As with other Annandale lanes, while Nelson Lane has several buildings with obvious industrial features, it is not easy to trace their use through Sands and Wise.
In many instances the sites along the lane are merely the rear of properties which front Nelson Street (to the west) or Taylor Street (to the east). However, as was common in the suburb, these rear portions of sites along the lane were commonly used by small workshops and factories that operated independently of whatever house or business fronted the principal street such as Nelson Street.
Sands only lists Nelson Lane from about 1925. Indeed, it is not clear whether the 1925 edition is even referring to what is now called Nelson Lane. The listings from that time principally refer to businesses on the east side of the lane. By 1930 they included several metal and brass works, an oil manufacturer or merchant, a wood moulder and a box maker. Only a few signs of those businesses remain. In the same year the only business recorded on the west side of the lane was a cabinet works, though its location along the lane is not stated.
Between 1935 and 1950 few listings appear in Wise for any businesses in Nelson Lane.
Only extant buildings which have a clear industrial character are referred to below.
east side (rear of Taylor Street).
This small factory at the rear of 96 Taylor Street housed the Boyd Cabinet Works in the early 1930’s. As at 1935 D Falshaw had taken over the cabinet works. McEwen & Co, upholsterers worked where in the early 1940’s.
west side (rear of nelson street).
No. 205 (Rear of 205 Nelson Street)
205 Nelson Street does not seem to have a significant industrial or commercial past. Sands suggests residential use from about 1905, although in 1950 Wise lists a pattern maker as the occupant.
On the other hand, 205 Nelson Lane (pictured) has a strong industrial character. It is difficult to date. It may have been built in the 1940’s or 1950’s. However, Sands and Wise have no listings for it.
No. 209 (Rear of 209 Nelson Street)
Directory listings for 209 Nelson Street indicate residential use from the 1890’s which is consistent with the nature of the building which fronts Nelson Street. There is no clear record of the large building at the rear (pictured) ever being used for some separate commercial purpose and it may simply have been stables used by the residents of the Nelson Street house.
The building (and the associated residence) is very clearly depicted in the following photograph looking west to Annandale from near the Johnston Creek viaduct in about 1893/94. The building has barely changed.
Nos. 233-235 (Rear of 233-235 Nelson Street)
The industrial history of Nos. 233-235 Nelson Street is described below. It seems that the history of the use of the lane frontage is to an extent independent of that of the Nelson St frontage, though they are now both part of the same structure. The only information about the use of the lane frontage is in Wise 1935 which lists WH Findlay & Co, metal stampers at what is now all or part of then rear of Nos. 233-235 Nelson Street. The businesses later listed as occupying the Nelson Street frontage in the 1950’s seem to be distinct from WH Findlay and so the site probably housed several businesses at that time.
In 1950 Cage & Lawler, brass finishers and founders are recorded as being at the rear of what is now Nos. 233-235 along with Crystal Star Products, cabinet makers suppliers.