In 1888 construction commenced on the Council Club Hotel on the corner of High Street and Cramer Street. It opened around April 1889 with Thomas Harris serving as the first publican. Harris had previously served as the publican of the Junction Hotel in South Preston.
An elaborate boom style building, the Council Club Hotel was the most impressive hotel in the district. When travellers passed through Preston, the Council Club Hotel was always seen as the premier accommodation.
Around the turn of the century James Eggleton established a stable and livery at the hotel, asking the residents that he
“…..receives a fair share of public patronage.”
The hotel continued to dominate the corner of High Street and Cramer Street for over seventy years and even the building of the Preston Town Hall opposite hardly affected that.
By the 1950s Charles Brock had become the publican at the Council Club Hotel. Brock was to become an institution in Preston, keeping strong control of his hotel. He only hired men over 183 cm and weighing over 89 kg to work in his hotel, ensuring that women could safely visit his hotel, safe from the attentions of the hard working tannery workers.
The hotel had been purchased in 1962 by Carlton United Breweries and in 1968 the brewery made the decision to relocate the hotel. The site chosen was a new bowling alley in Cramer Street, built on the site of one of Preston’s tanneries.
Once the hotel had transferred the hotel licence to the new building the old hotel was demolished, a sad end to one of Preston’s finest buildings. The Council Club Hotel continued for several years at the new address before changing its name to Cramers.
Cole, Robert K. Index of Hotels 1841 – 1949. Unpublished manuscript.
Edge, Gary (2004). Surviving the six o’clock swill: a history of Darebin’s hotels. Melbourne: Darebin Libraries.