THIS week’s story from the Vincent Local History Centre tells of the Tower Hotel, once a grand landmark of West Perth that was demolished to make way for a freeway offramp.
THE Tower Hotel, originally known as the Club Hotel, was a three-storey landmark which stood on the corner of Charles and Duke Streets in West Perth from 1898-1973.
An impressive building in its day, it was designed by prominent Perth architect and World War I Lieutenant General Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs for John Charles Chipper in 1896.
Mr Chipper, born in Perth in 1847, was the son of the first paid police constable in Perth.
He was previously the owner of the John Bull Inn (later named the Criterion Hotel) from the early 1870s.
Mr Chipper opened the Club Hotel, also known as Chipper’s Club Hotel, in May 1898.
Advertised as “the finest residential hotel in Perth”, he was the proprietor until 1899.
It was renamed the Tower Hotel in 1912 and was run by a succession of different publicans and their families.
The majority of the publicans stayed on for only a year or two in most instances.
Like many of Perth’s old pubs, the Tower Hotel offered accommodation, not just cold beer.
In the late 1920s, permanent guests paid 35 shillings a week and temporary lodgers paid £2 a week for one of the hotel’s 26 rooms including its “excellent table, hot baths and free garage”. (The West Australian, 30 November 1928).
The Keane family were among the more longer-term publicans to run the hotel with Patrick Joseph Keane being the proprietor from 1928-1939.
In 1937, the hotel underwent extensive renovations, including reconstruction of the main saloon, public bars and bottle department.
Mr Keane died two years later in 1939 and his wife Dorothy Keane became the licensee from 1939-1949.
During World War II, there was a shortage of accommodation for US servicemen in Perth.
Hotels including the Tower Hotel were asked by the government to make available more rooms for accommodation.
Ms Keane’s licence was renewed with the condition that she “do something” about making use of the 20 vacant rooms for servicemen in her hotel. (The West Australian, 5 December 1944)
In 1950, the hotel was updated and repaired. As per advertisements, it continued to offer lodging, as per advertisements for housemaids and cooks.
The hotel was demolished in 1973 to make way for the Mitchell Freeway construction.
If you have any photographs or information about the former hotel which you’d like to share, contact the City of Vincent Local History Centre at local.history@vincent. wa.gov.au or 9273 6534.