Friday, January 27, 2017

Gresham Lane corner of Queen Street, with the Brisbane City Sketchers

Gresham Lane is what is left of the magnificent  Gresham Hotel. The hotel  was designed by JH Buckeridge and built by Henry Holmes.  below is an early photo.

The Gresham can lay claim to a couple of bits of history. The documents that incorporated Qantas were signed there in 1920, when Hudson Fysh, Paul McGuinness and Fergus McMaster met to inaugurate the airline.

The Gresham was one of the earliest buildings in Brisbane to install electricity - it came from the power station that was erected in 1887 behind the GPO in what is now called Edison Lane  - and the hotel was able to include the necessary electrical fittings during construction.

The hotel was also a player in the infamous 1942
Battle of Brisbane, where Australian and American service personnel locked horns in the intersection right outside the Gresham. Undoubtedly some of the antagonists would have been drinking there, but also the hotel's verandahs were a vantage point for many, including war correspondent John Hinde who was on a balcony overlooking the melee. He stated "The most furious battle I ever saw during the war was that night in Brisbane. It was like a civil war."

 The Gresham was demolished after a the great flood in 1974. The national Australia Bank was built in it's place.  The lane-way remains as a  reminder of times past.

The new Gresham is in the NAB building.


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