9-11 Peel Street, southeast corner Little Oxford Street
Star Hotel (1868 - 1925)
Had been for sale and/or unused since the demise of the Trade Bar, but is undergoing renovation in 2011 and will soon open as a bar.
Part B, pp. 449-450
Individually significant within HO 318
Kearney 1855: N ; Hodgkinson 1858: N ; MMBW: Detail Plan 1208, 1899
Built by Thomas Veal who had previously owned a house on the site with a timber shop adjoining, the first licensee was James Massie, who soon left to run his own hotel (Massie's) in Wellington Street. There were frequent changes of licensees, with the longest stretch being that of owner Mrs Mary Maher, who after the death of her husband Thomas in 1878 took on the day-to-day business. In 1887 architect Harry B Gibbs supervised the replacement of the shop with the present brick structure, as well as alterations to the hotel. Mrs Maher handed over the reins to another publican in 1889, but continued as owner well into the twentieth century.
Around 1890 the Star became the home of the Loyal Lincoln Lodge of the I.O.O.F. At a meeting held in 1891, after business was completed 'members and visitors indulged in a little relaxation in the form of harmony... in which many gave their services to make the rest merry [by] the musical portion of the evening.' ( The Argus, 5 February 1891, p. 3)
After delicensing, the hotel was used for residential purposes. In the 1930s it accommodated unemployed men, and indeed was mentioned in a slum investigation report as the overcrowded residence of 56 such men. After being divided into apartments in the late 1960s, the building was rescued from oblivion when it housed Iain Hewitson and Sigmund Jorgensen's Clichy Restaurant from 1977. Later, Jock's Bar flourished briefly, followed around 2002 by the Gay Trade Bar, which closed about 2007.
The Star is a very attractive corner building, which incorporates various architectural references to its name in the exterior decoration. The window frames have unusual detailing, and the shop window is substantially intact, although the verandah has been removed. The buildings contribute to Peel Street which retains, among ugly modern factories, a number of Victorian buildings with unusually intact exteriors.