Aerial view of Susannah Place Museum, showing Gloucester Street facade Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

They sawed the furniture in half

As anyone who has lived in a terrace house knows getting large pieces of furniture upstairs can be a frustratingly hard and sometimes hazardous exercise.  

When museum staff needed to remove a large chest of drawers from an upstairs bedroom at Susannah Place they found themselves faced with the same problem that the former tenants experienced – how to get furniture in and out via the upstairs window.

It took four staff, numerous ropes, ladders and timber supports to carefully manoeuvre the chest of drawers out the window and safely down to street level.  

Photos: Sarah-Jane Rennie and Matthew Holle © Sydney Living Museums 

For former tenants Raymond Naylor and his fiancée Joan Sutton the arrival of new furniture almost ended in tragedy. A few days before the couple were due to be married Ray and some of his mates were installing a new bedroom suite in the front bedroom of No 60. The wardrobe couldn’t fit up the stairs so the only option was to pull it up through the window using some ropes.   

The ‘result’ as Joan recalled 50 years later was Ray fell out the window landing on his head and

‘was taken to Sydney Hospital where he spent the next few weeks and I had to cancel the wedding arrangements’.  

Almost a month later Joan and Ray were finally married but they never had a proper honeymoon;

‘Ray was still an outpatient of Sydney Hospital so after the wedding we came straight home to [60] Gloucester Street where we began our life together.’

Letter from Joan Naylor (now Joan Killen) November 2002.

The number 60 on a green door.
Front door number, 60 Gloucester Street, Susannah Place Museum Photo © Haley Richardson and Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums
 
Black and white wedding photo.
Newly weds Ray and Joan Naylor pose outside the All Saints Church in Parramatta where they were married on 21 April 1951, photographer unknown. Sydney Living Museums
 

In 1944 Flo and Les Gallagher and their three year old daughter Gloria moved in with Les’s grandparents at 58 Gloucester Street. 

The number 58 on a faded green-painted surface with door bell below.
Front door of number 58 Gloucester Street. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums
 

In this oral history excerpt from 1992, Flo describes how some of their brand new bedroom furniture was cut in half before being brought up through the window.  

About the Author

Sydney Living Museums Image
Anna Cossu
Curator
Susannah Place Museum, Museum of Sydney, Justice and Police Museum
Inspired by wonderful and slightly eccentric history teachers and after her own foray as a teacher, Anna found herself drawn to the world of museums.
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