A Brief History of the London Hotel

The London Family Hotel held the best position of all Port Melbourne’s waterfront pubs, next to the Station and nearest to Railway/Station Pier.

London balcony 1937 (1)

Meet me at the London 1930 image – Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

There was a time when this 28 room hotel was the most grand in Sandridge, which can be attested to by valuations of over twice as much as that of any other hotel.

It began as, and still is, the London – although various licensees have from time to time briefly used their own names, or removed or added the words ‘Family’ or ‘Tavern’. These included original licensee James Garton. Others were Cohn’s 1867-69, Weber’s in 1870 and Urquhart’s London Family in 1872.

Even though publican Alfred Lewis Nathan remained here for 35 years from 1887, he refrained from using his name, as did the McCluskys.

John and Eileen McClusky owned the London from the 1920s to the 1940s. Their children grew up here. Son John McClusky later founded Port Melbourne’s long-standing firm of Bay St solicitors, McClusky’s, which currently owns and occupies Bay Street’s historic Sandridge watchhouse and bluestone lock-up.

Several members of the McLusky family are among this group of anti-prohibitioners, all wearing their NO buttons.

London social club

image – Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

John sr died in 1935 and Eileen continued to run the London. She later married William Gregson who joined her there. She was also later licensee at the Flower Hotel and the Fountain Inn.

The London is one of the Port pubs that were done up towards the end of the 1930s in Moderne, art deco style. Decorative Victorian structures were simplified, often rounded at the corners, to create the streamlined flavour of the times.

Text and images from 

Grainger, P (2007) Chartered scoundrels: A brief history of Port Melbourne hotels  Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

More images of the London

London Family Hotel 1967, Lyle Fowler, State Library of Victoria 1967 Note that this image is in copyright

Beach Street, Sandridge from Mitchell’s London Family Hotel (corner Railway Place), nd State Library of New South Wales

 

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