manager & accountant

OFFICEs

The Manager’s office is located at the rear of the Banking Chamber, and has one wall of Queensland Maple and silver ash panelling, with hunter green doors.

WINGHAM CHRONICLE SEPTEMBER 3, 1957

Bank managers office

This room ran out of style a long time ago. Once an office to impress and give status to the Manager, it now was a mind numbing, depressing cream. Nothing… but cream…

Yawn.

The room had no view outside at all.

The frosted glass window and was missing one of its pane, presumably removed for an air-conditioner and nailed over with a sheet of fibro. It speaks volumes of the ‘that’ll do’ attitude that the building had received post its original conception.

The beautiful maple veneer cupboard doors were painted… cream (sigh) and the cheapest plastic fluorescent light fittings were installed giving the room all the ambience of a 7-Eleven.

The original timber panelled wall had been removed and replaced with cheap plasterboard. Its demolition reinstated the opening. Now a decision had to be made in how to partition the office from the main bank chamber. This was one of the few times when we departed from what had originally been described in the Wingham Chronicle opening articles. From the original floor plans, we could see that the managers office had two doors. One was to allow clients to come into the office from the client area of the bank, the other gave the manager access to the staff area. This was now completely unnecessary. A solid wall was not ideal as we wanted the users of this room and the adjoining accounts office to have a visual connection to the main studio area.

The solution was to still use the same species of timber that the Wingham Chronicle described and create a glass wall that took it’s inspiration from the grill on the front of the building. The frames are of Victorian ash and the doors are maple. These were designed by Aaron and built by Twin Town Joinery at Tuncurry. They also made a replacement frame for the missing part of the external window. They did an amazing job, matching the exact timber profile of the original windows. They are brilliant at restoration jobs. You can contact them at www.twintownjoinery.com.au

All of the glazing was installed by Wingham Windows. They managed to reuse the glass that was in the modern fit out done by Holiday Coast Credit Union. It is literally bullet proof!

Now to save the maple cupboard doors.

The person who did the original varnishing did such a quality job that no paint penetrated into the grain. Aaron carefully used a razor blade scraper and removed large sections of the paint. What did not come off was removed with 0000 steel wool, methylated spirits, elbow grease and lots of patience.

One of the doors had moisture damage and was delaminated. This was glued back together and saved.

A wonderful feature of the room was that one of the cupboards was left open as a display nook. This would have been behind the manager and seen by the client. The shelves were beautiful maple veneer and in surprisingly good condition. They only needed a light rub down with methylated spirits, steel wool and fresh application of Danish oil.

On the back wall of this recess was a pair of bullet lamps. They looked very tired and needed to be refurbished.

When the lamps were removed they revealed a delightful treasure. A fragment of hand painted wallpaper. Midnight blue with white stars.  This was scanned and new paper was created in Photoshop and reprinted.

The lamps, which had a sprayed a gold anodised effect, were polished.  Aaron decided to leave them silver, as the gold anodised finish was difficult to restore and the other light fittings that were to be installed the room were silver.

The junky plastic lights were replaced by genuine Kempthorne light fittings from the 1950s. Aaron sourced three matching lights that were being removed from an apartment in Kirribilli. Not only were they in mint condition, but only $60 for the three. Got to love a bargain! All of the remaining original lights in ‘The Bank’ are Kempthorne, which was popular throughout Australia during this era. A wonderful Louis Poulsen Snow Ball Pendant was also included in the mix. While it would not have been originally in the room, it was designed the same year that the building opened and Aaron scored it for only $35 on eBay! All the light fittings have been rewired.

The paint scrapings revealed the the walls were powder blue and dark blue. This colour was matched by a chunk of render that had come loose in the back of the cupboard.

Another striking feature is that the windows throughout the building are painted black and white. Looks great but a bitch to paint.

The bank managers office has it’s mojo back.

Accountants office

The accountant office was in the same condition as the bank managers office.

We went through the same process to restore it including the stripping of paint of the maple cupboard doors. There was also water damage to the ceiling. The leaky roof was fixed and the ceiling re plastered.

The terracotta feature wall was a colour that could not be matched on any modern colour chart. A section of wall was cut below the line of the skirting board and taken in for colour matching.

The offices original connection to the main banking chamber and view of the front door was now restored.

One final touch to the room was to hang a selection of photographs of other ES&A Bank branches. It sets the context of how innovative and exciting the ES&A Bank were with their modernist architecture. Every branch was unique and built with the finest materials and best craftsmanship. The branches in these images were all designed by Stuart McIntosh. Wingham was really fortunate to have such a cutting edge building constructed and even more fortunate that inspite of the hard knocks the building had received, hung onto its most important original features.

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