Lewis Cycle and Motor Works factory, Molton Street, Adelaide

The interior of the Lewis white garage features prominently in photographs in the Lewis album. It has taken a little while, but this workshop can now be placed on Molton Street, Adelaide, at the rear of the Lewis Motor House on Victoria Square.

Inside the Molton Street workshop 1906

In the interior view above, we are facing west with the far windows overlooking Victoria Place. The windows on the right look south across a narrow lane onto the Government Buildings (now known as the Torrens Building), and if we were to swivel through 180 degrees we'd look out the doors, across Molton Street and into the back of the Motor House, with much the same view as seen in photograph 07.

The Molton Street premises were maintained by Lewis for a number of years after the move to Gawler Place South in 1910, although its role beyond 1910 is unclear at this stage. It is listed, for example, in the 1912 Sands and McDougall directory as "Vivian Lewis Limited, motor and cycle works and motor garage, Lewis V.L. manager" which covers most possible uses. Given that it was only about 100 metres from the new motor house (north along Victoria Place, turn right onto Bray St and you could see the new Lewis buildings) it was probably used for garaging. The building in Molton Street was last associated with Lewis in Sands and MacDougall in 1919, when the entry read "Vivian Lewis Limited, motor garage, H.B. Crosby, Manager".

Molton Street no longer exists, but in a masterpiece of city planning (or a pleasant coincidence) the site of the white garage is now a piece of public open space.

Site of the Lewis white garage, Molton Street, 2007

A nice touch is that today car parking bays are marked out in almost the same position as those seen occupied by Lewis, de Dion and Rover cars 100 years ago in photograph 19. The modern building on the right of the photograph sits on the site of the 1904 Lewis Motor House. A visit on a Sunday morning for some quiet reflection can be a rewarding experience.

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Copyright Leon Mitchell 2007-8

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