Know your Perth history: London Court

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 4:43 pm
Reading Time: 2 minutes

With more than 150,000 Brits living in Perth it makes sense to have a street dedicated to ‘old blighty’.

That was certainly the thoughts of wealthy gold financier and businessman, Claude de Bernales, who created the popular London Court in 1937.

No expense was spared in making the thoroughfare, which runs from St Georges Terrace to Hay Street Mall at a cost of £100,000 ($214,000).

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London Court in 1937. Source: State Library of WA

London Court was designed in an imitation ‘Tudor’ style with huge wrought iron gates at each entrance and half timbered walling to the arcade.

The walls featured ornamentations of hand carvings, gargoyles, masks, shields, crests and wrought iron signs and brackets.

Podcast: Richard Offen from Heritage Perth with Christine

The gabled roofs, weather cocks and lead lighting also contributed to the creation of a Tudor style. Terracotta tiles were laid in a crazy effect on the floor of the arcade to suggest ancient cobble stones.

The opening of London Court was celebrated with a three day ‘Ye Olde English Fayre’ which was held in conjunction with the official opening which raised £2,000 ($4400) for the Perth Hospital.

The West Australian reported that the event attracted thousands of visitors who were treated to the sight of volunteers and helpers dressed in Elizabethan style costumes. The ‘fayre’ was followed by evening dramatic programmes and musical items, including excerpts from Twelfth Night, madrigals and folk songs.

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London Court is still a major tourist attraction in Perth. Source: Heritage Perth

Around 1952, London Court was sold by de Bernales to London Court Pty. Ltd., the current owners. London Court is still in use as a shopping arcade and office block; although, the only current residential function is that of the caretaker. The restaurant is now used by a health club.

London Court is popular as a shopping arcade and is an important tourist site, and is depicted on promotional materials and postcards of Perth. The clocks, with their animated figures marking the changing of the hour, are still an attraction for tourists and families alike.

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