Monday, April 6, 2009

Smellie & Co

The Times in London reports that some of England's oldest family names are dropping out of use because they might be rude or offensive. Some of the names have been around since the Middle Ages, but the report in The Times says that many have died out over the last century as people with unusual names change them to something less embarrassing. Here are some of the solid old English surnames that people are abandoning: Cock, Daft, Death, Jelly, Shufflebottom, Smellie. A couple of those names will be familiar to residents of Brisbane. TH Cock Pty Ltd is a well established electrical contractor, and one of Brisbane's oldest buildings is the Smellie & Co building at the bottom of Edward St. Here is a composite picture of the Smellie & Co establishment from around 1920.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; 111862)

Smellie & Co in Brisbane dates back to the 1860s, when the RR Smellie & Co foundry was established in Alice St. A burgeoning Brisbane ensured that the firm grew, and by 1882, it had become Smellie & Co, a hardware and machinery retailer. A three-storey building (bottom of photo above) designed by Richard Gailey was constructed on the corner of Edward St and Alice St in 1888, but still further expansion became necessary and a bulk warehouse (top of photo above)was constructed in Edward St in 1895-6.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

The higher of the two buildings now contains a restaurant and apartments, and the smaller bulk warehouse also survives as an office at the bottom of Edward St, just opposite the Stamford Plaza hotel. Here is a photo of it that I took recently (above). Click on it if you wish to see a larger version. Although the original name isn't apparent on the taller building (I guess it's not too trendy to live in the "Smellie Apartments") the Smellie & Co name is proudly displayed on the front of the smaller building, and I hope that it never goes out of fashion there.

Click here for a Google Map.

tff

Next: James the builder

1 comment:

  1. The elaborate Gothic revival Smellie grave in Toowong Cemetery is worth a look (though not to all tastes!). The quality iron fence around it reflects the arches of the headstone, and is appropriate for a foundry-owning family.

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