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… 


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.


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.


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


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.  


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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…]


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. 


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. 


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.  


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.


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.


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


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. 


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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]


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

No. 4 Broadgate

No 4 Broadgate

No. 4 Broadgate – an important location in the centre of the city. Astley’s was founded in 1730 – one of the oldest shops in Coventry selling a range of cleaning products. In fact the company is still going to present day – www.astlleys.co.uk  


Anne Astley – Broadgate Coventry agent for Patterson’s Marble and General House Cleaning Paste.

James Patent Preservation Paint – for rendering timber and wood work indestructible or as durable as iron or slates. Sold by appointment by Mrs Astley, Oil and Colour Warehouse, Broadgate, Coventry.

Accident – An occurrence took place in the shop of Mrs Astley of Broadgate on Tuesday afternoon which had well nigh provided of most destructive consequences. An earthen pot or jar had been most incautiously and imprudently placed upon a stove in the centre of the shop, for the purpose of simmering or boiling a mixture of turpentine and other ingredients, when the jar flew, from the effects of the heat, and its contents took fire. The scene at once became most alarming, the blaze ascending to the ceiling and spreading instantaneously to the shelves and holes, wherein were placed good of a very inflammable nature. Fortunately, the time of day was favourable and some individuals who happened to be passing or near the spot, had presence of mind enough to resort to means suited to the emergency. The goods most in danger were pulled down with promptitude and well supplied with water and in a short time the fire was so far checked and prevented from spreading as to confine the damage to a small amount. The narrowness of the escapes however of devastating wreck of property ought to operate as a warning, for if in this case the fire had communicated to the oils, turpentine and other such like stock, no one can guess where the mischief would have ended.

The Patent Camphine Lamp – As an article of domestic use both for elegant and utility, the patent camphine lamp has now become highly appreciated wherever it has had the advantage of trial or examination and with the recent improvements announced by Mr H Room and which may be seen at the shop of the agent Mrs Astley of Broadgate consisting of the ingenious  chimney, the non conductor and the patent folded shade it is unquestionable a lamp of surpassing excellence.

Watkins & Co. Beg to call the attention of coach and harness makers and the public generally, to an invaluable discovery they have made of the preservation of new and restoration of old leather it will likewise make the hardest leather pliable also a certain cure for greasy and cracked heels as well as for brittle hoofs of horses. They earnestly solicit a trial, feeling assured that one will suffice to prove its efficacy. Sold with printed directions for use, by the patentees Watkins and Co. 308 Oxford Street and by their agents Messrs Astley and Co, oil and colourmen Broadgate Coventry.

Astley & Co. Broadgate Coventry Dealers in Terpauling, Sacks, Linseed, oil Cake &co. beg to inform their friends they have on hand a stock of that important and useful article Tar Cord Sheep Fencing, the utility of which above all other fencing for economy in time and money has been too long known and provided to require any comment. Manufactured by Astley and Co. and sold by them and their agents – Messrs Procotor and Ryland Agricultural Implement Makers Birmingham – H. and T. Proctor ditto Bristol C. G. Proctor ditto Emscote near Warwick.

Astley & Co. 4 Broadgate Coventry Beg respectfully to inform the Nobility Gentry and families generally, that they have on hand a choice assortment of French Moderator, Camphine & Paraffin lamps of the Newest designs, in China and Bronze. Genuine sperm, French colza, paraffin, and oils of all kinds. Wax, Sperm, Composite & Brinklow Candles.

Wanted a respectable youth as an Apprentice Apply to Astley and Co. 4 Broadgate.

Astley and Co. No. 4 Broadgate Coventry Oil, colour and seed merchants. Robe and Twine Manufactures. Dealers in linseed and linseed cakes. Sheep fencing, sacks, rick cloths &c. &c. Moderator, Camphine & Paraffin Lamps, Sperm, Colza, refined rape, lard, seal and whale oils. And every article necessary for lamps. Sperm, wax, Belmont, composite and brinklow candles.

Coventry Volunteer fire brigade No. 1 Beat included J. S. Astley 4 Broadgate.

French moderator lamps, Paraffin lamps from 1s upwards. Finest French colza oil, young’s non-explosive paraffin, wax, sperm, Belmont, and composite candles, child’s and prices New patent night lights. Astley & Co. Oil, colour and seed merchants. No. 4 Broadgate.

