By Cathy Jones
William Small, who lived at ‘Glencona’ 10 Wakeford Road Strathfield, was the managing director of the Hotel Metropole in Sydney until he retired in 1925. Small considered the Hotel his life’s work and was involved before it opened in 1890 until his retirement. The Hotel Metropole was one of Sydney’s most famous and luxurious hotels. It was located in Sydney with frontages on Young, Bent and Phillip Streets and cost £150,000 pounds to build. The preparation of the designs and architectural work was attributed jointly to architects Sheerin and Hennessy, of Sydney, and Twentyman and Askew, of Melbourne, according to a long article on the Hotel in the Sydney Mail in 1896. The article refers to the ‘prototype’ Hotel Metropoles in London and Paris, which indicates that there was an established style and design of the Metropole hotels.
The London Hotel Metropole was opened in 1885, according to an article by Adrian Mourby at https://famoushotels.org/news/the-corinthia-london-the-metropole
There are some similarities between the London Metropole and Sydney Metropole. Of course, the main difference is the London Metropole is still standing (now the Corinthia London, visit https://www.corinthia.com/london), while in Sydney, the hotel was demolished in 1969. The other Sydney luxury hotel of this period was the Hotel Australia, which William Small was a director, when the Hotel Australia was partly owned by the Hotel Metropole. The Hotel Australia was located where the MLC Building in Martin Place now stands, after it was demolished in 1971.
The Sydney Mail in 1896 wrote:
‘The furnishing and fitting of the hotel are sumptuous to a degree. Nothing has been overlooked, and every convenience which the advancement of our modern civilisation requires has been provided by the enterprising management. The bedrooms are a picture of neatness and comfort, and the sitting and retiring rooms are the acme of luxury. Great taste has been exercised in the selection of the furniture, the carpets, the hangings, and other multiform means of decoration; and in the arrangement of these things an artistic and striking effect has been produced. Mr. W. P. Small, the managing director of the company, visited England specially to choose the furniture and carpets, and his selection is most elegant.’
‘Glencona’ 10 Wakeford Road Strathfield is a heritage listed Victorian villa and was built in 1895 for William Paul Small and his wife Annie. Annie was the daughter of William Beaumont (1814-1904), a prominent early resident of Strathfield who lived at ‘Presteign’ The Boulevarde Strathfield. Click here for more information on Glencona.
Jones, C (2023), Glencona 10 Wakeford Rd Strathfield, https://strathfieldheritage.com/streetnames/wakeford-road-strathfield/glencona-10-wakeford-rd-strathfield/
Hotel Metropole, Bent, Phillip, and Young Streets, Sydney. (1896, October 24). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 – 1912), p. 855. Retrieved April 21, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163786550
Hotel Metropole, Powerhouse Museum, https://collection.maas.museum/object/31753