The National Trust opposes the proposed demolition of the former Globe Theatre in Sydney

The National Trust (NSW) has put in a submission to the City of Sydney to oppose the proposed demolition of the former Globe Theatre, designed in 1914 by Clarence Backhouse.

The Globe Theatre, located on George Street in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, is the imposing two-storey building beside the former Gowings store. It was designed by Clarence Backhouse.

What is special about The Globe Theatre?

The theatre’s Romanesque style façade has been a landmark with irreplaceable streetscape value for more than 105 years, mirroring the style of the Queen Victoria Building opposite.

It is historically significant as Sydney’s only surviving Victorian Romanesque style theatre, as a broadcasting studio for Radio Station 2UW, as the first recording studio for Albert Productions and the first demo recordings for the Australian group The Easybeats.

The Globe Theatre is one of the earliest surviving movie theatres constructed in Australia. During its operation it screened such notable films as the premiere of the lost film The Unknown (1915) filmed in Newcastle. Its biggest hit came in 1922, when Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik played for 26 weeks.

Clarence Backhouse also designed the Palace Theatre in Pitt Street in 1896 which was demolished in 1970 for the construction of the Hilton Hotel. Fifty years after the Palace Theatre demolition, Backhouse’s other work, the Globe Theatre, is also proposed for demolition for a hotel. Sydney has a very poor record demolishing its historic theatres and cinemas.

“It is extraordinary that such a historic landmark building has no statutory heritage protection, neither listing on the State Heritage Register nor local heritage listing on the Sydney Local Environmental Plan,” said Graham Quint, Director, Conservation at the National Trust (NSW). “But the Globe Theatre was listed on the National Trust Register in 2017 with the Trust now leading the campaign to save this rare theatre.”

The adjoining Dudley House designed by architects Burcham Clamp and McKeller, was erected in 1923 and has high aesthetic significance as a building representative of a combination of architectural influences – Federation Free Classical, Federation Arts and Crafts and Inter-War Chicagoesque styles. It is also threatened with demolition for construction of the new hotel. Despite its listing on the National Trust Register 26 years ago in June, 1993, it has no statutory heritage protection.

What action is the National Trust (NSW) taking?

The National Trust has requested the making of an Interim Heritage Order by the Heritage Council of NSW to allow time for the heritage significance of these two buildings to be properly investigated.

The National Trust (NSW) will update its members and subscribers through our emailed Advocacy Update. Members will also be updated on this campaign in the quarterly NSW National Trust Magazine and via our Facebook page.