London Court in Perth and Como’s 75-year-old Cygnet Cinema are among the 24 Western Australian heritage projects to receive funding under the Western Australia State Government’s 2013-14 Heritage Grants Program.
Heritage Minister Albert Jacob said the funding would help to preserve and revitalise a number of historic sites across Western Australia. In total, 13 metropolitan and 11 regional places will receive funding as part of the Government’s commitment to heritage conservation.
“When combined with owner contributions, this will result in more than $10 million in conservation works, which is an excellent outcome for West Australians and for our State’s heritage,” Jacob said. “The Heritage Grants Program plays an important role in assisting private owners with funding to undertake urgent works to their State Registered heritage places. Funding for the grants program was increased by 25 per cent last year, with additional funding provided this year.”
London Court, located in Perth’s CBD, will receive one of the maximum grants of $100,000. The building, which features a three and four-level open-roofed shopping arcade, was built in 1937 for residential and commercial purposes and now stands as one of the main tourist attractions in the city. In 1996, the Heritage Council of Western Australia included it in the State Heritage Register.
The arcade once held 24 residential apartments, 53 retail shops and 55 offices, but most of the residences have now been taken over for commercial purposes, mainly small boutique shops and cafes.
The facades have a distinctive Tudor/Elizabethan style and architectural features, including ornate entrances with large wrought iron gates at each end. There is a unique London-made clock that chimes every 15 minutes and marks every hour while four mechanised knights appear from a castle door and move in a semicircle.
Other distinctive features include gargoyles, shields, crests, masks and a number of wrought iron signs and brackets. In addition, gabled roofs, weather vanes, lead lighting and terracotta tile floors emphasize the Tudor style.
The Cygnet Cinema, the city’s first purpose-built sound cinema, will also receive $100,000 to assist in upgrading its electrical wiring and fire prevention system.
Originally named the Como Theatre, the building officially opened in March 1938 and stands as a prime example of Art Deco style. It is also part of the State’s Heritage Register.
The building is a great example of the architectural popular style in the inter-war period, featuring nautical motifs such as wavy lines, smooth curves and tubular handrails, reinforced by the three porthole windows on the main façade.
“This much-needed work will contribute to the ongoing viability of one of Perth’s remaining operational 1930s cinemas as it migrates to digital technology,” Jacob said.
Other projects to receive funding include the Fremantle Post Office, the Septimus Burt Boatshed in Freshwater Bay, Port Hedland’s District Medical Officer’s Quarters, and the Postal Hall in the Old Treasury Buildings.