Astley & Co. Rope and Twine Manufacturers, 4 Broadgate Coventry. Having purchased the entire stock of Mr Joseph Morris, Rope and Twine Manufacturer West Orchard (who has declined business) beg to inform his friends and the public generally that they will supply them on the same terms as heretofore, and respectfully solicits a continuance of these favours conferred on Mr. Morris.

Autumn Sowing Odams’s manures manufactured by the patent nitro-phosphate or blood manure company limited consisting of tenant farmers occupying upwards of 50,000 acres of land. Odams’s wheat manures, Odams’s prepared guano appointed agent – John Astley 4 Broadgate.

To the editor of the Coventry Standard – 4 Broadgate, Coventry. Monday December 16 1867 – Sir, By the standard of last Friday I learn that a meeting of the General Committee of the Coventry &c., Exhibition was called by circular for Tuesday, November 26th. I am a member of that committee, but was not summoned, “ut antea” I am sir, yours truly, John Astley.

Native Guano (Trade Mark) The Native guano company (limited) are now prepared to supply the above valuable manure equal in agricultural value to peruvian guano at one after the price as manufactured at the sewage works, Leamington, under  Messrs Sillar and Wigner’s patent A B C Process. Mr John Astley No. 4 Broadgate Coventry. Sole agent for this district. From whom samples and further information can be obtained. Price £3. 10s per ton in bags of 2cwt each. Offices 116 Warwick Street, Leamington.

For back numbers of the work “History of Coventry” published by W. F. Taunton available at Mr John Astley, 4 Broadgate, Coventry.

Wanted a general servant who must be a good plain cook, also a nurse maid, not under 18 years of age, apply J Astley 4 Broadgate.

Turnip Seeds in every approved variety – Linseed & Cotton cakes. Sole agent for Thorley’s and Beach’s Cattle spice. Odam’s Nitro-phosphate or Blood manures. Long’s Specific for scab in sheep. Concentrated tobacco juice for dipping and dressing sheep. Spratt’s dog biscuits and poultry food. Manufacturer of ropes and twines. Rick & Waggon Sheets. John Astley 4 Broadgate. Ropery – Tower yard, Hales Street.

Taunton’s History of Coventry – Bound in Handsome Cloth Boards. Limited number of copies will be sold at considerably reduced price in order to realise, by J. Astley 4 Broadgate.

Agricultural seeds – Red and white cloves, Trefoil, &c. scotch, Italian, pasture and lawn grasses. Mangold Wurtzel. Painters’ Colours, Varnishes and Brushes.

Sharpe’s Monarch swede Sutton’s champion swede and other turnip seeds.

Burn Only Strange’s A 1 Crustal Oil – There is no Oil Equal to it for Colour, Safety, Freedom from Smell, and beautiful white light, one trial will prove the difference between Strange’s A 1 Crystal and oil sold as Crystal Oil. Agent for Coventry, John Astley, 4 Broadgate


Natrona Oil – For burning in all kinds of petroleum and paraffin lamps. Being extra fined it is colourless, free from smell and absolute the safest oil that can be used. The light from it surpasses all other in brightness and intensity. Agent for Hinck’s Patent duplex lamps – a select variety kept in stock with lamps by other makers, chimnies, globes, wicks &c. &c. Colza oil for moderator and solar lamps. John Astley, Oil, colour and seedsman, robe and twine manufacturer 4 Broadgate, Coventry.

Alexandra oil – safest sweetest and best for burning in Duplex, Silber, Paragon and all paraffin or petroleum lamps. Safest – its igniting point being 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or from 30 to 35 degrees safer than oils usually sold as safe. Sweetest and Bes t- Has no unpleasant odour and burns with a pure white flame, without smoke or smell and is perfectly colourless. Alexandra oil is the only mineral oil that may at all times be relied on as possessing the quantities named, so essential to safety economy and comfort. Sole proprietors J. L. Thomas and Co. Exeter. Wholesale of Palmer & Co. Clerkenwell, London Agent in Coventry – John Astley 4 Broadgate.

John Astley Agricultural Seedsman – The oldest establishment in the trade in the district. Please note that instead of printing and distributing costly price lists, J Astley gives his customers the Benefit of Supplying seeds of better quality at the same or lower prices – 4 Broadgate, Coventry Samples and prices fee upon application.

