HISTORIC HOME IN NEW GUISE
St. John's Wood to
WHERE KING STAYED
St John's Wood, the historic home of the late Judge Harding, on the fringe of what is now the suburb of Ashgrove, the home that has housed Royal visitors and some of the most brilliant assemblies in the early his- tory of the State, is about to be re- modelled into a very beautiful two story old English type of home of the early Elizabethan period for Mr E A Hawkins, of Beaufort Hill, Clay-
In his design for the remodelling the architect, Mr Thomas Percy, has turned back the pages of history Not only has he retained the old-world character of the building, but he has gone farther by interpreting its mes- sage and carrying its development to its logical conclusion
This is as it should be, for these sturdy granite walls of the main portion of the old building are steeped in whatever romance clings to those not-so-far-off days when Queensland was an undeveloped and only partly explored State, a place of no past, but rich in promise
FRIEND OF KING EDWARD
The original owner, the late Judge Harding, was a personal friend of King Edward, when he was Prince of Wales, and treasured to his last days a bundle of intimate, breezy letters written by the gallant sporting Prince. It was natural, therefore, when the Prince's two sons -- one of whom was to become the present King -- visited Queensland that they should be entertained in the home of their Royal father's friend. The room in which the present King slept has been pre- served in its orginal condition.
Mr. Walter Harding, solicitor, son of Judge Harding, said yesterday that the original home was much larger than what remains of it to-day. It had large quarters for men and for the maids at the rear of the main building, and stables that would cost at least £1500 to build to-day. It stood on about 600 acres of land and the Judge had refused an offer of £60,000 for it.
After the death of Judge Harding the property was sold, and it has changed hands a good many times
TO CONTAIN ART TREASURES.
It is pleasant to reflect now that it has been purchased by a man of artistic temperament, whose ambition is to make of it a fit setting for his rich collection of art treasures, antiques, and curios. Mr Hawkins is a bachelor, and practically a recluse. His collection keeps him busy, and he is looking forward to the remodelling of St Johns Wood not only as a residence, but also as a place de- signed and adapted for housing his treasured collection, and the prob- lems that will arise and develop, to give him a new interest in life. St John's Wood will lend itself, too even better than did Beaufort Hill to those entertainments which have helped so successfully to raise money for charitable purposes.
The present building of St John's Wood is planned with a front vestibule, giving access to the great hall, 40ft by 20ft, with rooms on either side, opening directly from it. Two bedrooms open off the vestibule in front, and the kitchen quarters are at
This plan is typical of the stage of development at which the evolution of the English mansion had arrived in the late period of Elizabeth. The architect has now followed the tradi- tional usage of the Elizabethan period, and carried this hall up two stories forming a long gallery above the rooms on either side. The long gallery peculiarly one of the features of the Elizabethan mansion makes an ideal place for the display of pictures, and other works of art. Special compart ments will be devoted to fossils and
The ceiling is coned on the four sides and the centre will be a large ornamental ceiling light, which will add to the richness of the chamber The floor will be a rich parquetry of coloured Queensland woods. A large stained glass window on the stair landing will symbolise Australian agri- culture, and smaller windows the cattle and wool industries, respectively.
The principal block of the original building is almost square, with mas- sive granite walls 20 Inches thick. It is evident that this block was planned to recieve a second story thus form- ing the square two-storied block as a central feature of an architectural composition, comprising in addition two side wings thus forming the H or E shaped plan so extensively used in the "spacious times of Great Elizabeth
The architect asked for, and was given an entirely free hand by the owner- subiect to a condition for the presenation of large verandahs and he has been able to preserve the spirit of the orginal design and bring it to a state of harmoious completion. He has demonstrated that there is no need to go beyond the rich treasure house of English domestic architec- ture for types to be adapted to our own particular needs.
The remodelled St John's Wood home, viewed from the outside should recall the poetic descriptions by Scott and others of the serenity and charm of mediaeval England.