2 Broadgate

2 Broadgate

No. 2 Broadgate has been a Woman’s clothes shop, later becoming a boot/shoe shop. Here’s a potted history… 

1857

May – Summer Fashions – E. and F. Bushill beg to inform the ladies of Coventry and its vicinity that their showroom will be replete with every novelty for the season on Thursday next May 14 in millinery, felt hats, head-dresses, mantles, Straw, and fancy bonnets, hats, children’s dresses, &c. &c. at the same time return their grateful thanks for the liberal patronage they have received since their commencement in business and earnestly solicit a continuance of the same.  

Winter fashions E. & F Bushill Respectfully inform the ladies of Coventry and its vicinity that their show room will be ready for inspection on Tuesday, November 9th when it will be found replete with all the novelties of the season, comprising the newest styles in Bonnets, felt hats, head-dresses, mantles &c., & c. At the same time they beg to return their sincere thanks for past favours and earnestly solicit a continuance of the same.

Summer fashions E. & F. Bushill – respectfully inform the ladies of Coventry and its vicinity that their show of Bonnets, caps, hats, mantles &co, will be ready on Thursday next may 12th when they will be prepared to show a large and very choice assortment for which they solicit an early inspection.

1862

November – The New Berlin Cloth – Nuneaton Manufacture under the distinguished patronage of the Duchess of Northumberland, Countess of Aylesford, Lady Leigh, lady M. Feilding, lady Agnes Campbell, countess of Beverley, Viscountess Enfield, Lady Wenlock, Mrs. Newdegate, Mrs Bracebridge, Mrs Savage &c., &c.  

E & F Bushill having been appointed the sole agents beg to call the attention of ladies to the above, which will be found admirably adapted for mantles, jackets, petticoats, shawls, skirts, &c. N.B. an assortment of shawls in all colours.

1864

February shop expands to No 3 Broadgate – IMPORTANT TO GENTLEMEN – New Hat, Cap, and Hosiery establishment E and F Bushill. Having taken to the premises adjoining their No 2 Broadgate they purpose opening the same on Thursday next March 3rd with every leading novelty in Hats, Caps, Hosiery, Gloves, Ties, Scarfs, Shirts, Shirt Collars, Umbrellas, & co. &co. The whole has been carefully selected from the best manufacturers. E & F  B. Having engaged the services of a competent and experienced person as Manager, they feel every confidence in recommending the various departments to their present and future patrons. 2 & 3 Broadgate

1864

May – Sadly Mr Bushill did not have long to enjoy his new expanded shop – On the 5th May aged 59 Mr Edward Bushill of No. 2 Broadgate died.  

1875

March – Wanted a respectable Girl, as Nurse for Two Children, age about 18 Apply Mrs Bushill 2 Broadgate  – Coventry.

1877

December General Servant wanted, for private house, mush be able to do plain cooking another servant kept – Apply Mrs Bushill 2 Broadgate. 

1882

October Change of Ownership Special Notice – 2 Broadgate, Coventry Great Clearance Sale, Now on all goods must be sold – Mrs E. Bushill retiring from the millinery and fancy drapery business. His successor, H. N. Wackrill is now clearing the whole of the stock of Millinery, Lace, Hosiery, Gloves, Umbrellas, & co. less than half price for cash.

1884

June – H.N. Wackrill first-class millinery and fancy drapery for the summer season at Moderate prices. The millinery department to under the special care of Mrs Wackrill whose long practical west-end and country experience is a sufficient guarantee that entire satisfaction will be given. All orders will receive prompt personal attention. 2 – Broadgate Coventry.  Umbrellas, & co. less than half price for cash.

Coventry H. N. Wackrill fresh arrival of specialities in Millinery and fancy drapery expressly selected for summer festivities now on show. 2 Broadgate, Coventry. The summer sale commenced on the 18th inst. The whole of the stock comprising of Dresses, robes, cloaks, underclothing, pelisses, hats, bonnets, capped hoods, &co. &co. is being offered at such low prices as to effect a speedy clearance. Terms – cash.

Autumn H. N. Wackrill 2 Broadgate Coventry is now prepared with an extensive assortment of Millinery for the autumn carefully selected from the best French and English Markets. First class styles and materials at low prices. The following departments are replete with newest goods in Trimmed and untrimmed felt and straws, Flowers, feathers, crinolettes, corsets, hosiery, clogs, lace, ribbons, furs, umbrellas, aprons, handkerchies, Haslam’s long cloths & calicoes, is perfectly pure for family use and for which gold medals have been awarded at Calcutta and London for excellence and purity of manufacture to  be obtained from H. N. Warckrill 2 Broadgate, Coventry The city hat establishment. E. Bushill is now showing his New stock of autumn and winter goods incluiding hosiery, gloves, ties, braces, umbrellas, hats, commences travelling bags, Waterproofs &co. Special lines in long cloth shirts, linen fronts, 3s 6d 4s 6d, 6s, 6d and 7s 6 d. The now Undshirnable tweed flannel in all the newest shades 

H N Wackrill has now a choice stock of new goods Christmas in Caps and head dresses, fans, flower dress-trimmings, long evening gloves with hosiery to match. Lace hadkerchiefs, fichus and large assortment of goods suitable for presents, 2 Broadgate.

Apprentices to the millinery wanted apply Herbert N. Wackehill 2 Broadgate.

Annual clearance of all surplus stock at greatly reduced prices at Wackrill’s fancy drapery and milliner 2 Broadgate, Coventry for cash only during the sale.

