Corner of Little Collins Street & Bank Place, Melbourne
Stalbridge Chambers was one of a number of multi-level office/commercial buildings erected in Melbourne during the Land Boom towards the end of the nineteenth century. The use of iron frame construction enabled an economy of scale in building taller. Lifts enabled landlords to let the floors on higher levels at the same rents as lower floors. Previously higher floors, only accessible by stairs, returned lower rents.
Stalbridge Chambers was completed in mid 1891, and was built for R C Brown the President of the Builders and Contractors Association. In addition to office suites it contained a hotel, and on its ground floor were shops. Stalbridge Chambers was designed by the architect D C Askew (Twentyman & Askew).
Other multi-level office buildings of this period included the Australian Building in Elizabeth Street, and three office blocks built in Queen Street by F W Prell, all built as speculative developments. Stalbridge Chambers, and the National Mutual Life Association building at the southwest corner of Queen and Collins Streets, are two notable examples of these early multi-level Victorian buildings remaining in Melbourne.
Source of photograph: State Library of Victoria Picture Collection