Lynton & Torquay: 13-15 Simpson Street. East Melbourne, Victoria
This pair of beautifully preserved row of two double storey boom style Victorian terrace houses, while of similar form to many others of its period and in the classical style has some interesting features which set them apart, demonstrating a clearly free-classical spirit.
The pair of villas has their names “Lynton” (13) and “Torquay” (15) on the parapets of each. These are in the form of little aedicule like spaces on their semicircular pediments which are propped up by miniature ornamental columns. The bracketed cornice projects slightly under each to complete the temple effect. Continuing the theme of circles is a blind balustrade which tops the parapet, a repetitive circle pattern.
The party walls on this row of terraces appears particularly thick. This is accentuated by double corbels marking the first level and a wide leaf like motif on the upper verandah party wall. Small pinnacles, rather than urns, top the pilasters which continue the party walls to the parapet. The terraces themselves are quite wide looking, accentuated by a total of three classically dressed tall openings (one of them which doubles as a door) with double hung windows an elaborate string course. At the lower level the doors and main halls are side by side on the inner side of the terrace. Two bay windows to complete the symmetry but these are notably wider and less angular than others and feature streamlined rounded rectangular openings as does the doorway which is surrounded by etched glass panels.
The iron lacework is particularly interesting. It is quite restrained, less functional and almost purely decorative with only very fine detailed corner brackets and deliberate gaps between the first storey balustrade. A single cast iron corinthian column frames the doorway and gravitates toward the centre party wall. The cast iron fence is also quite light and airy and appears to be original.
I’m not certain of the architect or date although I’d expect they would have been built around 1888.
Lynton and Torquay are provided some heritage protection through the City of Melbourne’s heritage overlay HO2
I live at 15 Simpson Street. It has been lovingly preserved. 15 Simpson Street is divded into four apartments, two downstairs and two upstairs; but without ruining the house. We all call it ‘the house’. More recently I have given the front garden an overhaul – now has gardenias and roses.
Next door at 13 Simpson Street is still one family home, but was used as some sort of medical office in the past.
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