Wanted a well-educated young lady as apprentice to the fancy drapery either in or out door apply H.N. Wackrill, 2 Bradgate.

Summer Fancy drapery and millinery fresh arrival of carefully selected novelties in every department. Special summer show Tuesday June 1 1886, Wackrill’s 2 Broadgate.

Wanted a plain cook or a general servant who can cook for a business house, apply to H. N. Wackrill, 2 broadgate.

1889

November – H. N Wackrill – is now showing the latest novelties in Millinery & fancy drapery, and Sanitary wool underclothing. Pure natural English wool, best in quality moderate in price. [Funeral orders completely furnished at any distance at H. N. Wackrill undertaker 2 Broadgate, Coventry.

1892

February – The Coventry’s Vicar’s Rate. We have been asked to insert the following letter which appears in the Daily News today – “Sir, My attention has been directed to an article in the Dialy News of Thursday entitled, “ A Vicar’s Rate War in Coventry”, in which it is stated that the churchwardens who had the collection of a voluntary rate to pay the vicar’s stipend declined to collect it, and the vicar was left stipendless. As this statement is untrue and calculated to misrepresent and injure the church wardens in the public estimation will you kindly give me space in your next issue to contradict the same. The church wardens have done everything in their power to collect the stipend of Dr Mills. According to the Act of Parliament, except by district on the goods of the parishioners, which action they are certain would have produced riot and tumult. It is to be hoped that the vicar now he is going to collect his own rate, will copy so good and wholesome an example. Dr Mills has himself to thank, and no one else for the non-collection of the rate. His great unpopularity is well known to be the sole cause. Yours &c. Herbert N. Wackrill – Churchwarden of St. Michael’s 2 Broadgate, Coventry Feb 19. P.S. A short time ago when the wardens tried to collect the rat and threatened certain persons with distrait the vicar at once gave his solicitor orders to defend any person who might be distrained upon and thus encouraged the parishioners not to pay the rate from which his stipend is derived.

May – The first batch of summonses proceedings this morning the court crowded – At the Coventry police court this morning the first batch of twenty-five summonses issued against persons “rated and assessed to the Vicar’s rate of the parish of St Michael’s who had refused neglected or omitted to pay the quarterly payment claimed to be due came on for hearing the persons summoned being called upon “to answer the said complaint and to be further dealt with according to the law”. The persons summoned were – Lists many of them – including N. Wackrill Milliner, 2 Broadgate. 

1893

April – Preliminary announcement – The premises at the corner of Broadgate lately in the occupation of the Birmingham district and countries Banking Co. and opposite the king’s head hotel. Will shortly be opened by H. N. Wackrill in the Hat Hosiery, Shirt &c. Trade. The fancy drapery and millinery will be carried on as usual at 2 Broadgate, Coventry. 

July – Porter Wanted Apply to H.N. Wackrill 2 Broadgate, Coventry.

September – Wanted a respectable girl about 14 as Housemaid apply to Mrs Wackrill 2 Broadgate Coventry.

December – Wanted for a business house a good plain cook also a young girl as housemaid apply Mrs Wackrill 2 Broadgate. 

Wanted a general servant who can cook plain joints. Apply to Mrs Wackrill 2 Broadgate.

1896

May – Notice to Cyclists – specially selected stock of cycling suits, cycling hose, cycling caps, sweaters, white flannel shirts, summer shirts vests, and pants. To all those who travel  – portmanteaux, handbags, Gladstone bags, hat cases, traveling trunks, basket trunks, overland trunks, cabin trunks, holdalls, &co. At Wackrill’s cycling depot, Coventry opposite the Kings Head Hotel. Millinery and fancy drapery, bonnets trimmed and untrimmed, divided knickers, with detachable linings, also woollen underwear for summer, blouses, shirts, hosiery &c. Wackrill’s ladies outfitters, 2 Broadgate, Coventry. [Something along the lines of…]

1901

January – New Year’s Novelties & Specialities now showing at Wackrill’s 2 Broadgate Coventry. Silk blouses, shirts and fronts, lace fischus & collars, aprons, silk ties and handkerchiefs, evening gloves, fans, lace handkerchiefs, ribbons, and chiffons. Evening hosiery in embroidered lace, initialed line handkerchiefs, fancy boxed linen handkerchiefs, High-class millinery, flowers, feathers, velvet  – specially selected for the Christmas season at Wackrill’s 2 Broadgate, Coventry. 

1903

July – H. N. Wackrill 2, Broadgate Coventry begs to inform his patrons that he is retiring from the business of milliner and fancy draper and is preparing to sell off the whole of his stock under cost price. The premises will be closed one day prior to the sale. The whole of the millinery, fancy drapery, underclothing, hosiery, skirts, gloves etc, must be cleared out before the 20th September next. An inspection is respectfully invited as there are many things that will answer your purpose to purchase. 

1903

H. N. Wackrill’s unreserved sale of millinery fancy drapery, ladies underclothing etc. will positively close on Saturday September 5th The entire stock will be offered considerably under cost price. Retiring from the millinery and fancy

11th September  – 2 Broadgate, Coventry The shop and showroom fixtures include well-made mahogany-top and black-and-gold painted counters and fitments range of shelving, silvered mirrors, mantel glasses, mahogany and deal tables, cane-seat, Windsor, and other chairs, mahogany desk, useful cupboards, gas fittings, blinds, painted bedroom furniture, bedsteads, feather beds, carpets, kitchen requisites, and other useful effects which George Loveitt & Sons are instructed by Mr. H. N. Wackrill (who is relinquishing this branch of his business) to sell by auction on Wednesday 16th September 1903 at 11 o’clock.  

