COFFEE @ Blacksmith Cafe – Surry Hills 2010.
Opposite Prince Alfred Park, and located in the Cleveland Gardens Heritage Conservation Area, the Blacksmith Café & Bakery is an evocative and comfortable place to enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat.
In many ways the Blacksmith Café is reminiscent of a pub; dimly lit, high ceilings and a prized corner location. It’s a great spot for a clandestine get-together or business meeting. The space is filled with interesting details, including exposed brick walls, polished concrete floors and stacks of copper: copper light fittings, copper table tops, copper bathroom fittings, and even copper teaspoons and saucers.
The combination of bespoke fittings, furniture and second-hand pieces result in a captivating space that is so well matched to the building and its location.
The food and coffee was delicious and the portion sizes were very generous. Definitely worth a visit!!
NOW & THEN around Surry Hills, Sydney
Following European settlement, Surry Hills has been both admired for its ‘healthy breezes and beautiful views’ and criticised as a slum that propagates crime and immorality.
Most of Surry Hills became privately owned through land grants in the 1790s. Grazing in the area was encouraged and developed in a hope that it would assist with the food shortages of the colony.
Surprisingly, up until the late 1820s, Surry Hills was still considered to be ‘in the bush’ on Sydney Town’s outskirts. The economic boom of the 1830s accelerated the development of the area and a growing number of subdivisions lead to terrace houses becoming the dominate form of housing.
In the late 1800s the area’s population was almost 30,000; it was overcrowded, suffered from poor drainage and developed a reputation for crime. As with many of the inner-city suburbs of Sydney, World War II saw European migrants move into the area; finding the location convenient and affordable.
By the late 1900s, contemporary apartment buildings were added to the historic landscape. Today, Surry Hills is continuing to transform and evolve. Many buildings have been adaptively reused and areas previously occupied by the ‘rag trade’ have become a hub for media, design and professional services. Art galleries, furniture shops, cafes and pubs are also popular.
A photographic record of my visit to Surry Hills
When a building’s original form or function becomes inadequate or redundant, altering it and adapting it is the best way to provide for its future.
Surry Hills, with its mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial areas, demonstrates what is possible when the task of altering buildings in historically significant areas is tackled creatively. The images below showcase how some architects have approached this opportunity. Enjoy!!
It is common practice for additions to heritage listed terraces or terraces located within heritage conservation areas to be setback behind and below the ridgeline so that they cannot be seen from the street; corner blocks provide a great opportunity to view these modern additions.
The following are examples of contemporary street fencing in heritage conservation areas.
The following are examples of modern infill buildings in Surry Hills.
Surry Hills falls within the local government area of the City of Sydney. The City of Sydney Heritage Development Control Plan provides information and guidelines about caring for and making changes to heritage listed buildings and buildings within heritage conservation areas.
The document may also apply to buildings that are over fifty years old even if they are not heritage listed or within a heritage conservation area.
City of Sydney Council website, Dictionary of Sydney, Office of Environment & Heritage – State Heritage Inventory, Pictorial History South Sydney by Anne-Maree Whitaker.
Historical images courtesy Flickr Commons & the State Library of New South Wales.