Within the midst of any set of four walls there is a library of stories and a catalogue of personalities that acts as the glue holding it all together.
Whether it was the creaky floor board that gave away the trials of our youth or the layers of old wallpaper reminding us of fashions forgotten, these structures house our memories like the rings of an old Oak.
54 York St., originally known as The Borbridge Building, built in 1875 was designed by Architect William Hodgson. From all historical notes we have deemed its past occupants to be as diverse as a hotel, an undertaker, a baker, a wholesaler and finally, almost 100 years after its construction,
The Fish Market Group of Restaurants.
In its youth, The Borbridge Building, housed a wholesale surplus store. This surplus store, the hotel across the street (known for its ladies for hire) and Stoney Monday’s Pub next door offered the canal workers a haven after spending long periods in less favorable conditions.
Interesting Fact: The surplus store held a safe that the workers would drop their hard earned dollars in order to avoid spending it all on booze and ladies.
The buildings transition to become The Fish Market Group of Restaurants in April 1979 required a renovation of over 2 million dollars which was nearly 1 million over budget. Two major elements of the renovations were the excavation of Vineyards which had previously been a crawlspace and Coasters which had previously been the residence for the wholesaler’s family. Each progression of 54 York St. has come together to become more than the sum of its parts.
Fast forward almost 35 years later and you will find no remnants of The Borbridge Buildings past lives, but it never lets us forget its history. I take comfort in the fact that you are seemingly never alone in this building. Some may say it’s a ghost; others may blame ancient mechanical systems but I for one, believe that the walls really do talk around here.
This great big old building has a personality. It’s bossy, can never make up its mind, at times a little sarcastic but always loving.
I think we can safely say it‘s a woman.
By: Ashley Mountford