1903(?)

Alfred Tyler and Sons Boot Shop Opens

Boot Trade – Wanted, Smart girl as apprentice – Apply Alfred Tyler and Son 2 Broadgate.

Boot Trade – Wanted, smart, active boy, good opening for suitable boy – apply manager Alfred Tyler and Sons 2 Broadgate.

1913

For Sale very cheap, three greeteen outside lamps three lights in each, in good order, also gasfittings, globes etc any price apply A Tyer and Sons 2 Broadgate Coventry.

Gents Cycle for sale, splendid condition real barging only 28s 6d – manager 2 Bradgate.

Lady canvassers salary and commission apply manageress after 10am 2 Bradgate Coventry.

Lady agents salary and commission – Apply after 10am Manageress Peoples Teeth Association 2 Broadgate Coventry.

1914

August – Dental practice opens upstairs: Wanted at one dental mechanic – Apply People’s Teeth Association 2 Broadgate, Coventry. 

1915

December – Boy wanted – will be taught mechanical dentistry, no previous experience required. Salary to be commenced – apply to the People’s Teeth Association 2 Broadgate, Coventry. 

1916

Seven Lighting Prosecutions Coventry residents fined for neglect. John Waters 2 Broadgate, said a light that was seen by constable Norton at 8:50pm on September 24th was left on accidentally when he went to his office on the Sunday morning to feed the cat and look at his letters. Fined £1.

1917

Economic Dentistry is the requirement of the times, but it must be good and reliable. We supply the public with artificial teeth that are good and reliable at a  price within the reach of all. Painless extraction – we extract teeth quite painlessly with the aid of the most up-to-date anesthetic. For those ordering artificial teeth, we extract teeth free of charge. Our Speciality – When it is possible to save decayed teeth by stopping them we do so by using either cement, amalgam, or gold – prices range from 2s 6d. 1/- Painless extractions – doing a large business in manufacturing in large quantities enables s to supply a really High-Class set of teeth at a price considerably below the usual cost and our vast experience has taught us how to make a success of the most difficult cases. Teeth (complete sets) £2 12 6. People’s teeth association 2 Broadgate over Tyler’s boot stores. Houses 10 till 8 Wednesday 10 till 2 – ladies always in attendance.

1917

October – Police Court – John Walters 2 Broadgate, was summoned for neglecting to notify his change of address within 28 days under the National Registration Act. Mr C. H. Wood who prosecuted said that the defendant stated his age on his registration form as 39, but a birth certificate showing he was above military age was now produced through this was in another name. Mr S. R. Masser, for the defendant, stated this would be explained. P.C. Tylor said that defendant is a dentist.

The birth certificate showed his age to be 46. It was in the name of Arthur Johnson and the defendant explained that Walters was a name he had adopted for family reasons. In the witness-box defendant stated that the certificate produced recorded his birth and he explained the domestic circumstances that led to his change of name to John Walters. The age on his registration form was purely a mistake and he did not discover it till it was too late.

With regard to not notifying his change of address, he twice mentioned it to his lodgings landlord and it was understood that the landlord would attend to this matter. He never had received a registration card and therefore had not the instructions.

When he was spoken to by the police he at once went to the recriting office and satisfied Captain Nelson that his age was 46. Mr Masser said that undoubtedly defendant was guilty of not notifying the changed address, but this was due to carelessness and not any intention of hiding his new address.

As soon as his attention was called to the matter he gave a full explanation of what had happened and also every information. Mr Wood said it should be known by the public that all men, whether of military age or not, and also women, were required to notify any change of address even if it were from one house in Coventry to another in the same city. The bench imposed a fine of 40s the chairman asked the press to emphasies the fact that it was absolutely necessary for all men and women to notify the registration office of any change of abode.

Non-Registration – John Walters, 2 Broadgate Coventry was summoned by the Town Clerk of Coventry (Mr G Sutton) for not notificy the local registration authority of his change of residence. Mr C. H Wood (from the Town Clerk’s department) prosecuted and Mr S R Masser defended pleading not guilty. P.C. Taylor giving evidence said that on the 20th September he went to defendant’s prmeises in Broadgate and asked to see his registration card. The defendant, who was a dentist, said he had not got one, and never had one. He told witness that he came from Willesden Lane, Kilburn and had been living in Coventry for three years. On October 7th he was given a registration form which he filled in and according to this his age would be 41 whereas according to his birth certificate his name was Johnson and his age was 36. The defendant said he changed his name for domestic reasons. He had been lodging in St Nicolas Street. The defendant in reply to Mr Masser said he had been known for twenty years as John Walters. In the witness-box he stated that he was the son of Henry Arthur and Sarah Ann Johnson and was born in 1871. His Christian name was registered as Arthur. He married early in life and for certain unhappy reasons was separated from his wife, and changed his name. Subsequently he married again and his wife and children continued to live at Kilburn. He was in a situation at Broadgate and lodged at 18 St Nicholas Street. The reason he gave a wrong age was because he had been living in Ireland for so and had forgotten his age. He told his landlord at his lodgings to fill up the registration form, and he thought he had done it. He never had a registration card. Mr Gorton reminded the defendant that when he did not receive a registration card it was his duty to apply for one. The defendant said he had been to the recruiting office and there were satisfied he was not liable for military service. The defendant was fined

1918

January – Lost Black cat, white facings, red collar on Friday night. Reward – People’s Teeth Association 2 Broadgate, Coventry.

