For many years a rural lane, development of Hope Street began in 1790 when Blackburne House was built. The houses had gardens and shrubberies and there were open fields on its east side. About 1835, the street was opened out to Mount Pleasant and the east side developed, as in this particular view. The Medical Institution, opened in 1837, formed a curved facade at the corner of Oxford Street. It was the first public building erected. The Unitarian Church on the right of the picture was opened in 1849. Next to it is the Philharmonic Hall which had been opened a few months earlier. Its internal structure, free from pillars and other obstructions, was said to be one of the most successful of the kind ever built for orchestral concerts. Lighting was by gas fed through small jets running along the outer edge of an ornamental cornice around the building. Ventilation was by washed warm air, mechanically diffused through a multiplicity of apertures to avoid draughts.

Image details: Wm Herdman