The Windsor Castle Hotel
Situated on Victoria Square in Adelaide’s West End stood the Windsor Castle Hotel. For 103 years it operated as a city watering hole…but with a rough reputation, with proprietors and barman often having run-ins with the local law.
Illegal gambling, opening after hours, selling alcohol illegally were just a few of the laws broken by staff in the bar, but also, the public drinkers were known for getting a little rowdy too!. One Mr James Turner, an elderly drinker, once caused an uproar that made the local newspapers. It was noted in the Advertiser that Mr Turner had had a little too much to drink and became enraged – he threw two glasses at the barman (smashing four other glasses at the time). In court Mr Turner admitted to being drunk before even entering the hotel. He wasn’t sure when, but someone cut a string on his waistcoat and stole his watch. When refused a drink at the Windsor Castle Hotel, he got enraged and grabbed a decanter, throwing it at bar staff before storming out of the hotel.
In earlier years there was a near shoot out in the rear stables of the hotel when another customer refused to leave after being asked by the proprietor. The customer pulled a revolver and went into a rage promising to kill the owner if he didn’t get his way. The man was subdued, and dutifully reported to police. He was arrested and charged in a heated court case which saw the accused rant uncontrollably, and eventually be forced to serve time for his threats.
There was a death on the hotels grounds as well. An old man who worked in the rear stables was standing on a platform some 8 feet high, when he fells backwards onto the ground below, fracturing his skull. He was taken to the hospital, but died early the next morning.
In the late 1940’s the hotel was bought by the Mutual Life and Citizens Assurance Co. Ltd. who intended to build an apartment complex on the site. After waiting for the hotel license to expire, the hotel was finally pulled down in 1954, with interior features sold via auction.
The hotel lasted 103 years, originally licensed by Mr Thomas Chalk on the 3rd of April 1851 – legend has it the land was originally purchased for 50 pounds and a wagon and oxen team
Now on the corner of Victoria Square and Franklin Street stands the MLC building. The building was ahead of its time when completed in 1957. At the time it was the tallest glass building in Adelaide. It also featured a weather beacon on top!!