Packing them in at the London

london hotelThe opening of the new bar at Hotel London, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, 24 July 1953. The liquor licensing laws of the day obliged public bars to close at 6 pm. The ensuing rush to the bar to beat the clock for a drink before heading home for dinner became known as the “six o’clock swill”. Also apparent from the image is that women were excluded from pubs [but not from serving as bartenders]. The six o’clock closing laws were repealed nationwide by 1966.  This image is part of the Laurie Richards Collection at Museum Victoria comprising approximately 85,000 negatives taken by the Melbourne based Laurie Richards Studio between the 1950s -1970s. Laurie Richards was a professional photographer who began his career as a photo-journalist, working for the Advertiser newspaper in Adelaide, and the Argus and the Herald newspapers in Melbourne. In 1953, he opened his own business and set up a photographic studio at his home at 4 Tower Avenue, Alphington, an inner suburb of Melbourne. At its peak, in the late 1960s, the Laurie Richards Studio was one of Melbourne’s pre-eminent commercial photographic studios, employing twelve photographers. The Laurie Richards Studio worked mainly in advertising and public relations, and had a broad clientele which included commercial companies, government institutions and the entertainment industry.

– Acknowledgement: Laurie Richards Collection, Museum Victoria. Source:

Categories: Melbourne Hotels, Victoria hotels

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