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Herford, 203-211 Alma Road

View of south west corner 1872 View of south west corner 1872 Photo by Donald McDonald, image #SK0453, Heritage Collection, City of Port Phillip.
Date built: 1870, November-?
Architect: Lloyd Taylor (1830-1900)


1st Owner: Frederick Christian Lange, -1870-1888
Other Owners/occupiers: William Officer, 1888-

Frederick Christian Lange (1832-1888) purchased Crown Allotment 172A sometime between 1864 and 1870. He lived nearby in Inkerman Street and was probably aware of the site's strategic location on top of a small hill and thus having good views of the Bay.

Lange employed Lloyd Taylor (1830-1900) architect to design his new house. Tenders closed on 31st October 1870 but it is not known who the winning contractor was. The house was to be know as Herford, probably after the village of the same name in North Rhine-Westphalia district, Germany. Lange probably had some family connection with this village. Lange was in partnership with Emil Thoneman trading under the name of Lange & Thonemen. They described themselves as merchants and general importers. Frederick was also one of the local Australasian directors for the Swiss Lloyd Marine Insurance Company.

Over time the house was enlarged and the adjoining Crown Allotments 173A & 167B on the south side were added to the grounds making a total area of nearly 15 acres.

mmbw1419cNorthern section, part MMBW detail plan 1419 (May 1900), SLV MapsWith perfect timing, Lange decide to return to Europe in 1888 and so he put the house to auction on Thursday, 22 March. The sale notice describes the house thus: –

Family Mansion erected for the owner , no expense having been spared in its finish and construction.
The residence erected on the most elevated and commanding position in East St Kilda, comprises on the ground floor – drawing room and dining rooms, each 20ft x 16ft; breakfast room and parlour, each 15ft x 16ft. Music or ballroom, one of the most handsome rooms in the colony, 35ft x 23ft, with bay window, lavatory, fitted with every requirement; kitchen, 19ft x 12ft; scullery, 12ft x 12ft,. First floor – two bedrooms, 20ft x 12ft; bathroom (No. 1) plunge and shower, hot and cold water laid on. Handsome bedroom, 23ft x 16ft, with adjoining bathroom, bath of white marble; billiard room19ft x 23ft with bay window 4ft deep; servant's rooms, 23ft x 12ft and 12ft x 12ft. The cellar, 28ft x 8ft, is cool and dry.
The out-offices comprise brick coach house, two stall stable, harness room, man's room, loose box, fruit room, and dairy.
A balcony and verandah run along three sides of the house, an elegant conservatory being on the west, connection it with the ballroom. The large conservatory imported from Europe, 40 x 30, and 22ft high, is one of the most elegant and beautiful in the colony. There are two stone and intermediate houses about 44 x 25 each, orchid house 61 x 15, peach house 60 x18, lawn tennis court, asphalted, enclosed with galvanised iron netting.
The whole of these improvements are on Portion 172A, comprising 5 acres and 12 perches, at the corner of Alma-road and Herford-street, the massive iron entrance gates and carriage drive entering from this street.
The grounds are laid out as garden, shrubbery, lane and grazing paddocks, the shrubs and flowers well grown, and selected. Crown Portion 167B and 173A, containing 9 acres 2 roods and 24 perches, are laid out in garden, shrubbery, and grass paddocks.

The proud new owner was William Officer who paid £23,500 for the property. Meanwhile Lange was not to enjoy his European holiday for long. He died in Bonn, Germany on 13th November 1888.

The grounds were subdivided in 1914, although the house remained until July 1940 when it was finally demolished.

House images ca. 1880 {gallery}AlmaRd/Herford/House:::0:2{/gallery}

Garden images ca. 1880 {gallery}AlmaRd/Herford/Garden:::0:2{/gallery}


1. Argus 1870.10.20 p.3


Tenders are invited until 31st inst. inclusive for the erection of a villa residence in Alma street, East St Kilda, for F. C. Lange, Esq. Lloyd Taylor Architect, 82 Collins-street west.

2. Argus 1875.10.27 p.1


Swiss Lloyd Marine Insurance Company, Australasian Branch 84 Collins Street West, Melbourne. Local directors - Jules Rennard Esq, Frederick C. Lange Esq. (Lange and Thoneman)

3. Argus 1888.03.03 p.15 Sale by Auction 
[Description of house as above]
4. Argus 1888.03.24 p.10

Commercial Intelligence

Messrs C J & T Ham report that the sums for which they sold Mr Lange's residence , Herford, East St Kilda, yesterday, was incorrectly stated as £13,500. It should have been £23,500, Mr William Officer being the purchaser.

5. Argus 1888.11.16 p.1


On the 13th inst., at Bonn, Germany. Frederick Christian Lange, late of Herford, Alma Road, St Kilda, aged 56 years.

6. Argus 1914.09.12 p.8

Sale by Auction

Land Auction 3 o'clock today, Herford Estate, 60 magnificent allotments, easy terms.

7. Argus 1940.01.17 p.14


Wednesday February 7, estate of the Late Thomas Rothwell, Herford Hall, 30 Lansdowne Road, large two story brick mansion.

8. Argus 1940.02.09 p.8

Reports of Auctions

Sold a large brick home at 38 Lansdowne Road for £3,500

9. Argus 1940.07.13 p.12


Wednesday July 24, 38 Lansdowne Street, East St Kilda, large demolition sale.

The St Kilda Historical Society respectfully acknowledges:

Yalukut Weelam clan

The traditional lands of the Yalukut Weelam clan and the continuing relationship of the Boon Worrung people to our local area

City of Port Phillip

The continuing support of the City of Port Phillip


The contribution made by past and present volunteers

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