1919

Artificial Teeth – At a price within the reach of all. Complete sets £2 126 life-like appearances. Teeth painlessly extracted. You need to have no fear of having teeth extracted if you come to us. Stoppings when it is possible to save decayed teeth by filling them we do so a reasonable price. People’s Teeth association 2 Broadgate Coventry over Tylers boot stores. Houses 1o till 8, Wednesday 10 till 2 ladies always in attendance.

1920

Tylers – Are clearing their war stock. Hundreds of pairs of boots and shoes at bargain prices. Genuine reductions – here are a few examples – ladies choice grey suede shoes reduced from 50/- to 42/10- Ladies fine black suede shoes reduced from 35/- to 31/- Ladies black lace Gilson shoes reduced from 15/9 to 13/10 Ladies black poplin 1 bar shoes reduced from 6/11 to 5/10 Gents tony boots High Toes reduced from 35/- to 29/10 Gents black glace boots reduced from 35/0 to 29/10 Children’s Glace Boots High leg 7s to 10s reduced from 10/9 to 8/10 etc etc. Get to Tylers at once if you wish to make sure of these exceptional bargains – a few days only – Addresses Tylers 2 Broadgate, 3 Spon Street, Coventry. As for one of Tyler’s free artistic pin trays.

August – A charge of breaking a plate-glass door panel on August at No.2 Broadgate the property of A. Tyler and Sons was preferred against Horace Welland described as a clerk of no fixed abode, who appeared in the dock at Coventry Police Court this morning. The damage was estimated at £5. Welland admitted the offense. From the evidence of Thomas Bell, 33 Heath Crescent, Stoke Health, shop manager it appeared the shop was broken after the shop had been locked up on the evening of the 20th. P.C. Hewitt said at 11.25 p.,. on the 20th the sound of smashing glass attracted his attention. The prisoner came towards him and said “I’ve Broken a window” Witness took him into custody. “I haven’t anything to say,” said the prisoner. “I was destitute at the time, had nowhere to go, and was beside myself” he had been unable to get work. The prisoner was given a bad record covering a long period, including several short terms of imprisonment. He had already served three months for window breaking. A further term of two months of hard labour was imposed. 

If you could visit the factories you would see machine after machine making the turning out as fast as they can work, our now famous South African Field Boots. You would see for yourself the soundness of the materials put into these boots. It is because of the reliability that we have sold thousands of pairs during the past few weeks and the demand is as great as ever. Double soles, leather-lined, wear-resisting (black or tan) 15/6 per pair. Tylers 2 Broadgate, Coventry.

Doctors, Clergy, Anglers, Gardeners, Golfers, Workers and “All sorts of condition of Men” have purchased thousands of our now famous SOUTH AFRICAN FIELD BOOTS during the past few weeks. They are unanimous in saying. The value is simply fine. Double soles, leather-lined, waterproof, reliable, black or tan 15/6 Have you had your pair? See window displays at Tylers the footwear experts of 60 years’ renown. Branches – 2 Broadgate, Coventry, 3 Spon Street, Coventry and Lancashire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Durham.

The first in the field “Cupwina” football boots 6’11 per pair. Boy’s and youth’s “cupwina” football boots are made exactly as the men’s size Grade C 3/11 ½ Grade B 6/11 “Cupwina” football boots are of amazing value. They have a firm block toe. Made in the popular cap, and strap design. The uppers are pliable durable and strong. The soles are rivetted, beveled at the edges, and firmly studded. A boot you can depend on. Grade C 6/11 Grade B 8/11 Grade A 11/9 per pair. See the windows, get your pair today! Bring your repairs – Tylers the sole of ease. Coventry 2 Broadgate & 3 Spon Street.

A sole with a double life. Tylers (double Wear) south african field boots. In the test of long endurance the scuff of many miles – Tylers’ south African field boots give unfailing service. They are built for the rough wear of the veldt – strong double sole, pliable in ppers, storm fronted with double tongue – yet withal stylish in design and pferect in finish. An ideal boot in black or tan. For all men who measure their day in miles of walking. And look at the price: – Officers’ Grade, 18’6 Grade B- 15/6 Grade C – 13/9 See our special displays of this boot. Tylers The sole of ease (bring your repairs) Coventry 2 Broadgate, & 3 Spon Street.

1927

November – Burtons Opens at No 2 Broadgate

[newspaper says 2 & 3 Broadgate but photos suggest No. 3 was under a different shop name – sweet shop]

1929

July – Burtons Aquire the City Hotel, and No 3 Broadgate. All to be demolished to make way for their new Store read more here

2 Broadgate

Picture House – Smithford Street

Picture House - Smithford Street

The Picture House, Smithford Street was the place to be to see the latest films from  1911 through to the end of the early 1930s. It kept up to date with the introduction of sound. Sadly due to issues with the lease, it closed its doors in 1932 and was demolished shortly after. 

Special Music and Picture every Sunday evening at 8pm, doors open at 7pm Tel: Coventry 3816

1911

Architect Albert E. King designs an electric theatre for the White Arch Palace Company Limited. Seating 447 in the stalls and 180 on the balcony.

The cinema included special apparatus necessary for the reproduction of Kinemacolour films for which the proprietors have secured the sole rights for the city. The music is provided by a piano and a pianola. Films in Colour – There was a crowded audience at the first performance. The Kinemacolor film exhibited began with views of the Indian continent to the coronation in their camp in Hampton Court and followed with views of the Coronation procession. Performances were continuous each day.

