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2007/61/1 Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1922-1959. Click to enlarge.

Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden

Made by Warden, Sidney in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1922-1959.

Sidney Warden was the most prolific of the several architects who designed hotels for Tooth & Co. Some of the architects who worked for Tooth & Co - Sidney Ancher, Sam Lipson, Rudder & Grout - were better known, but none designed so many hotels or so many well-known hotels. By his own count, Warden's work encompassed 392 hotels, new buildings or alterations to existing hotels, including such familiar structures as the Clare, the Lansdowne, the Broadway, the Henson Park, the Marrickville, the S...


Object No.


Object Statement

Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1922-1959

Physical Description

Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1922-1959

An archive documenting the architectural work of Sidney Warden.

The archive includes a small number of architect's renderings, including elevations of the Chinese National Society, the Oxford Hotel, the Mayfair Hotel, the Tennyson Hotel, Botany and an interior proposed for the City Tattersall's Club.

The archive consists primarily of photographs of Warden-designed hotel interiors and exteriors, commissioned by the architect on their completion (Warden's parked car is a regular feature of the exterior views). The photographs were produced by several commercial photographers, some well-known, notably Milton Kent. Several of the photographs are mounted. Many of the photographs have been identified and grouped by the donor (Warden's daughter); however many interior views are unidentified. There are also numerous snapshots recording building sites and progress.

The archive includes several copies of architectural journals featuring photos and reviews of Warden's work. The journals are primarily 'Building' and 'Decoration and Glass'.

The archive also includes two brass plates: 'Sidney Warden Architect 1922', and 'Warden Hotel Broker', which presumably dates from 1886, when Warden snr commenced business as a hotel broker. Other personal items include a framed reproduction portrait photo of Sidney Warden, two notebooks containing jottings on building jobs, two rulers, and a payments book for 1937.



Sidney Warden (1890-1959) was the son of James George Warden, a leading Sydney hotel broker. After completing school, Warden was articled to the Sydney architect George Durrell. He then worked in London for some years, returning in 1922 to establish his own practice.

Warden's first commission was a building for the Chinese National Society in Campbell Street, Haymarket. However his father's close connections with the hotel trade propelled the newly qualified architect to this field. Apart from hotels, Warden designed only a small number of commercial buildings and residences. However, these included the interior of City Tattersall's Club, including the settling room. Several photographs of this space and one of its glass-topped tables were featured in the Powerhouse Museum exhibition Gambling in Australia.

Warden's career as a hotel architect was fortuitously timed. The 1920s were the high point of influence for the temperance movement, and new licensing laws encouraged the construction of a new generation of hotels. Tooth & Co, New South Wales' largest brewing and hotel company, financed the construction and reconstruction of hundreds of hotels during the 1920s and 1930s. Warden was the most prolific of the several architects contracted by Tooth's to design this major building campaign.

Warden's work was widely and favourably noticed in the architectural and building industry press of the 1930s - the archive includes several examples - but like several other prominent architects of this period (not only hotel specialists) his work was ignored or derided by Robin Boyd, JM Freeland and other post-1945 champions of the comparatively ascetic International Style. Only in recent years has the work of 1930s practitioners including Aaron Bolot, Dudley Ward, Morton Herman and Douglas Forsyth Evans been reappraised for its successful marriage of international modernisms with local materials, practices and needs. Warden's work and influence deserves respect in a similar context.


Credit Line

Gift of Mrs Dorothea Bilston, 2007

Acquisition Date

12 June 2007

Cite this Object


Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 20 February 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Archive, hotel architecture, designs by Sidney Warden |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=20 February 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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