John Astley & Son – Oil Colour, Glass and Lead Merchants – Rope and twine spinners tent and waterproof sheet makers – 4 Broadgate Coventry: Blue Vitriol Lump or Powered 3d per pound.

John Astley & Son Oil, Colour, Glass and Lead Merchants – Ready mixed paints in tins, all colours (Own manufacture) 4d & 5d per lb Enamel paints (Blundell’s & Aspinall’s 1/3 tins, 101/2d each. Rope & Twine Spinners – Coir yarn (for thatching) 31/2d and 4d per lb – Marque tent and rick sheet makers – Lawn Tents from 30’ each Umbrella tents from 24’- each. Tents for hire. 4 Broadgate Coventry.

John Astley & Son Merchants and manufacturers of Machinery oils – Burning oils, Paint, Glass, Lead, Ropes, Tines, Scaffold Cords, Waterproof oil Sheets for Wagons, Carts and Vans, rick sheets, tents, horse cloths and table lamps, hanging lamps (single and double wicks and central air draughts) 4 Broadgate Coventry.

Astley’s Gas Motor Engine Oil – Specially manufactured for gas engines. 3/- per gallon in 1,2,6 nd 12 gallon tins also in 2/9. Cask free tins charged and allowed when returned carriage paid on 12 gallons upwards. Non genuine unless bearing John Astley & Sons registered trade mark. 4 Broadgate, Coventry.

Agricultural seeds, clove & grasses, for one year’s lay 8s, 6d per acre, for two or three years lay 12s 6d per acre. Mangolds, Swedes, Turnips price list free upon application. John Astley and Son 4 Broadgate – Established over 160 years.

St Michael’s Vicar’s Rate – The first batch of summonses proceedings this morning the court crowned – including Astley and Sons – Oil and colour merchants 

Splendid colour print of her Majesty the Queen (size 44 by 34) Price 2s 6d only Framed, Mounted and Glazed from 4s 6d. Sole Agents for Coventry – John Astley and Sons.

A request for payment resented – A police court – James McDowell, tailor Smithford Street was summoned at Coventry Police Court this morning for assaulting Thomas Ed. Cave 4 Broadgate. Mr Maddocks appeared for the complainant and explained the circumstances of the case, which were rather interesting. The complaint was an assistant in the employ of Messrs Astley and in the ordinary course of his duty had to write the defendant in respect to payment of an account. The letter was delivered on Thursday week and on the following Saturday the defendant entered Messrs Astley’s Sop in a very excited state and asked for the man who had signed the letter. Complainant said he sent it and defendant then said “I would screw your neck out, if you were not authorised”. He used an abusive expression towards complainant who then said “Don’t let us have this language in the shop” and at the same time put his hand on defendant’s arm. Defendant then punched complainant three times, tore up the letter and threw the pieces at Mr Cave. The offence was more of a technical than of a serious character by the proceedings were taken to show that an assistant in a shop was not to be treated as the complainant was. Complainant would be quite satisfied if Mr McDowell would express his contrition for what had taken place, and give an undertaking that it should not occur again. Defendant said he was willing to do this. He added that the amount was only 6s 9d and it was not overdue. The complainant poked him in the shoulders with his fingers and he defendant only returned the compliment. Alderman Marriott told the defendant that it was a usual thing amongst tradesmen to send out letters like this mentioned, asking for payment when an account was outstanding and was not a matter that defendant ought to have been offended at. The case was dismissed on the payment of the costs.

Boy Wanted for Office – One with experience preferred John Astley and Sons Ltd 4 Broadgate.

Tents, rick sheets, sun blinds, awnings etc. etc. Lawn tents from 21s rick sheets for hire tents for hire John Asltey and Sons Ltd 4 Broadgate Coventry


John Astley and Sons Ltd – Manufactures of Horse Cloths, Rugs, Waterproof aprons, loin cloths, and all kinds of Horse Clothing 4 Broadgate Coventry.

Young Lady Assistant Wanted Johnson Brothers 4 Broadgate.

Waterproof Sheets coats, leggings, horse cloths, India rubber trap aprons and lion covers, night rugs, jute sheets, surcingles and rollers Large stock to select from – John Astley and sons ltd 4 Broadgate Coventry.

Wanted strong youth Apply John Astley and Sons Ltd 4 Broadgate. Coventry.

