Saltaire: 8 Thorn Street, Essendon. Melbourne, Victoria

Standing as a lone freestanding suburban terrace house overlooking Lincoln Park in Essendon is this landmark Victorian home in the Australian filigree style. The polychrome brick terrace has many classical features to indicate its Italiante style, while its overall composition is distinctively eclectic.


Photo by Alastair Lamont. All rights reserved. Used with permission


Saltaire: 8 Thorn Street. Essendon, Victoria

Above a bold cornice of classical dentils with alternative brackets and modillions is the step profile arch and scroll parapet inside of which is a prominent festoon framing the name of the terrace.  The parapet hides a hip and gable slate roof, however a tall and bulky Italianate chimney can be seen clearly from the street. The party walls are topped by urns with large vermiculated panels and acanthus scrolls facing the street.  The plain party walls on either side are offset by staggered rendered brick emulating quoins and otherwise feature only the occasional metal structural brace.  The double storey verandah features a visible skillion roof with fringes and brackets in cast iron lace.  Relatively thick classical style cast iron columns provide bold symmetry to the facade and give it a focal point.

The upper storey verandah balcony has a delicate but thick repetitive fern like cast iron pattern.  The windows, doors and corner brickwords are dressed in zig-zag polychrome.  There are two large french windows on the upper storey with a large round arched door with fanlight and sidelights.  A large three panel window opening with cast iron column dividers provides ample light to the front rooms.

The Leach family lived there around the turn of the century.   Today Saltaire is remains a private four bedroom residence which retains many original features preserved through contemporary makeovers including its high celings, a formal parlour, dining room with original roses, cornices and marble fireplaces.  Sympathetic recent additions include a carport in polychrome brick and a replica palisade style fence to frame the small front courtyard while its neighbours mostly date to the 1970s.

I’m not certain of the construction date or architect, however give the style I would imagine it to date to somewhere between 1887 and 1888.  At the time it was built, Essendon was a rapidly developing township stopover between Melbourne and the Mount Alexander (now Castlemaine) gold mines and some terraces were built near the centre of the town close to the railway station.  The home has heritage protection under the City of Moonee Valley Planning Scheme, being positioned at the edge of heritage overlay HO1.

It is likely that the terrace was named for the Victorian industrial model village Saltaire by the River Aire in West Yorkshire, England.

Big thanks to reader Alastair for sending through photos and info.

One Response to “Saltaire: 8 Thorn Street, Essendon. Melbourne, Victoria”

  • Stewart Macdonald:

    To the best of my knowledge , Saltaire was built from bricks from HAZZARD’S brick pit . This was located behind the former Brickmakers Arms Hotel between Brewster and Glass streets. See Walking Melbourne Forums. Only other building that I know of that used these bricks was Essendon Grammar Junior in Raleigh St.Saltaire was probably built in the 1890’s with plans to build a row of terrace houses but with the property collapse at that time only Saltaire was completed. Regards Stewart

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