This photograph was taken in c. 1950 within the saloon bar of Scotts Hotel, Melbourne.
Scotts Hotel was situated at 444 Collins St, built in 1860 and substantially remodelled in 1913-14 under a design by the architect, Arthur H Fisher.
The hotel was originally known as “the city home of country people” and stood on the north side of Collins St opposite the western market of Melbourne, defined today by Market St.
The site was first occupied by the Lamb Inn in 1837, renovated as the Clarendon Family Hotel in 1852 and then purchased by Edward Scott in 1860.
Scotts Hotel was renowned for the pastoral property auctions held there, as the gathering place for racehorse owners and breeders, as the Melbourne residence of English cricketers like WG Grace and as Dame Nellie Melba’s favourite hotel.
The prestige of the hotel had diminished by the mid-20th century and ceased trading in 1961 when the building was purchased by the Royal Insurance Company, ending its claim to be the oldest continuously licensed site in Victoria.
The photograph, by Edwin G Adamson (1895-1974) shows male customers in the saloon bar where prices were higher than in the public bar with barmaids coping with demand for drinks before the rigidly enforced 6 o’clock closing and “Time, gentlemen, please”.
Scotts Hotel was demolished in 1962, before 10 o’clock closing came to Melbourne in February 1966.
This photograph is one of the many held at The Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the city of Melbourne’s historical society.
Currently on display at the RHSV is the exhibition Remembering the ‘burbs 1850 – 1960 – a reflection on the changing suburban industry, economy, recreation and buildings of 22 of Melbourne’s suburbs. Drawn from local historical societies the exhibition showcases the vanishing lifestyle of Melbourne’s suburbs.
The RHSV is open Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm. Friday 10am – 3pm
239 A’Beckett St, Melbourne