Samson’s Cottage wall remains is a heritage-listed former residence and now retail building located at 8 Kendall Lane, in the inner city Sydney suburb of The Rocks in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was built for William Samson in 1844. It is also known as Samson’s Cottage (wall remains) and Puppet Cottage (Samsons). The property is owned by Property NSW, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 10 May 2002.
In 1790 this parcel of land was part of the proposed 2nd stage of Sydney Hospital. William Balmain was granted a lease which included this lot, and by 1807 he had released the property to the Government. By March 1837 William Carr and George John Rogers were trustees of the property and in October 1838 Sir George Gipps granted the land to Carr and Rogers. In February 1839 Frederic Wright Unwin became the owner of the property and on 21 June 1843 conveyed lot 7 of the subdivision of Lots 1 & 2 of Section 85 to William Samson, a stevedore.
Samson completed the erection of a two-storey house to the rear of the lot in 1844. The three roomed house was constructed of stone and brick walls and the roof was clad in shingles. In 1853 Samson erected a single storey shop containing three rooms to George Street frontage. The shop walls were constructed out of “Wood and Brick” and the roof was shingled. The Cottage of William and Martha Samson was considered “large” by the rating assessors in 1858. In 1882 Martha Samson sold Lot 7 to William Cope and Cunningham Archibald Atchison and in the same year they conveyed the Cottage and shop to Alexander William Cormack.
In 1882-83 the shop on George Street was pulled down and during 1883 Cormack erected a three-storey building containing two shops to George Street and lodging rooms over. The walls were constructed in brick and the roof clad with iron. The premises was divided into two tenements, each with nine rooms and were numbered 75 and 75.5. The southern wall of Samson’s cottage formed part of the wall to Joseph Raphael‘s store and stable constructed 1853. The remaining walls are a very good indication of the house’s former size and materials used.
In 1991-92 a new infill building was constructed on the site of Samsons Cottage incorporating the remaining sections of the former house. The form of the new building is similar to that of the original cottage, built in 1844 and demolished in the 1920s. The small mezzanine area was located to give visitors an unimpeded view of the south wall of the original cottage contained within the new building. Archaeological work before construction revealed foundations and valuable historical information. The building, designed as a multi purpose space, is currently being used as The Rocks Discovery Museum.
The original two storey cottage had stone and brick walls and a shingle roof and was pulled down in 1883, however parts of the northern, western and southern walls of the building still remain. The southern wall of Samson’s cottage formed part of the wall to Joseph Raphael’s store and stable, constructed in 1853. The cottage has been rebuilt in 1991-2 in its original form.
Storeys: Two; Facade: Stone (1844); Brick (1991); Side Rear Walls: Stone and brick walls (1844); Roof Cladding: Shingle (1844); Iron (c.1880)
- 1883: Cottage partially demolished.
- 1991-92: The remaining sections of the north, west and south walls of the original building were incorporated into a new infill building. A small terrace was constructed at the rear, overlooking the courtyard system, which was extensively repaved and landscaped. The toilet block was upgraded to provide public toilets.
- 2005: Conservation and adaptive reuse of the building for the Rocks Discovery Museum involved cutting a doorway in the upper wall and building overhead walkway to enable disabled access to the 2nd floor of the museum. A lift was installed and overhead loft built to enable a research area for the museum.