Architecture, heritage lost, heritage register, Petersham

Chevy Chase Petersham Residence

Before there was Chevy Chase the actor, there was Chevy Chase the residence….

The house was built c. 1881 for Nicholas Hopson (who purchased the land in 1879 from J.L. Castner). Hopson named his house Chevy Chase. 
Originally the home had a carriage drive and circular planting bed. This can be seen in the aerial photograph (the red outline being the current property boundary).
The 1884 Sands Directory listed Nicholas Hopson, milliner as having business premises at 490 George Street, Sydney, with a private residence Chevy Chase at The Boulevarde, Petersham. 
Hopson lived at Chevy Chase till 1917, when the house’s occupier in Sand’s Directory is shown as Mrs Sarah Cox, a nurse and private hospital proprietor. This indicates conversion of the house to a hospital during World War I, presumably undergoing alterations. 
Hopson retained ownership till 1925, when the property was sold to Ellen Wynn-Martyn who sold part of the land fronting The Boulevarde. 
The house is an example of when heritage integrity has been lost and can no longer be recovered.
Chevy Investments bought the house in 1964, and converted the house into 12 flats, completely altering the northern façade by the addition of new rooms.
In the Marrickville Review of Potential Heritage Items, Volume 1: Final Report, June 2009 the following are given as reasons for excluding it from the Heritage register:

While originally the building was a grand Victorian Italianate style villa with a tower, built by local businessman Nicholas Hopson, due to conversion to a hospital in 1917 and later to residential apartments, the building now lacks integrity.

Approximately 40% of the original facades of the building remain exposed and unencumbered by later additions. The original appearance and form of every façade has been severely disturbed by the additions. The exposed parts of the original facades retain a good proportion of original detail, and some original detail can be reconstructed. However, the obscured parts of the facades have been severely modified and are incapable of reconstruction. Thus, even if all of the additions to the original house were removed, it would not be possible to return the house to its original form.

1 thought on “Chevy Chase Petersham Residence”

  1. This was my great grandfather’s home. I have a photo of the house when he built it – it’s beautiful and such a shame it’s integrity was not maintained. I also have photos of him and his wife, and my grandmother and her sisters at the front steps.


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