Crown & Sceptre Hotel

Crown & Sceptre Hotel

The first hotel of this name was converted in 1868 from a coach builder’s showroom belonging to Hubble Brothers, founded in 1854. In 1877 a totally new development was designed by architects Woods and McMinn and built by A.G. Chapman at a cost of about £4500.

Alfred Hubble’s new hotel opened later that year. The South Australian Register of October 6, 1877, described it as having been built on the adjoining allotment to the south of the original hotel in King William Street.

The land had a frontage to King William Street of only 40 feet, however the hotel was larger than might be expected. It had two storeys and extended 100 feet back from the street. To make the best use of the limited space, bricks were used instead of stone. The front was described as neat and effective in appearance, dressed with cement, and decorated in the Italian style. A large verandah spanned the footpath and extended the length of the building. Above was a balcony with handsome iron railings. At the top a pediment surrounded the hotel’s “device”, The Crown and Sceptre.

Inside there were 25 rooms, including 13 bedrooms. On the ground floor in the front there was a large bar, two parlours and a landlord’s office. Behind the bar was a wide passage with a serving window for the sale of liquor directly on to the street. Still further behind was a large dining-room, a kitchen and a washhouse. Particular attention was paid to the ventilation of all the rooms in the building, including the kitchen. In the basement under the bar there were large dry cellars. A tramway extending to the back of the premises allowed barrels to be delivered. The hotel was also supplied throughout with a patent pneumatic bell. Behind the premises were stables, coachhouses and other outhouses.

A few months after the opening the newspaper declared that the new hotel was “one of the finest houses of entertainment in Adelaide and a decided ornament to the street”.

The partnership of architects Edward John Woods and William McMinn began in 1875. McMinn has been described as “one of the earliest practitioners of note to have been trained in South Australia”. He was articled to James MacGeorge in about 1860, then enlisted as a surveyor in Boyle Travers Finniss’ exploring expedition of 1864, an unsuccessful attempt to settle the Northern Territory. He worked as an assistant to colonial architect Robert George Thomas, then in private practice with Daniel Garlick in 1869. He became overseer of public works in 1870 and met Woods, who was architect to the Council of Education and also in private practice. Woods was appointed architect-in-chief in January 1878 and McMinn kept the firm of Woods and McMinn going until his death in 1884.

Architecturally this building is not typical of hotels in Adelaide because of its position, the use of arched forms, and its interpretation of capitals and pilasters. Its composition is tightly contained, with rusticated wings bounding the central arcaded section.

The detailing, including the small pediment with its novel Crown and Sceptre, are all in original and very crisp condition. Unfortunately cladding has marred the integrity of the ground floor. The original verandah by a bulky cantilevered version. Several outbuildings associated with the hotel have survived in the yard at the rear across Kent Street.


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This unique hotel is significant for it's association with prominent Adelaide architects Edward Woods and William McMinn.

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Images of Crown & Sceptre Hotel

  • Crown and Sceptre Hotel
Edward Woods, William McMinn
A G Chapman
Building materials
Architectural styles
2 Victorian Period (c. 1840–c. 1890), 2.9 Italianate
1877 -
Architecture and design features
Edward Woods, William McMinn, arch, stucco, cast iron, balustrade
Engineering features
Victoria Square- Tarndanyangga
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Alfred Hubble
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Commercial, Hotel
AS2482 classification
10510 - Hotel - Motel - Inn
Public Access
Opening hours only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 5858/663 D57672 A10
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
3.5 Commercial, Marketing & Retail
3.5.5 A City of Pubs
Australian Curriculum references
Year 5: The Australian Colonies


  • ACA, Assessments, Smith Survey 1880; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol.
  • 1, 1909, p. 538; Chronicle, 13 June 1868; Jensen, E., & R., Colonial architecture in South Australia, 1980, pp. 363, 606; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 452); Morgan, E.J.R., & Gilbert, S.H., Early Adelaide architecture 1836 to 1886, 1969, p. 69; Observer,
  • 11 April 1903; Page, M., Sculptors in space, 1986, p. 74; South Australian Register,
  • 6 October 1877, 23 March 1878.

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