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'Nixon' building

7-11 William Street, c. 1888/1893, consisting of three shop premises and three dwellings upstairs.
I'm arbitrarily referring to the whole building by this name, as it's not known for whom it was built, and Nixon was an original and long-standing tenant. He was in those premises in 1893, the earliest year for which Post Office directories are available, and was still there at the beginning of 1933 but not the end 1934 when it had become the property of F.E. Wrightson (Norm's father).
Below is 7 William Street in about 1898 in a photo by Nixon. Note that there is no Manning Chambers to the right of the Nixon building, as building did not start on that until 1902.
From 1933 until April 2020 the Nixon shop had become the Wrightson barbershop.
In April 2020, Norm Wrightson's Hairway at no. 7 was closed by the new owner. The current tenant at 11 is Ada Guglielmino's Palapa Caffé and Trattoria.
Nixon's tenure was forty (40) years. Wrightson's was eighty-seven (87) years. Until Gerard O'Brien of Silverleaf Investments threw out that hairdresser tenant in 2020 there had only been those two businesses in the whole 127 year history of the building. Another hairdresser is now the tenant, 'Norm Wrightson's Hairway' (with a new owner) having moved to South Terrace near Wray Avenue.

Nixon was in partnership with Henry Merrilees c. 1892-1902, after which he continued alone, dating the second photo (below) @ after 1902. The above c. 1898 photo of Nixon & Merrilees studio (taken by Nixon) is obviously earlier than the second, and is courtesy of John Dowson, who published it in 2003: 13.


Heritage Council: The facade of Nos. 7-9 William Street has been classified by the National Trust as c. 1905. Research however, indicates that the building and facade are of a much earlier date. It is difficult to ascertain exactly when the three shops, Nos. 7-11 were erected. A ratebook search seems to indicate that it was between 1888 and 1895. Prior to 1888 four cottages existed on the site. A photograph of High Street in 1896 clearly shows the facade and rear of the building. The photographers Nixon and Merrilees were the occupants of shop No. 7. Together they occupied this shop from 1893 to 1900. Charles Nixon then operated by himself 1901-33.
Two photographs dated 1919 show upper (bull-nosed) and lower verandahs on the building. The verandahs were removed in the 1950s, because the street level verandah posts were seen as a traffic hazard. Swanseas Cycle and Motor Company occupied shop No. 9 in 1935. On 9 April 1935 they made an application to erect an illuminated sign above their shop. When Mr A.E. Arblaster (saddler) moved from shop No. 11 in the early 1940s, Swanseas occupied both Nos. 9 and 11. Their need for easy access between the two shops prompted them to approach Allen and Nicholas (architects) to draw up plans for alterations to the building. These plans were approved and passed by Council on 2 October 1945. They were to be carried out by Taylor Bros. of 27 Hope Street, Palmyra at a cost of £675.
The plans show the proposed removal of the wall between Nos. 9 and 11, the removal of stairs in No. 11, and the installation of new windows. No. 7 has been a barber's shop since 1933. Originally established by Mr R. E. W. Wrightson, the business in 1988 was carried on by his son.
In 1988, the existing internal opening was extended and internal staircase removed. (Development Application No. 556/86. The windows of Nos. 9-11 appear to have been changed in 1945. (Above information by Lorraine Stevens 18/7/1988)
Currently (2013), various commercial outlets.
Two storey rendered stone building with a zero setback from the pavement. There are two chimneys with corbelling, which are fronted by a decorative bracketed parapet. There are engaged pilasters with ashlar effect dividing the building into three bays, and double hang sash windows with highly decorative stucco aedicules. There is a verandah awning (probably not original) and the shops have recessed entrances.

The Post Office Directory for 1900 shows these tenants: 7, Nixon & Merrilees, photographers; 9, Ying Kee, laundry; 11, Willett & Arthur, plumbers.


Fire brigade map, 1952, of the High St Manning buildings and vicinity.

When the building was renovated in 2020, Silverleaf restored the verandahs and posts in lieu of the 'percentage for art' requirement.

References and Links

Heritage Council page (quoted above).

See also: Charles Nixon.

See also: William Street, for all tenants thereof 1893-1948.

Garry Gillard | New: 10 August, 2019 | Now: 3 April, 2024