A Little Something about what We are
The Spread Eagle Hotel is positioned both geographically and emotionally in the heart of Richmond. We have been pouring drinks for Richmond regulars for 127 years. The Spread Eagle Hotel is proudly a locals pub… the staff know your name, we pour your ‘standard’ before you’ve found yourself a stool and there is always someone to remember what time you left the night (or early morning) before.
Come down and have a drink with us at The Spread Eagle Hotel!
SPREAD EAGLE HOTEL HISTORY
The Spread Eagle first opened for business in 1854 – just up the road from its current location. With a live eagle living on the enclosed balcony it was a thriving business until sold to the ambitious Mary Allan and her dishevelled husband Albert.
Mary and Albert commissioned the renowned German born architect John Augustus Bernard Koch (1854-1928) to rebuild on the corner of Bridge Road and Coppin Street, where we still enjoy the building today. Mary insisted the building stay true to its name and had Koch place eagles on every corner of the bar and staircase. Koch was the king of Richmond in those days. Not only did he design around 60 buildings including fire stations, hospitals and libraries and the Prince Alfred Hotel (Church St) but also became the 2nd Mayor of the city of Richmond in 1883. Mary’s vision and Koch’s talent collided when the beautiful building opened for business in 1885.
Despite commissioning a Richmond landmark and starting a vibrant business the Allans had a tempestuous marriage. Their troubles manifested from day one of their honeymoon when Albert left Mary stranded on a bay steamer without a ticket. There were reports of jugs of beer thrown across the bar at each other and Mary was even accused of trying to poison her husband. Mary lived and breathed her beloved pub so Albert was hardly missed when he ran off with another woman leaving her to run The Spread Eagle alone.
The high-spirited Mary was never seen without her pet cockatoo. Cocky Allan, as the locals called him, was known as one of the most talkative residents of Richmond where he lived for 22 years at the pub. So loved was Cocky Allan that he was controversially buried in the family grave (in a specially made oak casket with silver mountings) in the Melbourne General Cemetery on Tuesday 1st October 1912. His burial raised such controversy that the Archbishop Carr (head of the Victorian Catholic Church) wrote to the trustees of the cemetery complaining that birds (no matter how talkative) should not be buried in sacred ground. It appears our Mary had other thoughts!
Since its colourful beginning to the current day The Spread Eagle has had one goal in mind – serve Richmond with good old-fashioned hospitality!