1911 4th August

Our Watchword “Refinement” The Picture House Smithford Street, Coventry. The most magnificently appointed. Place of Entertainment in Coventry. Open Friday, August 4th at 6:30 pm. Continuous exhibition. Open daily from 3 to 10:30. With a superb and up-to-date series of LIFE motion pictures. The directors beg to announce that they have secured the SOLE RIGHTS for Coventry of the Wonderful KINEMACOLOR as now being hosted at The Scala Theatre London. The only existing Stereoscopic life motion pictures in Actual Colours of Nature. “The most amazing entertainment in the annals of the amusement world”. Change of program every Monday and Thursday. Prices of admission 9d 6d 3d. Tea is supplied free of charge to patrons occupying the 9d or 6d seats every afternoon between 4 and 5.30.

Music and Dancing licenses – An application was made by councillor Nichols for a music and dancing license for the white arch picture house in Smithford street. The chief constable said the building was practically satisfactory to the police and the city engineer but both these departments had ordered alterations to the balcony. These were now being carried out and could be satisfactorily completed in a very short time. He did not want to put the applications to the trouble of serving other notices and he suggested that the bench should grant the license which would remain with the clerk until the alterations were completed. There must be certain width between the seats. The license was granted on these terms.

The Picture House Smithford Street, Coventry. Continuous exhibitions daily from 3 to 10.30 pm. The finest black and white animated pictures and the wonderful kinemacolor To night and during the week “Paris The Gay City” “Bathing at Ostend” H.M. The King Inspecting Troops” “Choosing the Wall Paper” admission 9d 6d 3d

Afternoon Teas provided free Sunday next at 8pm special exhibition.

The Picture House showed a wide variety of films of the day, titles included “What Every Woman Fears”, “The Way she won him”, “Her Buckskin Knight”, “Why I would not Marry”, “Wild Woman”, “The Changing Woman”, “Medling Woman”

1912

13th February – The aged inmates of the Coventry Workhouse this afternoon attended an entertainment at the Picture House, Smithford Street. About 120 old men and women responded to the generous invitation extended by the management of the hall. The ordinary programme of the week was shown. The interesting and varied pictures were much enjoyed by the old folks. Refreshments were also provided, each visitor was given a cup of tea and bun, these being dispensed by Mrs Nicholls and the Misses Nicholls. Councillor Nicholls, one of the directors of the hall gave a packet of tea to each woman, while each man was the recipient of a pipe and tobacco.

1920

February – Picture House owners fined: The White Arch Picture Palace Ltd St Mary’s Gate, Derby were summoned for not keeping the gangways of the Picture House Smithford Street clear during a performance on January 12th, 1920. The defendants pleaded guilty. Sergent Gunter said the passage leading to the cheap seats was completely obstructed. The trouble arose due to the absence of the Manager owing to illness and the attendant, who was new to the job (and has since been dismissed). When the manager returned the overcrowding was immediately remedied. There was no excuse for the overcrowding and a fine of £10 was issued. 

It was learned today with regret that the death of Mr. C Lyons, Manager of the Picture House, Smithford Street occurred at 5 o’clock this morning in the Dudley Hospital. His injuries occurred due to the consequences of a motorcycling accident. Mr. Lyons met with the accident when returning to Coventry from Dudley at about 10 pm on Monday evening returning from Dudley on a motorcycle with a sidecar.

Thomas Edwards, Shaw Road Dudley watchman in the employ of the Birmingham and Midland tramway Company, states that while he was on duty in his box on Monday night he saw a man, who proved to be Mr Lyons, driving from the direction of Dudley a motor-cycle to which was attached a side-car containing a lady. He shouted to the cyclist to stop, but he drove between the red lamp and the fire bucket, with the result that he was thrown off the machine, falling into a trench 12ft long and 3ft deep, the road being up for repairs to the tram lines. Mr Lyons was rendered unconscious and the lady passenger also appeared to be injured.  They were both removed to the hospital, but the lady’s injuries proved to be not of a serious nature. 

The inured motorist lay unconscious suffering from very severe injuries to the head and other parts of the body and without regaining consciousness passed away at 5 o’clock this morning as a result of concussion. 

Mrs Lyons, who was quickly in attendance upon her husband, was with him when he passed away. The deceased was 39 years of age. Mr Lyons who had managed the Picture House for some five or six years was particularly popular and well-known in Coventry cinema circles, and was also a most staunch supporter of the City Football Club; he was a very familiar figure at the Highfield Road ground and at any function connected with it. He had had considerable experience as a motorcyclist and was generally considered to be an expert rider. 

In the sidecar Mr Lyons as a passenger a Mrs Kennedy, wife of the Birmingham cinema promotor, with a theatre at Dudley, deceased had promised to take Mrs Kennedy to Birmingham on his way to Coventry. She was thrown from the sidecar and was cut about the face but was fortunately not seriously injured. 

The funeral of Mr Lyons took place on 21st February at 12 am. Survived by his wife and son Master Charles Lyons. 

Around 1925 the lamppost at the top of Smithford Street / Broadgate had signage for the Picture House. This is my bad attempt at modeling it!  

1930

27th August – A complete breakdown of the Coventry Corporation electric power supply shortly after two o’clock this afternoon caused a great deal of inconvenience in all parts of the city. The stoppage lasted for 30 minutes and in every case where factories obtain their supply from the municipal source, there was a complete cessation of work, all machinery being put out of action.

A matinee performance at the Picture House was interrupted when the power failed, the talkie apparatus was immediately put out of commission and the building plunged into darkness. To avoid causing alarm the manager of the theatre informed patrons of the reason for the breakdown and there was perfect order while the long wait followed. The program had only just commenced when the power failed.

