British Hotel

NE corner of Wellington & Balfour Streets. Google maps.

Home to what seems to have been Launceston’s first theatre (1834, see advertisements below). Became the colonial hospital in the early 1840s, and then the public Cornwall Hospital until the construction of the Launceston General Hospital in 1863.

1832 Alexander Rose, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1833 Henry Davis, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1834 Thomas Massey, British Hotel, Wellington Street
1835-36 John Hamilton Jacobs, British Hotel, Wellington Street

Launceston Advertiser, 28 September 1831

Although this says Charles St, the license is granted for the following year (1832) and Rose is signing himself as the proprietor of the British Hotel, Wellington Street in May 1832 (see first ad below).

British Hotel Launceston Advertiser, 9 May 1832
Launceston Advertiser, 9 May 1832

The Independent, 6 April 1833

The Independent, 25 May 1833

The Independent, 28 December 1833

Colonial Times, 4 February 1834

THEATRICALS.— Mr. Cameron, and the company of comedians under his management, intend visiting Launceston in a few weeks. The large room in the British Hotel is already engaged; and will be immediately put in readiness for the intended campaign. The great expense necessarily attendant on a journey from Hobart Town, and conveyance of the necessary baggage, containing dresses &c, required by the company, will not be met without very general support from the community.
Launceston Advertiser, 1 May 1834

The Bachelor’s Ball is fixed for the 8th inst.— it will take place at the Assembly Rooms of Mr. Thomas Massey at the British Hotel, in Wellington Street, and is expected to be numerously attended.
The Independent, 3 May 1834

Launceston Advertiser, 19 May 1834
Launceston Advertiser, 19 May 1834

Launceston Advertiser, 5 June 1834

The good folks of Launceston were highly gratified on Thursday evening, in witnessing a Theatrical Exhibition in the newly fitted up Theatre, at the British Hotel. We have been accustomed to indulge in the rich treats afforded by Kean, Charles Kemble, Matthews, Dowton, Cook, Miss O’Neil, Foote, Fanny Kemble, and many of the first rate performers in England, and naturally anticipated a mere mimicry, but we were agreeably disappointed—indeed —we did not imagine that a Theatre of so respectable a character could have been got up in Van Diemen’s Land. Upon entering, we were struck with the neatness of the stage fittings, and the excellent arrangements of the seats, which are progressively raised and afford an uninterrupted view of the stage from all parts of the room
The Independent, 7 June 1834

Launceston Advertiser, 9 October 1834

The Independent, 22 November 1834

Launceston Advertiser, 3 December 1834

Launceston Advertiser, 5 March 1835

Launceston Advertiser, 11 June 1835

THE THEATRE.—An address from Mr. Jacobs the comedian, in answer to a very ill advised published letter from Mr. Cameron, has been forwarded to us for insertion. We forbear to insert it, out of the respect to Mrs. Cameron, in which we believe that lady is generally held. Mr. Jacobs however seems to have abundantly vindicated both himself and his theatrical brethren. We understand he is comfortably settled in the British Hotel at Launceston. Mr. Cameron has returned to Hobart Town, to resume her attempts where she commenced, at Mr. Whitaker’s very pretty little theatre, quite large enough however for the play going demand of this town, for years to come, and we most sincerely wish her every success.
The Tasmanian, 4 December 1835

Colonial Times, 15 August 1835

Cornwall Chronicle, 5 March 1836

Launceston Examiner, 27 October 1855

Messrs Hudson and Sherwin report the sale by private contract of the property in Wellington street, known as the old Cornwall Hospital, to Mr Henry Reed, Mount Pleasant, for £1000 cash.
The Tasmanian, 15 September 1877

Town Improvements.-— The fine block of two-storey brick and cement residences that now occupy the angle of Wellington and Balfour-streets, where but a few years ago stood the old hospital and several ancient weatherboard tenements, are now approaching completion, and are a decided ornament to that part of the town. It will be remembered that these buildings were projected by Mr. Henry Reed some time prior to his death, and have been completed by Mrs. Henry Reed in accordance with the original design. In Balfour-street the residences, known as Dunorlan Cottages, comprise three villas of 11 rooms each, two of which are let to tenants, and one occupied by tho pastor of the Mission Church, Mr. Hiddlestone, and three houses of eight rooms each intended as homes for aged and infirm persons. Married couples are allowed two rooms, and single persons one room ; a rent of 6d per week being paid, whether for one or two rooms, and those who can work are encouraged to do so, the idea being to assist those who are willing to help themselves, and not to encourage idleness and a spirit of pauperism. Two of the three cottages are occupied. by deserving poor persons, there being six in each, and the selection is not restricted to members of the Mission Church congregation, three denominations being represented. Of these persons some receive aid from Mrs. Reed, and some from the Benevolent Society or from the Mission Church, but none are in any way a burden on the Government as recipients of charitable allowance. The third cottage is temporarily let to a tenant, but if further cases for relief occur it will be given up to them. The row of houses in Wellington street, known as Dunorlan Terrace, comprises fourteen five-roomed houses, well fitted with conveniences, which are let as fast as completed to respectable tenants at a moderate rental, and the competition to secure them is pretty keen. All except the two or three houses in the centre of the terrace are completed and occupied, and the workmen are finishing off the remainder.
The Tasmanian, 31 May 1884

2 thoughts on “British Hotel

  1. Another hotel on the corner of Wellington and Elizabeth St was the Freemasons Tavern, ‘previous the Commercial Warehouse but now to be known as the Freemasons Tavern’ 09/34 JB Harwood (a mariner who later advertised the licence for lease as he had been called away on urgent business 05/35).
    He was subsequently master of the Rebecca which took Batman to Pt Philip district when the treaty was signed and the area was to become Melbourne .

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