75-79 Webb Street, Fitzroy

Back in 1865, this location was 20 Webb Street (between George Street and Gore Street), with vacant allotments on the Gore St Side and G.G. Wise and vacant allotments on the George St side. (Sands & MacDougall 1865), but by 1870, the numbering had changed, and strangely between George and Gore, there was Robert Hitchcock, a carpenter at number 53, Mrs. Wise at number 59, Flintoff and Co, cordial manufacturers at number 57 and Henry G. Ball at number 71. (Sands & MacDougall 1870). The numbers were then 77-79 Webb Street as documented by the MMBW Map 1899, and now 75-179 Webb street as show on the front of these buildings in the Google image below.

75-79 Webb St – Google Images – July 2019

While some sources say this was demolished, I think they may mean that it was extensively remodelled, but the window pattern on the left looks the same and you can see the print of the window pattern on the right. The inner centre had been fully rebuilt as has the second story. But they are in an identical location.

Loading casks at George Wilson and Co. wholesale wine and spirit merchants in Webb Street, c. 1862 (Photo Davies & Co, La Trobe Collection, State Library of Victoria) – Sourced from Fitzroy Melbourne’s First Suburb.
MMBW Map 1899 – You can see the factory located at 77-79

George Wilson (Cordial Maker)

According to the Nomination to Heritage Victoria – Queens Parade Shopping Precinct (2019) In “1856 Flintoff was working in conjunction with an early Fitzroy manufacturer named George Wilson in a cordial manufacturing business. In 1860 they built a three-storey
brick factory at 97 Webb Street, Fitzroy. Flintoff also established an import and commission agency at 13 Market Street in Melbourne. When George Wilson died in 1869 Flintoff became the sole proprietor, trading as Flintoff & Co. dealing in a variety of beverages which included wines, liqueurs, cordial and malting vinegar.
” However I don’t think it was three-storey, the Northern Suburbs Factory Study of 1992, suggests it was two storey, and this would better fit with the photo above from Fitzroy, Melbourne’s First Suburb. I also think the address may have been 79 Webb Street and that the reference to 97 may have been inverted, as 97 is located between Gore Street and Smith Street and the location of the business was very clearly between George Street and Gore Street in the Sands & MacDougall records.

Thomas Flintoff (Mixed professions)

According to the Nomination to Heritage Victoria – Queens Parade Shopping Precinct (2019) “Thomas Flintoff benefitted from the goldrush by providing for the needs of the miners, rather than seeking gold himself. Flintoff was born in 1827 into a well to do farming family in Yorkshire England. He was the only member of his family to emigrate. He was educated at a grammar school and later assisted his father in managing the farm. In 1854 when he was 28, he and his 18-year-old wife Margaret landed in Sydney, but moved to Melbourne later that year. After working with Wilson, in 1868 Flintoff purchased from Theodore Sabelberg allotments 6 and 7, section 16, North Fitzroy, a block measuring 200 by 250 feet, with a frontage to Queens Parade. It was mortgaged to Messrs. Cutts, Masterton and Webb. On it he built a substantial slate roofed brick house with extensive outbuildings, as a home for his family. He refinanced the mortgage in 1871. By the date they moved to Queens Parade the Flintoffs had five daughters. This can be seen as part of a widespread movement of many
residents from the overcrowded and, being before the date of the sewage system, insanitary conditions of Fitzroy, to the more spacious and salubrious conditions of the well planned new suburb of North Fitzroy. James Greenlaw and William Fergie were amongst other prosperous Fitzroy business owners who emulated Flintoff. By the 1870s Flintoff’s business declined, and in 1874 he was declared bankrupt. This may have been partly caused by a mild recession that occurred in those years, but more likely by Flintoff’s lack of business acumen. The Insolvency
Court attributed his financial collapse to an accumulation of bad debts and to the depreciation in the value of the freehold property. This became apparent when in 1875 the Queens Parade property and the cordial factory, which by that date had been converted into the Shamrock Brewery and leased to a brewer, were auctioned. There was a shortfall between his assets and liabilities of £475.

East Melbourne Conservation Study collection 1979 – sourced from Flickr – Graeme Butler

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