1930

30th December – Western Electric sound equipment fitted. The Talkies are here!

For the first time  a talkie with dialogue completely in French will be shown in Coventry next week when “Sous les Toits de Paris” which was wonderfully successful in London will be shown at the picture house. Of this film which deals with a song sellers career one cricitc wrote “Although the dialogue is all in French no one need fear he will not understand what is happening . If the sound apparatus broke down the film would be just as vivid and enthralling. The acting is brilliant – a film which I advise you not to miss” In support of this picture will be “The Immortal Vagabond” a simple story about a young composer who leaves his village sweetheart to sell his opera in Vienna and lose her because her father forces a marriage with the campion cattle breeder of the district. Fame loses its sweetness and he pretends to commit suicide. Years later he returns to find a statue being erected to his glory. The finale of the story must be seen, not told.

1932

August 20th – The Picture House closes for good. Thomas Jackson who had the lease for the Picture House wanted an extension of the lease from Mr Laxon. There appears to be an oral agreement between the two that would be the case. Mr Jackson installed “Talkie Equipment” secure in the knowledge the lease would be extended – but for some reason, the agreement fell apart and ended up in the courts. The sound equipment was sent to Mr. Jackson’s other cinema – Cinema de Luxe Walsall. The building was later sold and demolished for a Dolics Shoe Shop (The first shop in Coventry to have Neon Lights!) 

Action at Birmingham Assizes – Claim for possession of Smithford Street Picture House – Dispute Concerning Oral Agreement – At Birmingham Assizes, today an action for possession of the Picture House, Smithford Street, Coventry was heard by the Commissioner (Mr T Hollis Walker k.C). The plaintiffs were Ernest Arthur Laxon and three other (formerly of Coventry) and the defendant was Thomas Jackson who held a lease of the premises and who counter claimed for specific performance of a verbal agreement for the extension of the lease. Plaintiffs were suing as trustees of the preemies which were part of the estate o the late Arthur Samuel Laxon. The action related to the termination of a disputed extension of the lease, arrears of rent also being claimed up to the date of the action. As an alternative to specific performance of an oral agreement to grant him a new lease for fourteen years from February 11th 1932 at £550 a year, defendant counter claimed damages suffered through breach of Warranty. “Talkie” Conversation – Mr J F Eales, K.C. for the plaintiffs said that the onus of proof of the alleged agreement for the extension of the lease rested with the defendant. Mr H H Joy K.C. for Mr Jackson therefore opened the case and said that towards the end of 1929 his client desired to convert the Picture House into a talkie theatre. Accordingly he communicated with Mr Laxon respecting an extension of the tenancy when the lease expired in February of this year. Mr Laxon replied that the position was somewhat delicate as his mother was not expected to live much longer, and he preferred to let the matter stand over for six months. Later Mr Jackson intimated that he could not embark o n the installation of a sound system unless he had something definite to go upon regarding the continuation of the lease. “A gentleman’s Agreement” Mr Laxon replied that he preferred to consider an extension rather than the sale of the house and the upshot was that it was provisionally agreed that  fourteen years lease be arranged with an option of purchase. Counsel described this as a gentleman’s agreement and Mr Jackson accordingly went ahead with negation with the Western Electric company for equipping the house with a sound system. Mrs Laxon died in May 1930 and there were further communications with Mr Laxon but these failed to elicit any reply and apparently other interests were being voiced. However, the following August the pair met when there was a decision that the lease should be extend as desired and that there be an increased rental of £500 with an option to purchase at £10,250. After the interview, the two men had a friendly drink together and counsel submitted that that showed that the deal was definitely fixed. However, afterwards under the will of Mrs Laxon plaintiffs were not willing that the premises should be dealt with in the way suggested. Meanwhile , Mr Jackson had been involved in an expenditure of £2,600 and also became liable for another expenditure of £3,000 in connection with the sound installation. If the extension was not now confirmed his client would lose that money.

Picture House Lease – Sequel to Coventry Dispute – Court Allows Appeal Against Judgement. The court of appeal consisting of the master of the Rolls and Lords Justices Slesser and Romer today continued the hearing of the appeal by Mr Ernest Arthur Laxon auctioneer of Coventry against the verdict of the special jury and judgement of Mr Commissioner T Hollis Walker in an action heard at Birmingham Assizes relating to the Picture House, Smithford Street, Coventry. The action was brought against Mr Thomas Jackson lessee of the premises to obtain possession and Mr Jackson counterclaimed for specific performance of an alleged agreement for a new lease or alternative damages. The jury found that Mr Laxon was not authorised to make the agreement and awarded Mr Jackson £750 damages. Mr Laxon appealed on the grounds of no evidence to support the verdict and misdirection. The Appeal Allowed – The court allowed the appeal and the Master of the Rolls, in his judgement said the court was quite clear that the trial in the court below was unsatisfactory. The summing up unfortunately did not direct the jury right on some vital matters. The action was fought on the counterclaim, and Mr Jackson claimed that a definite agreement was made to grant him a new lease, but the terms and rent were left open, and at no time was it agreed when it should commence. It appeared to him looking at the correspondence quite impossible to contend that an agreement was ever made. The correspondence seemed to defeat the contention. Away, therefore went the whole matter of the agreement and the claim for specific performance and all that was left was the claim for damages. No question was put to the jury. “Did Mr Jackson do what he did in adapting the theatre for sound apparatus relying on any representation of Mr Laxon?” and his lordship could not understand how the £750 damages were arrived at. No evidence of misrepresentation. He could see no evidence of misrepresentation by Mr Laxon. The trial was on wrong lines, but it would not be right to order a new trail. The appeal would be allowed and the judgement entered for Mr Laxon on the counter claim. The Lords Justice concurred.

