Thomas Hodgson Bromfield was a prominent member of a family of well known schoolmasters in Hobart Town in the early to mid 1800's. By 1845, he was proprietor of a school based in Roxburgh House in Elizabeth Street. he continued in this role for some time until in August 1863, he purchased the corner block of what was known as the "Limekilns Reserve" subdivision at the top end of Murray street. According to the Government gazette, the area was named after the Government Limekilns that has operated in the area since 1816.
On his newly acquired Murray Street lot, Bromfield built his new school building and called it the "Tasmanian Academy". For many years after this, his school enjoyed a very sound reputation. Gatesheath has one particularly extraordinary feature inside. There is a single large room on the right hand side of the short hallway. It is broad, extending the full width of the house and takes up nearly half of the available ground floor area. There is a very good reason for this feature. The extra large room was the original classroom.
Many years later, when Bromfield's grandson. Mr F.C.L. Alcock, owned Gatesheath, it was also known as "The Dairy" because he worked as a milk vendor and customers would often come around to pick up their milk from the house.
Gatesheath is an excellent example of a basic simple design. Steep stairs inside lead up to 4 well lit rooms that are not visible from the Murray street approach. The house apparently remained in the Alcock family until 1989 when it was sold as part of a deceased estate. The house now remains in private ownership.
It is a beautiful looking cottage and sits in a very prominent position at the intersection roundabout of Murray Street & Burnett Street.
Main Information & Text Sources -
“Mansions, Cottages and All Saints” – Book by Audrey Holiday & Walter Eastman