The adjoined houses of prosperous business partners, these immaculately restored homes capture the prosperity of Victorian-era Maitland. Housed within is an extensive collection of 19th century costumes and textiles related to local life and industry.
Grossmann House was built in 1870-71 by the merchant Isaac Beckett. It adjoins Brough House, built as a mirror image by Beckett’s business partner, Samuel Owen. The buildings are thought to have been designed by local architect William White. It is interesting to note that the main entrance to each residence is originally located on opposing sides rather than at the front, to give a degree of privacy for the owners – although the two families shared a common laundry.
Maitland at that time was Australia’s largest inland town, and the commercial heart of the prosperous Hunter Region. Beckett and Owen arrived from England in 1838, and quickly diversified their High Street business to become ‘General Merchants, Tailors and Woolbrokers, Wine, Spirit and Tobacco Merchants’.
Between 1892 and 1963, the building housed Maitland Girls’ High School, one of the first four public high schools established in New South Wales. Some changes were made to the property to accommodate the School, but in recent years the National Trust has restored the house to reflect the status and era of its Victorian owners. Gas lighting has been re-installed, and wallpapers recreated from surviving fragments. Servants’ bells and a Butler’s Pantry are reminiscent of the daily workings of a prosperous Victorian household. Characteristic furnishings, sourced as far as possible from the region, complete the experience.
Study and explore Grossmann House’s extensive collection of 19th century costumes and textiles, linked to lifestyles and industry in the region.