Picture House – Smithford Street

Stage & Mail Coach

Stage & Mail Coaches

Before steam trains, passengers and mail were transported across the country via a system of Inns and Coaches. Coventry was an important staging post on the route between Birmingham and London. 

To put this into context, here is a potted history of how the network developed and disappeared due to the rapidly developing railway network. The map below is a work in progress.. there are a lot of inns and routes to plot (about 1/4 done so far)

Filter by
Coach Inn Name
  • Alcester, Inn ?
  • Alton
  • Amersham, Inn ?
  • Ampthill, Inn ?
  • Aylesbury, Inn ?
  • Bagshot, Inn ?
  • Baldock, Inn ?
  • Banbury, Inn ?
  • Bangor, Inn ?
  • Barnet, Inn ?
  • Barton Upon Humber, Inn ?
  • Basingstoke, Inn ?
  • Bath, Inn ?
  • Bath, White Hart, Stall Street
  • Bedford, Inn ?
  • Bettws-y-Coed, Inn ?
  • Bicester, Inn ?
  • Biggleswade, Inn ?
  • Billericay, Inn ?
  • Birkhamsted, Inn ?
  • Birmingham, Hen and Chicken, High Street
  • Birmingham, Inn ?
  • Birmingham, The Albion ?
  • Bishops Stortford, Inn ?
  • Boar & Castle 6 Oxford Street
  • Bourne, Inn ?
  • Brackley, Inn ?
  • Brentwood, Inn ?
  • Brigg, Inn ?
  • Brighton Hine's Office 52 East Street
  • Buckingham, Inn ?
  • Calne, Inn ?
  • Camberley, Inn ?
  • Capel Curig, Inn ?
  • Capp's Office, 5 Castle Square, Brighton
  • Castle Square
  • Chester, Feather's Inn, Bridge Street
  • Chippenham, Inn ?
  • Coleshill, Inn ?
  • Corwen, Inn ?
  • Coventry, City Hotel, Broadgate
  • Coventry, Craven Arms, Coventry
  • Daventry, Inn ?
  • Devizes, Inn ?
  • Droitwich, Inn ?
  • Dunchurch, Inn ?
  • Dunstable, Inn ?
  • Ealing, Inn ?
  • Earl Shilton, Inn ?
  • Easton Socon, Inn ?
  • Egham, Inn ?
  • Elstree
  • Epping, Inn ?
  • Feckenham, Inn ?
  • Fenny Stratford, Inn ?
  • George & Blue Boar 270 Holborn
  • Harpenden, Inn ?
  • Hartley, Inn ?
  • Hatfield, Inn ?
  • Hemel Hempstead, Inn ?
  • Henley, Inn ?
  • Hertford, Inn ?
  • High Wycombe, Inn ?
  • Hinckley, Inn ?
  • Hitchin, Inn ?
  • Hoddesdon, Inn ?
  • Holyhead, Spencer's Hotel?
  • Hounslow, Inn ?
  • Hungerford, Inn ?
  • Ilford, Inn ?
  • Kingston, Inn ?
  • Knutsford, Inn ?
  • Leamington, Inn ?
  • Leicester, George Inn? / unknown
  • Lincoln, Inn ?
  • Litchfield, Inn ?
  • Liverpool, Angel Inn & Talbot Inn, Dale Street
  • Llangollen, Inn ?
  • London, Addlestone
  • London, Blossoms Inn, Lawrence Lane
  • London, Bolt-in-Tun, 64 Fleet Street
  • London, Bull and Mouth Inn
  • London, Edgware
  • London, Esher
  • London, Farnham
  • London, General Post Office
  • London, George and the Blue Bear, 270 Holborn High Street
  • London, George, Aldemanbury ?
  • London, Gerrard's Hall, Basing Lane / Bread Street ?
  • London, Golden Cross, Charing Cross
  • London, Guildford
  • London, Hampton
  • London, Kew
  • London, Kings Arms, Snow Hill
  • London, Molesey
  • London, Saracens Head, Snow Hill
  • London, Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street
  • London, Teddington
  • London, The Belle Savage
  • London, The Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane
  • London, Three Cups Aldersgate
  • London, Twickenham
  • London, Weybridge
  • London, White Horse, 90 Fetter Lane
  • Loughborough, Inn ?
  • Luton, Inn ?
  • Maidenhead, Inn ?
  • Manchester, Star Coaching House, Piccadilly Gardens
  • Manchester, The Mosley Arms Hotel, Piccadilly Gardens
  • Manchester, The Royal, Piccadilly Gardens
  • Market Deeping, Inn ?
  • Marlborough, Inn ?
  • Melksham, Inn ?
  • Melton Mowbray, Inn ?
  • Newbury, Inn?
  • Newcastle Under Lyme, Inn ?
  • Norman Cross
  • Nuneaton, Inn ?
  • Odiham, Inn ?
  • Oswestry, Inn ?
  • Oxford, Inn ?
  • Peterborough, Inn ?
  • Portman Street ?
  • Reading, Inn ?
  • Red Office, 10 Castle Square
  • Redbourn, Inn ?
  • Richmond, London
  • Romford, Inn ?
  • Sawbridgeworth, Inn ?
  • Shefford, Inn ?
  • Shifnal, Inn ?
  • Shipston on Stour, Inn ?
  • Shrewsbury, Lion Inn, Wyle Cop
  • Silsoe, Inn ?
  • Sleaford, Inn ?
  • Slough, Inn ?
  • Snow's Office, 3 Castle Square
  • Solihull, Inn ?
  • St Albans, Inn ?
  • Stains, Inn
  • Stamford, Inn ?
  • Stanmore, Inn ?
  • Stevenage, Inn ?
  • Stone, Inn ?
  • Stony Stratford, Inn ?
  • Stratford Upon Avon, Inn ?
  • The Bush
  • The Spread Eagle
  • Towcester, Inn ?
  • Tring, Inn ?
  • Uxbridge, Inn ?
  • Waltham Cross, Inn ?
  • Walton, London
  • Warrington, Inn ?
  • Warwick, Inn ?
  • Watford, Inn ?
  • Wendover
  • White Bear, Bassinghall Street
  • Winslow, Inn ?
  • Wolverhampton, Inn ?
  • Woodford, Inn ?
  • Woodstock, Inn ?
  • Worcester, Unicorn, Broad Street
  • Yorkshire Stingo

