Hotel:Willow Tree Hotel
79 Vere Street, southwest corner Cromwell Street
Willow Tree Hotel (c.1856 - 1936)
Leeds Arms Hotel (1854 - c.1855)
Demolished between 1936 and 1989
Kearney 1855: Y ; Hodgkinson 1858: Y ; MMBW: Detail Plan 1199 & 1200, 1899
This was a stone hotel with fifteen rooms (Rate Book 1864, 1870). A distant view of the two-storey building can be seen in a photograph taken from the town hall around 1887.
An early publican was Charles Swift who, in a typical pattern in Collingwood, forwarded his political ambitions through local networks. Election meetings were held at the hotel, and the fourth Oddfellow's Lodge to be established in Collingwood (in 1858) met at the Willow Tree. Swift was a lodge official, as was George David Langridge, and both men became councillors in 1865. Langridge went on to enter parliament in 1875. After Swift's death in 1870, Mrs Anne Swift ran the hotel until the mid 1880s.
At the other end of the spectrum, Collingwood Town Clerk Mr Moody requested dairymen of East Collingwood to attend a public meeting at the Willow Tree in October 1860.
It was closed by an April 1936 determination of the Licensing Court, along with the Council Club Hotel in Johnston Street. The Court stated that the district was one of the most densely populated industrial centres in the State and had a large daily influx of workers but the evidence showed that the hotel accommodation for the supply of meals and beds, as well as the number of licences, was in excess of present-day demands. The Court added that sittings to deal with claims for compensation would be held as promptly as possible and owners and licensees were asked to submit their claims early. ( The Argus 21 April 1936, p. 11)