill was found guilty (See Project Fitzroy Pubs).

George Kanake – ? – Mar 1936

“Birmingham Hotel (Fitzroy) George Kanake to Robert Walter Billman” (Shepparton Advertiser, 24 Mar 1936, p.5, Hotel Changes)

Robert Walter Billman (Hiliman?) – Mar 1936 – Aug 1939

“100 pounds disappears from Hotel – Mr Robert Hiliman, licensee of the Birmingham Hotel, at Fitzroy, hid 100 pounds in a store-room at the hotel on Saturday evening and when he went to get it on Sunday afternoon, it had disappeared. The money was in cash in three canvas bags and someone forced the store-room door.” (The Herald, 7 Aug 1939, p.18)

“Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy: Stephen William John Ahlberg to Keith Ernest Keillor” (The Argus, 4 Mar 1941, p.2, Hotel Transfers).

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