1512

Henry VIII sent messages via his own royal mail, this was headed up by the Post Master General. This was useful for the running of the country, communicating with the army, navy and foreign courts. Only the king and his officials could use the Royal Mail. Private mail by unofficial post boys could spread treason and was discouraged by pain of death. 

1629

Charles the first needed to raise money. He allowed private messages to be carried via the Royal Mail. In 1631 a Public Post Office was opened in London. Six routes were available: Dover, Yarmouth, Edinburgh, Holyhead, Milford Haven and Plymouth. Private mail on these routes was banned, making the Royal Mail a monopoly. Inn keepers along the route rented the passing business from the King, becoming Post Masters. From these Inns post boys would distribute mail to minor the minor routes. 

The receiver (not the sender) paid the postage and could refuse to receive. The charge was based on the distance travelled and the number of pages. This meant a lot of post was refused, making the system very inefficient and expensive. 

1706

Turnpike System Developed –  The government leased routes to local trusts. The trust would collect tolls from the roads and be responsible for maintenance. 

Pierre Trésaguet developed an effective road building method that was slowly adopted through the UK. This vastly improved the speed and reliability of road travel. 

1784

John Palmer (Bath Theatre Manager) with no experience of the postal service petitioned the government with an idea: The government would own a network of Mail Coaches that ran to a strict time table. Passengers would offset the costs 4 inside and 3 outside. Post would be carried in the boot. (Essentially setting up the first national transit system). The scheme worked and Palmer became Controller General of the Post Office in 1786. 

There was no room for luggage and most passengers had to send it separately via a slower means (Pickfords). 

 

John McAdam developed a road surface with stone, gravel and a cement /tar, along with good drainage cut down the maintenance costs. This was one of the greatest improvements in road building since the roman times. Precursor to Tarmac(Adam) see 1846. 

1784

Roads improved  – Private Stage Coaches became popular, mainly because they travelled during the day whereas Mail Coaches travelled at unsociable times. Passengers would arrive when everything was shut!

Stage Coaches included stops for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They were able to accommodate 4 passengers inside and up to 11 outside. Mail coaches were restricted to 4 inside and 3 outside. 

Horses would work for 1 hour (10 miles) a day, for 3 days and rested the fourth day. They would last for 2 years before being changed to lighter / slower work (Pickfords). 

1830

15th September – Liverpool – Manchester Railway Opened 

[12 years left for coach travel, 8 years for Coventry]

1836

Coach Travel was at its peak. Think of the logistics of organising a trip, for yourself, your luggage and accommodation. 

1837

4th July – Birmingham (Curzon Street) –  Newton Junction Railway Opened (connecting Birmingham to Liverpool and Manchester)

[5 years left for coach travel, 1 year for Coventry]

1837

28th October Red Rover Stage Coach re-established London – Coventry – Walsall – Stafford – Newcastle  – Under-Lyne – Congleton – Macclesfield – Stockport – Manchester. This was the last effort to try and save the way of Coach travel.. it was doomed to fail. 

1838

4th July – Birmingham (Curzon Street) –  Newton Junction Railway Opened (connecting Birmingham to Liverpool and Manchester)

[5 years left for coach travel, 1 year for Coventry]

1842

Nationally all long distance Stage Coaches had stopped. Only short distance feeder coaches to train stations remained in operation.

1846

6th January – Last Mail Coach Norwich via Newmarket – London

(and no one seemed to care)

1846

Coventry – Manchester:
Coventry – London:

1846

Turnpikes: Without stage or Mail Coaches they could only receive tolls from farmers with Cattle / flocks. Roads fell in to disrepair, neighbouring properties often ‘stole’ land from the road. So a 30 yard (27.4) road became 12m or narrower. It was only until the invention of the motor car (the late 1880s) did attention turn to the quality of intercity roads again. In 1902 Tarmacadam was invented. 

Reference

Stage & Mail Coach

1892 Miss Sinclair

1892 Miss Alice Sinclair

1892

Miss Sinclair is a professional swimmer and has traveled extensively across the country and the continent. 

Miss Sinclair rode bareback as Lady Godiva in the 1892 parade. Experienced in snake charming, with a python for a necklace and a viper for a bracelet. In the evening she performed her routine at the Empire Music Hall. During the routine, a big Indian python bit her on the back of the hand, for which her hand swelled greatly. Fortunately, a physician was quick to attend. Repeating the same act the following night with a bandaged hand. 

Miss Sinclair also appeared at the Crystal Palace in 1885. 

1892 Miss Alice Sinclair
1892 Miss Sinclair