Bertram House

Bertram House

This building was erected in 1897-98 for the British and Foreign Bible Society, one of the largest publishing movements in the world . Founded in London in 1804, it began publishing Bibles for citizens throughout Britain, then distributing them throughout the world. Protestant missionary zeal was typical of 19th-century British society and by 1979 the Bible Society had printed scripture literature in 320 languages.

An auxiliary of the Bible Society formed in Adelaide in 1845 held its first meeting in the Wesleyan Chapel, Gawler Place. The to celebrate the jubilee of the auxiliary, a site was selected and new permanent premises were built following a bequest by T. Selway of £1350 as well as two legacies of £50.

In 1897 an advertisement in the daily newspapers called for designs for a new Bible House. The best design was offered 10 guineas, provided the cost of the building did not exceed £1000. In September 1897 Alfred Wells’ plans were adopted, and the tender of W. Rodgers was accepted in October 1897.

The foundation stone was laid on December 1897 by His Excellency Sir T. Fowell Buxton, a vice -resident of the parent society, and the building was publicly dedicated on May 19,1898.

A report from the time describes a building of red terracotta brick with Glen Osmond bluestone base and stucco dressings, which “being of Gothic design has quite an ecclesiastical appearance”. The large hall on the second floor was described as unique in South Australia. Its interior walls were of terracotta brick and the ceiling was of polished yellow pine, forming a Gothic arch: “A pair of lancet windows with leadlights in small squares of tinted glass in front, a white glass-paned window in a corner recess and four sidelights of several colours give a very pretty and finished appearance to the hall.”


show more


[edit | edit source]

The architecture is significant because of the gothic style, unusual in secular buildings in Adelaide.

Connects with

Related places
Related people
Related organisations
Related events
Related things

See also

Images of Bertram House

  • British and Foreign Bible Society
Alfred Wells
W Rogers
Building materials
Architectural styles
3 Federation Period (c. 1890–c. 1915), 3.6 Gothic
1897/08 - 1898/05/19
Architecture and design features
Alfred Wells, bluestone plinth, stucco, leadlight
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
British and Foreign Bible Society
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Religious, Meeting place
AS2482 classification
11510 - Business House - Offices
Public Access
Opening hours only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5792/704 F181777 A125
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
NTSA classified
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
6.3 Worshipping
6.3.3 Other Religious Activities
6.4 Forming Associations
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


Further reading

  • ACA, Assessments 1896-8; Advertiser, September 1898, 8 March 1979; British and Foreign Bible Society, SA Auxiliary, annual reports and pamphlets; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 144).

External links

Something to add or share?

blog comments powered by Disqus