Carter for delivering goods in town and country – John Astley and Sons Ltd 4 Broadgate.

Coronation Festivities John Astley & Sons Ltd – Will be pleased to give estimates for all illuminating and decorating of private, public or business premises. Tents, flags, streamers, trophies, banners, illumination lamps & devices for hire 4 Broadgate Coventry.

In this column every week will be found a list of the most enterprising local tradesmen with their Telephone Numbers. The list is always at your service to save time trouble and energy – Oil, Colour, Glass and Lead Merchants – John Astley and Sons Ltd 4 Broadgate

Tel. 64

To Horse Keepers – for horse-cloths and rugs, nose-bags and stable requisites, apply to the manufacturers John Astley and Sons Ltd – 4 Broadgate Coventry Telephone 64.

Wanted at once, rope splicers part or whole time. Astley and Sons 4 Broadgate, Coventry

Wanted Vanman good experience of horses, Astley’s Ltd 4 Broadgate.

Important Questions of Hiring Horses – At Leamington on Monday, an adjourned case was taken in which Messrs. J Astley and Sons. Ltd of 4 Broadagate were summoned for permitting a mare to be worked while in an unfit state on December 9th. A fortnight ago, when the case came on originally a man named Darbyshire, in the employ of Messrs Astley was fined £2, including costs for working the mare, and evidence was given the Messrs Astley permitted the animal to be worked but the objection was raised that they were not the actual owners of the animal but had hire her from another firm. It was argued that the Act provided only for the prosecution of owners, and that therefore Messrs Astley could not be held liable. The Bench now upheld the objection and agreed to state the case.

Wanted warehousemen – Apply John Astley and Sons ltd 4 Broadgate Coventry.

John Astley & Sons Ltd Manufacturers of Tarpaulins, Water-proof sheets Van & Lorry Covers. Aprons, Coats, Leggings, Sou’westers, Loin Cloths, Nosebags, 4 Broadgate Coventry.

Astley’s are the only makers in this city of Tarpaulins, waterproof sheets, horse cloths, oil skins, canvas covers, dust sheets, shop & factory blinds, ropes, cords, twines. Established 1730 4 Broadgate, Coventry.

Citizens of Coventry John Astley & Sons Ltd wish to draw you attention to an Exhibit of Ancient Interest in their window at 4 Broadgate

Nov 3 – Nov 8th Wall Paper Sale – Thousands of rolls must be sold all at bargain prices – Inspection invited – 4 Broadgate.

Factory for sale – freehold. Lofty two bay ground floor north light 202ft by 42ft other small buildings attached. Heating apparatus electric light and power water lavatories all standing on 5 acres ground. Ready for immediate occupation – situated Lythall’s Lane, Coventry. Details and price from Astley’s 4 Broadgate.

I’m Dr Ray of Sunshine and my prescription is put holviglass in your windows in place of orginary glass. Holviglass enables the healing power of the sun’s rays (the ultra-violet)to go through the glass into your home destroying germs and giving robust vigour and fitness to all the family. Holviglass means new life and health for children, invalids, everyone and costs little more than ordinary glass. Write to Holophane Ltd to-day for full details. Holophane Ltd Elverton Street London SW 1 Glaze with Holviglass “Health as well as light” Get the Holviglass booklet from Astley’s who will be pleased to supply full information prices etc upon request Astley’s Ltd 4 Broadgate Coventry. Phone 3137

Astley’s fluid disinfectant from 71/2 per bottle still the best value 4 Broadgate.


I’m Dr Ray of Sunshine and my prescription is put holviglass in your windows in place of orginary glass. Holviglass enables the healing power of the sun’s rays (the ultra-violet)to go through the glass into your home destroying germs and giving robust vigour and fitness to all the family. Holviglass means new life and health for children, invalids, everyone and costs little more than ordinary glass. Write to Holophane Ltd to-day for full details. Holophane Ltd Elverton Street London SW 1 Glaze with Holviglass “Health as well as light” Get the Holviglass booklet from Astley’s who will be pleased to supply full information prices etc upon request Astley’s Ltd 4 Broadgate Coventry. Phone 3137

[research article] [Holophane]


Bath Salts – owing to the large number of bottles sold and the increasing demand for refills, Astley’s Ltd now offer Bath salts in various perfumes at 6d per 1b. 4 Broadgate.


