|Who is it?||Architect|
|Birth Day||June 04, 1855|
|Birth Place||Melbourne, Victoria, Australian|
|Age||164 YEARS OLD|
|Died On||25 May 1918 (aged 62)\nAbbotsford, Victoria|
|Buildings||Princess Theatre, St Kilda Town Hall, Queens Bridge, Bryant and May Factory, Wellington Opera House, Rialto Buildings, Olderfleet Buildings, Victoria Brewery.|
William Pitt was born in 1855 in Melbourne two years after his parents emigrated to Australia from Sunderland in England. His Father, also william Pitt, ran some of the most notable cafes in Melbourne and was a practising Artist. Raised in the suburb of St Kilda, he was educated at the Hofwyl School in St Kilda  later attended George Henry Neighbour's college in Carlton. He later moved to the suburb of Abbotsford.
Pitt began his own architectural practice in 1879 at the age of 24 after winning the competition for the Melbourne Coffee Palace Bourke Street (between Swanton and Russell Streets). His design of an elaborate Renaissance Revival style facade over five storeys set the tone for the level of detail he would lavish on his subsequent boom era designs.
Pitt worked for the Collinswood-based Foy & Gibson for much of his professional life, starting in the late 1880s, and this also sustained him after the crash. He designed many of the still extant buildings between 1896 and the 1910s that form the huge complex of large-scale factory buildings, whose red-brick rhythmic vertical piers and large cornices dominate Oxford and Cambridge Streets in Collingwood.
Competition wins marked the success of his early years, winning that for an equally elaborate Renaissance Revival Premier Permanent Building Society (1882), and the Falls Bridge (Queens Bridge) in the same year (not built),
His first prize winning entry in 1883 for "Our Lodgings" (later Gordon House) in Little Bourke Street, was an exception to his generally elaborate designs, being instead in an austere Tudor mode suitable for housing for poor single men.
Pitt's theatre work began with one of this best known buildings, and the most elaborate 19th century theatre exterior to survive in Australia, the Second Empire style Princess Theatre (1886) in Spring Street. The elaborate dome-like Mansard roofed pavilions, the each topped by crown-like cast iron capping, still makes a striking statement in Spring Street, and the sumptuous marble stair and elaborately ceilinged circle foyer are the finest Victorian era theatre interiors to survive in Australia (the auditorium itself was replaced in 1922).
Perhaps following this success, in 1887, Pitt was appointed vice-president of the Victorian Institute of Architects.
He was also active in local politics, elected to the City of Collingwood council in 1888, where he was the mayor for 1890, before retiring from council in 1894. In 1891-92 he sat on the Melbourne Board of Works as the representative of the City of Collingwood.
Pitt married Elizabeth Mary Liddy on 23 October 1889 at St Peter's Church. On 25 May 1918, he died at home in Abbotsford, and was buried in St Kilda General Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.
He was a staunch protectionist and a vocal supporter of the Australian Federation Movement, and acted on these views while a member of the Victorian Parliament. He sat in the Victorian Legislative Council from 1891-1910, first for North Yarra Province until 1904, then Melbourne East Province until 1910.
In 1892, he showed his passionate support for the Collingwood Football Club by designing a grandstand for Victoria Park for free.
Like so many others, Pitt suffered a massive financial setback during the financial crisis of 1893. Not only did he lose commissions as building work practically ceased, but other Investments failed.
He was an active member of the Australian Natives' Association, the Freemasons, a patron of the Collingwood Football Club, and a member of the Melbourne Harbour Trust from 1894 to 1913 (chairman, 1901-05).
The first was the distinctive red-brick castellated design of additions and alterations to the Victoria Brewery on Victoria Parade in East Melbourne. The first section built to his design was completed in 1896, and he went on to design many additions into the 1910s creating the large walled complex seen today.
He also renovated many older theatres, such as His Majesty's Ballarat, where he inserted new balconies in 1898 and Her Majesty's, Pitt Street, Sydney (1903, demolished), where he inserted a new interior following a fire. His work even extended to one of the first luxury cinema buildings in Melbourne, the Hoyts De Luxe in Bourke Street (1915, facade remains under later cladding). Some declared him at the time to be the greatest theatre Architect in Australia.
His theatre work included numerous new theatres such as the New Opera House (later the Tivoli), Bourke Street (1900, demolished), the King's Theatre, Russell Street, Melbourne (1908, demolished), the Theatre Royal, Adelaide (1914, demolished), and in New Zealand the Opera House, Wellington (1914). These were designed in a range of styles, though the Tivoli was by far the most inventive, featuring a red brick facade with exotic Moorish horseshoe arches, topped by a globe. The others were all relatively simple classical designs, with pilasters and pedimented facades, and grand but not overly elaborate interiors.
Another rare foray into residential architecture in this period was Avalon (1903) at 70 Queens Road, demolished 2008.
A third major commission was the enormous main building of the Bryant and May Factory, built in 1909 on Church Street in inner suburban Richmond, also in a red-brick piered format, bit with more lively expression than Foy & Gibson, and a street facade that included Art Nouveau details.
Other projects include the Victorian Racing Club (1910), Collins Street (demolished), and a number of hotels such as the Charles Hotham Hotel (1912), on the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets.