May 14, 2013

From our Archives

 In May, Niddrie, Avondale Heights and Sam Merrifield Libraries will hold displays of building plans and blueprints from the Coutts Family Collection held in the archive at Sam Merrifield Library.

The Coutts family were prominent builders in the  Moonee Valley area in the first half of the twentieth century. Many of the homes that they built still stand today and include examples of unique and unusual design.
The history of the Coutts family of builders starts with John and Esther Coutts and their son William Earnest (W.E) Coutts who was born in 1887.  The family moved to Morphett St, Ascot Vale in 1891.  John Coutts established himself as a builder in the local area.  Advertisements from The Essendon Gazette in 1914 show that houses were built on deposit and rent purchase terms.

John Coutts died in 1926 and Esther remained in Ascot Vale till her death in 1946.
William Coutts followed in his father’s footsteps, building over 30 houses in the Moonee Valley area between 1918 and 1938. 
In 1921 William married Ivy Victoria Hicks, the daughter of Daniel Hicks who had established the Riverview Tea Gardens on the Maribyrnong River in Avondale Heights in 1911.  The couple lived in  Ascot Vale, before  moving out of the area to Caulfield.
William plied his trade as builder and carpenter till his death in 1977 at the age of 90.  His wife died in 1981.

Information regarding the Coutts Family was supplied by Alex Bragiola and the Essendon Historical Society. The Essendon Historical Society holds a number of house plans for buildings by W.E. Coutts from 1909- 1948.

Moonee Valley Libraries archive holds a number of ledgers, casebooks, letters, illustrations and house plans from William Coutts. The collection provides an important insight into the building styles, practices and prices common to the local area in the first half of the twentieth century.

1 comment:

Jill Ball said...

Just revisited your blog after a holiday - congratulations on your new look.