Astley’s for Quality Fireworks!

Example's of the types of adverts from the 1930's
Example's of the types of adverts from the 1930's


Montague Burton purchase the property…


Montague Burton appeal against the valuation of the property. The premises it was stated were purchased by Montague Burton Limited six months before they were completely destroyed in the big November air raid of 1940. They were then occupied by John Astley and Sons Ltd paint Manufactures. The case collapsed when Messrs Burtons representative admitted that he had no cause to dispute the statement of the district value that the premises had been in the market since 1937 at £20,000

No. 4 Broadgate


The Prudential Assurance Co. Ltd

The Prudential Assurance Co. Ltd (11 Broadgate) was designed by Mr A Bentley Williams of Oxted in 1938. The mock Tudor, half timber building used beams from the sixteenth century Staple Inn, Holborn (London) and other timbers & tiles from an old barn at Upton Warren near Bromsgrove (Worcestershire). Opened for business in March 1940, with a sombre reminder of the war – 

The basement is to be opened to the public as a shelter for 325 souls. 14th November 1940 the building was burnt out. The shell of the building was unsafe and had to be demolished.  

After the destruction of the main office, temporary arrangements were made to receive claims at 1 Queens Road, 33 Hertford Street or 507a Foleshill Road 

The building stood approximately where Wilko is today. 


Burton’s (1,2 & 3 Broadgate)

Burton's (1,2,3 Broadgate)

Montague Burton's 1930 - 1940

Tailoring for the modern man. 

By the 1930s Montague Burton was a rapidly growing business. The chain store was already established in the city of Coventry. Burton’s pursued a strategy of obtaining prominent corner locations and building an imposing stylish shop to cement its modern brand (read more here)

For Coventry that meant the demolition of the old City Hotel along with 2 and 3 Broadgate.  The store was one of the very few buildings that survived the  World War II bombing. It was put to use as a Savings Kiosk and Services Club. 

The building stood in the way of the 1950s reconstruction and was demolished in the late 1940s. However, fragments of the Burtons building (and the City Arms) may still exist under the modern Broadgate.  

July The historic City Arms Hotel at the junction of Broadgate and Smithford Street has been acquired on a long lease by Messrs Montague Burton Ltd, tailors from the Governors of Bablake school, for the extension of their premises. The new emporium will include not only the site of the City Hotel, but also the firms existing premises at No 2 Broadgate and the confectioner’s shop at No 3 Broadgate. Thus the shop will have an extensive frontage to Broadgate and Smithford street and the proposal should do much towards modernisation of the appearance of the city’s centre. The planning for the rebuilding have been passed by the General Works committee and the demolition of the City Hotel will not be long delayed.


September 23rd Burton’s New Store 1,2 & 3 Broadgate Opens to the Public

March – New Billiards Licence: application billiard tables and bagatelle boards and alike, at 1 to 3, Broadgate Coventry (first floor). 

October – Burton’s Corner, Broadgate Coventry KRAZI GOLF. The finest and most select course – Grand Opening Tomorrow Friday October 24th at PM, Beautiful prizes given weekly 100 Guinea silver cup to be given on New Years Eve. [In the photo above you can see the KRAZI GOLF signs in the 2nd floor window]

March – The Cup Final – The actual autographed ball used in last year’s cup final at Wembley is now on view in the window of Messrs Burtons. 

August – We want Your Support at the Crippled Kiddies’ Sports Meeting Next Saturday, August 15th 1931 at the Rover Sports Ground Coventry. Open flat events at 100, 200, 300 and one mile: 800 Yards Midland Ladies’ Championship (The world’s champion, Miss Gladys Lunn Competing); International Athletes in the Great Inter-City Relay Race; Cycle Racing and Boy’s Events etc. Prizes on View at Burtons Broadgate. Announcements and Music by Amplifier, kindly supplied by Messrs Blackmere, Ford Street 

November – A special Armistice Week appeal is being made by the Coventry District Council of the League of Nations Union by means of an attractive display of dolls in Messrs Burton’s Main premises in Broadgate. The dolls are dressed in national costumes of each constituent nation in membership with the League and the display is backed up with disarmament posters and initiations to join the local branches. This novel scheme of advancing the claims of the League of Nations has attracted a great deal of attention.

