Sword discovery in the hotel basement
WHEN the old Royal Hotel in George Street Sydney was demolished and preparation began on a replacement building in 1928, workers found an old sword in a brick pit in its basement.
The old pub was demolished to make way for the Dymock’s Book Arcade, now a landmark retail building in Sydney.
The history of the site dates back to 1807, when Sergeant John Ricketts leased the site, and who sold it three years later for £57.
In 1817 the property was sold to Solomon Levey for £400, and in 1826 Barnett Levey became the owner at a cost of £1200. He built a mill, the front portion of the building being opened as the Royal Hotel in March, 1829.
Sydney’s first regular theatre began in the hotel, opening on December 26, 1832. And it was thought the sword may have been a stage ‘prop’, or could have belonged to an officer of the 50th or the 80th Regiment, members of which helped to fight the fire which destroyed the building on St Patrick’s Day, 1840.
In September 1840 Terry Hughes bought the site for £6500, with mortgages of £8500, and in, December the following year the new hotel was opened, but was not completed for several years.
In 1910 the Government Savings Bank purchased the historic property for £60,000. In 1914 the hotel license was cancelled, and the building was used as a Soldiers’ Club during the war years. In 1922 the property was bought by Dymocks for about £150,000.
It was believed at the time of the discovery that it may have been a prop from an old theatre that was once on the site. The fate of the sword is unknown.
For a history of the Royal, and an account of the 1906 gruesome murder of a guest by 15-year-old Tommy Quinlan, the hotel’s lift operator, visit the Time Gents’ story: Royal Hotel, Sydney: Teenage lift operator stabs guest eight times
Subscribe to the latest Time Gents’ stories
PAYPAL BAR TIP
If you would like to support my work, you can leave a small tip here of $2, or several small tips, just increase the amount as you like. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs.
OR DONATE BY CREDIT CARD
Instead, you can make a credit card donation towards the publication of The Time Gents website. If you would like to support my work, you can leave a $2.50 (Australian) donation here, or you can increase the amount after clicking or tapping into the icon below. Your generous patronage of my work and research, however small it appears to you, will greatly help me with my continuing costs and research.