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Gorman Alley

Gorman Alley is located between Exhibition and Spring streets, extending south into a dead-end from Little Lonsdale Street. Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century laneways were often considered unsafe and undesirable locations due to reports of vagrancy and drunken behaviour. Patrons leaving hotels and pubs, which were normally located on the corner of a lane, often contributed to this lewd behaviour observed in the laneways. Residents often complained about the disturbances in the laneways, which ranged from drunken behaviour to assault and robbery. Lack of sufficient lighting further contributed to these problems. In 1892, the Oddfellows Hotel was located on Gorman Alley. In 1914, several complaints were made to the City Council regarding the lack of sufficient lighting and the unsavoury nature of the lane. It was suggested that by providing better lighting at the ends of the lane, it would 'greatly assist the police in keeping down complaints from the residents'. But Gorman Alley was not just a laneway filled with undesirable characters. The Lonsdale Street premises of the Alexander Lugton's engineering firm Lugton Successors backed onto the alley. By 1860, the firm had expanded from a blacksmith to boiler making, and was located at 27-33 Gorman Alley from 1889 to 1916.

Alexandra Gerner

Bate, Weston, Essential but unplanned: The story of Melbourne's lanes, State Library of Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1994. Details