Richard Childs and his wife embraced terrace house dwelling and communal living in the 1970s. In this interview Richard recalls a suburban childhood, moving to then down-at-heel inner-city Glebe, the complex task of returning a large Victorian dwelling, converted into several smaller flats, to its former grandeur and his reasons for moving to an apartment in Pyrmont. In the excerpt below he recalls general philosophical climate of the ’70s.
We were young and idealistic and at the time, in the 1970s, around Glebe this sort of thing was happening all over the place, people were sort of getting all terribly communal and so on. We bought a house, which was an old derelict Victorian establishment that had been converted in the 1930s into four units, four flats basically, and it was in a dreadful state, but it was cheap. And we had some friends of ours, a couple that we’d become friends with who we’d been on a trip to England with, and so we decided we’d buy it together. I kept seeing all this Victorian grandeur in the place and we set to, or we tried to set to, with a great deal of enthusiasm to bring it back to its former glory. We had underestimated what was involved in doing this, but nevertheless we sort of did it, and we stayed there until 2001. It took us just about all of that time to even begin to get the thing to nearly a finished state but even then it wasn’t finished.