63 Napier St, Fitzroy

William Blanchfield is recorded as living at 55 Napier St in 1867, this was later known as 63 Napier Street, Fitzroy in 1872 from 1867 until at least 1886. The house is owed by the Estate of Bedgood and was originally owned by Mrs Bedgood.

It was initially a stone shop with 2 rooms. At this time William is recorded as a grocer. (Australian Rate Books 1867-1872) From 1874, Blanchfield is the owner and the rate books record it as a brick shop of 6 rooms and also owns the 6 room building at 65 Napier St, as well as both 73-75 Napier St (from 1877). Later the property is likely numbered 83 Napier St after 1887/1888.

He was appointed as the Agent for the Advocate (newspaper) for the area of Fitzroy (The Advocate – several advertisements).

William Blanchfield was recorded as being insolvent in 1867 (The Argus, 6 March 1867). At the time William was living in Collingwood. His profession is recorded as a lamplighter (which he later returns to). He is also a grocer and lives in a shop owned by Mrs Bedgood and later her estate and also is a builder. He is recorded in the Burchett index having built a cottage on the corner of Little Napier St and Webb St in 1870. This cottage no longer exists and was probably one of the slum cottages where the Atherton Reserve is. In fact, all of these houses are likely no longer to exist today.

He had also previously requested tenders for slaterers (The Argus, 30 November 1869). Plasters for three cottages (The Argus, 2 December 1869), brickwork for the property on the corner of Little Napier St and Webb st (The Argus, 21 January 1870). And then in 1870 advertises a Hotel in Fitzroy to rent, that is new (The Argus, 11 Mar 1870).

Blanchfield later advertises first for a mason (10 April 1876), then advertises for plasters for two two-story houses (28 April 1876), bricklayer (12 April 1876) and then subsequently advertises the sale of 75 Napier Street, a new home (The Argus, 19 July 1876). It appears though that he keeps 73 and 75 (later numbered in the 90’s) as rental properties. He later also owns 119.

William and his wife Catherine have at least one child, but she passes away at 3months of age (The Argus, 25 Jun 1870). It is unknown if he has any further children or if any survive him.

Blanchfield is also a contracted lamp lighter in Fitzroy and North Fitzroy. There are several notices of appointment and advertisements also for boys to help light the lamps. On 2 Feb 1875, the Argus also ran the following:

The Argus, 2 February 1875

William Blanchfield then in 1886 became the licensed publican of the Council Club Hotel on Napier St and moves to this address. The Hotel is owned by Carlton United and is recorded as an 8 room hotel. (Australian Rate Books)

William Blanchfield’s wife Catherine passed away at her home, the Council Club Hotel, aged 50 years (The Australasian 25 June 1887) and was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery on 22 June 1887.

Blanchfield seems likely to have stayed as the Publican at the Council Club Hotel until 1892/93.

It is a strange story, from bankruptcy through to owning at least 5 houses in Fitzroy. One part that makes it stranger is that he rented initially from Mrs Bedgood and then from her estate. The estate owned the house until at least 1872, then by 1877 it is owned by Blanchfield. It appears he may have given Mrs Bedgood’s son a home for some years, but what is not clear is whether he inherited and blew his inheritance or something more sinister?

Mercury and Weekly Courier22 March 1884

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: