Guildford Hotel Lament
It’s an interesting quirk in the human psyche that allows you feel attachment to inanimate objects. Perhaps it’s the memories; perhaps it’s what they represent about life in general. Whatever the reason is, I like a lot of people in the quiet town of Guildford are reminded everyday that even a burnt out building can bring a sombre spell across someone.
It’s a blustery day as we approach the shell of what was once Guildford’s most popular pub. A kit of pigeons bursts through the empty roof and circle the road below, disturbed by something or other. The area around the hotel is not particularly secured, one can walk onto the site through one of the many openings in the fences around it and there’s been no attempt to seal any of the entry ways into the building itself.
The owners have been accused of burning it down when business began to struggle. When rallies with thousands of people have been held to “Save the Guildford Hotel” and you even get Perth band Water Temple releasing an album called “The Guildford Hotel Was An Inside Job” you know this is one emotive building. Perhaps the lackadaisical attitude to keeping vandals out, and indeed doing anything to help keep the remains of the heritage building from crumbling down help inspire thoughts of foul play, whatever the case, it certainly makes for one of the easier entries we’ve had to do.
Rubble and pigeon shit litters the floor that once was tread by many a drunk. Part of the old bar has collapsed, exposing two cellars below. Intricate roofing has collapsed and ornaments from the façade strew the floor. The once impressive Guildford hotel is now an empty husk. You can still get a feeling for how impressive it would have once been; high ceilings, several large rooms where bars used to be, even the walls and roofing that remain are an impressive sight. Sadly, nature is getting the better of remains and as time wears on, the likelihood of the structure being able to be saved diminishes. In a country with relatively little in the way of architectural history, it’s sad to think that the greed of a few men could have led to destruction of an undoubted jewel in one of “the swan river colony’s” first town sites.
Tom Camp, Nathan Shaw and Chris Beecroft