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Later aka Bannister Street Workshops, Bannister Street Craftworks, Lot 428, 8 Bannister St, 1893, built for George Alfred Davies in 1893. The Davies family also owned Lots 420 and 421 on High Street. Lot 421 backed directly onto Lot 428. The three lots were therefore one continuous piece of land. One of George's sons was named Grosvenor Aubrey (bp. 1891). Edward William Davies (1855-1904) had a son-in-law called Frederick Grosvenor.
Bannister Street was named after Captain T. Bannister who was the buyer of the first allotment in Fremantle. He was an early explorer and at one time the Government Resident in Town.
George Davies (1776-1853) arrived in Fremantle on the 'Quebec Trader' in 1834. He purchased land in Fremantle between 1851-1859 including Lots 420, 421, 428 (8 Bannister) 429, 430, 455 and 456. He was married to Hannah Davies who died in 1896. George Davies (1776-1853) was the father of Alfred Alexander Davies (1811/13-1875) whose son was named George Alfred Davies (1846-1897).
In 1889 the Fremantle Council granted to George Alfred Davies approval on Lot 428 to construct a warehouse and cellar in Bannister Street Fremantle. The Rates Books show that what is now known as 8 Bannister Street was built in 1893 as a wine store and stable for George A. Davies. Two warehouses, cellars and stables were soon on the site.
George Davies had formed his own business after working with his father for a decade who like his father was noted as a brewer, merchant, pawnbroker and he also was a cooper (barrel maker).
As a vintner, George A. Davies sold spirits but he became well known for his wine, which he bottled and sold at premises known as the ‘Grosvenor Cellars’, in Bannister Street in Fremantle. ‘Grosvenor Cellars’ made port, sherries, muscats and a pale ale beer called Magpie Beer.
The cellars also held bottling equipment, which enabled his business to buy in grapes to help fill the supply of his sought after wines. It was noted that, 'The cellars are large and extensive and replete with very convenience for the bottling of the precious liquid.' In 1892 Davies was one of only three people who had a colonial wine licence in Fremantle.
George married Letitia (Letty) King (1853-1948), in Fremantle in 1875 and they had at nine children. Following George’s death Letty returned to England with most of the children.
As well as being a prominent business man, having constructed the Oddfellows Hotel (now Norfolk Hotel) in Fremantle in 1887, George A. Davies was a Councillor for the first Town Council formed in 1871 and a Fremantle Mayor in 1894. As an active community member he supported the the idea of public ownership and instigated the sea baths at Arthur Head.
George Davies constructed ‘Grosvenor’, 151 South Street Beaconsfield (later Grosvenor Hospital and currently Beacon Yoga) which became his residence. The family also owned extensive land in the area after the taking over the Curedale farm following its foreclosure. The land comprised approximately 80 acres and included vineyards and dwellings. It is unknown where the name ‘Grosvenor’ originated however there was ...[text breaks off like that in the online page]
In 1910, the warehouse at 8 Bannister Street was rented by Walter Mews (married to Sophia nee Davies) who used the office, factory and cellars and made confectionery there. He had previously been located next door on lot 430 since 1899. In 1950 Abraham Tate bought the site from the Davies estate which following Letitia’s death comprised only of two brothers of George. By this time the property had been in the Davies family for approximately 100 years.
The building was later a printing shop before becoming vacant.
The 1916 sewerage map shows the warehouse as a brick construction with two large cellars below and a brick residence with front and rear verandahs and stable on the eastern side.
In 1978, the owners, RSL Wyola Club, wanted to demolish it for a carpark. The place was saved by businessman and former Claremont footballer John Dethridge and Fremantle architect Brian Klopper, who leased and restored the building in 1979. In 1980 the Bannister Street workshops were opened 7/11/1980 for the use of craftspeople, keeping alive traditional skills such as pottery, shoe making, stained glass making, weaving, toy making, jewellery, wood turning and blacksmithing. In 1980 the inaugural Fremantle Award was given, and Dethridge and Klopper were 'praised for their sympathetic approach to development in Fremantle.'
Fremantle Library photo #LH005404, Brent Sumner, 1986: Left: Rish Gordon (Glass engraver/painter) Right: Alasdair Gordon (glass maker) The Bannister Street Craftworks opened in December 1979 as a cooperative for West Australian craftspeople to create, produce and market their wares at one venue. Originally known as the Bannister Street Workshops, the name change occurred in 1985.
Commercial Building, 8-12 Bannister Street is a two storey English bond brick building. There are stone walls to the ground floor sides and rendered banding across the windows and string course. The building has a zero setback from the pavement and engaged pilasters rising through to the simple parapet. The ground floor has large windows above the low tongue and groove timber doors over the basement level openings, either side of the large central opening, which is four French doors with large arched top lights. The windows are split paned sash with slightly arched fanlights above.
Statement of Significance
Commercial Building, 8-12 Bannister Street, a fine two storey face brick and iron warehouse constructed by 1893 and is of considerable heritage significance for the following reasons:
the place is of aesthetic value as a substantially intact example of a early Federation Warehouse style building in its own right and for its contribution to the character of the streetscape and West End Conservation Area;
the place has historic significance as a late nineteenth century warehouse demonstrating the features of a building designed for the preparation, storage and handling of goods including wine and spirits at the beginning of the gold boom period, and;
for its associations as being built for the significant landowner, businessman and politician George Arthur Davies demonstrating an aspect of his commercial investments and continued ownership of the Davies family;
the place is of social significance as a sense of place to the community of Fremantle and for its 1980 adaptation by architect Brian Klopper.
The house next to the warehouse, at 8 Bannister Street.
The same house being repaired in 2021; photo courtesy of Roel Loopers.
Roel Loopers photo (thank you) and comment: "What must be the longest ever building project in Fremantle, if not the world, has finally been completed. Work on the heritage cottage in Bannister Street started 723BC (Before Covid), but they got there at last ..."
Heritage Council page, as republished above.
Martyr, Philippa & Aleksandar Janca 2011, 'A mad mayor of Fremantle: the mysterious illness of Edward Davies', Australasian Psychiatry - source of Frederick Grosvenor's name.
Garry Gillard | New: 29 July, 2016 | Now: 3 June, 2022