June – Catering Cares Abolished – Those who want to organise a whist drive, or dance or hold a wedding breakfast, cannot do better than put their catering out to a firm of specialists and the proprietors of the Venetian Restaurant and Grill Room of 1,2, and 3 Broadgate Coventry (over Messrs Montague Burton Ltd) are able to meet all demands in this direction. They are equally willing to undertake inside or outside catering work. The restaurant is of course a well known place of refreshment in the centre of Coventry.

September – Gaumont Dance Hall – Foxtrot Competition 1st heat Saturday, final Oct 8. Prizes on view Burton’s Tailors Broadgate Mr G Knedrick Judge and demonstrator – SyncoScamps Coventry’s famous band in attendance.

January – Peace Ballot Helpers Wanted – Send your name to the organiser:- Mr G Eames Burton’s Building 1-2-3 Broadgate N.B. Viscount Cecil at the Central Hall, Monday, January 21st at 8pm.

June – The “Venetain” Café – Restaurant Broadgate Coventry (Above Montague Burtons) Entrance Smithford Street On Carnival Day and at all times for the most POPULAR LUNCHEONS TEAS AND SUPPERS Now under New Management

August – Van Crashes into Shop Window! A Coventry post office mail van got out of control shortly before 10 o’clock last night and crashed into one of the plate glass windows of Burton’s tailors in Broadgate. The van had come from Greyfriars Lane and had turned towards Broadgate. When he noticed something wrong the driver apparently switched off his engine and jumped clear before the van mounted the pavement. Although there was a constable o point duty and a large number of pedestrians about no one was injured. The radiator and the windscreen of the van were badly damaged. 

October – Grand Opening Night of the Rialto Casino with the “Five-Star Ball” Ladies’ souvenir gifts and prizes to the value of £150 Now on display at Burtons Broadgate.

October -Fire Outbreak at Coventry Shop – During the early hours of today Coventry fire Brigade were notified by a policeman that there were signs of a fire at Montague Burton’s premise at the corner of Broadgate and Smithford Street. It was found that a quantity of brown paper wooden boxes and sacks had become ignited in the basement probably through their being a near a stove. The firemen were able to confine the outbreak to this part of the premise without any other damage being caused. When the flames had been extinguished the fire men had to wear breathing apparatus to combat the thick smoke.


February – Following the deliberate fire at Owen & Owen just after 9:30pm a second fire was discovered. Just before 11pm the fire Brigade were called to Messrs Montague Burton’s shop on the corner of Broadgate. A fire had been started by placing a packet among a quantity of paper beneath a counter. The firemen gained entrance by breaking a glass panel. As the result of the prompt discoveries of the fires the damage done was extremely slight in every case.

Mr A. G. Whitehead manager of the Broadgate shop of Messrs Montague Burton Ltd provided view of the Coventry dress –

“Some of the Bank clerks in Coventry wear tweeds, whereas in London those holding similar positions would never dream of doing so except, perhaps on their half-day’s holiday. On the whole, I think that Coventry men are well dressed. At one time they used to visit the private tailor and when they bought a suit – very often it was expensive one – they made it last a very long time, sometimes for 10 years. It became stained and spotted, and at the end of its period of usefulness it did no look very attractive. To-day 75 percent of the men in Coventry buy new suits fairly frequently and many of them on an average purchase a new suit twice a year. Although I would not say that people in Coventry are dressed as well as those in London, I do consider that Coventry folk, having regard to the fact that it is an industrial centre are well dressed.”

“Speaking of umbrellas,  the London man always had an umbrella, of course motoring had a lot to do with the disappearance of the umbrella. To the motorist an umbrella is an encumbrance and most people in Coventry use motor cars and buses. In London where people use trains and tubes an umbrella is a necessity. People in Coventry are not very particular about their hats, and many did not wear them at all. I do not think that if a new hat were designed it would have the effect of making more men wear hats”


2:32 pm – IRA bomb explodes in Broadgate. Historic Coventry provides a full account of this tragedy. 


14th November – Burton’s shop was gutted by the bombing, but the structure survived. One of a handful of buildings in Broadgate left standing. 

September 19th Mayor to Open Savings Kiosk – for the convenience of shoppers and other visitors to central Coventry, a kiosk has been set up in Broadgate for the sale of National Savings stamps and certificates.

The Kiosk which has been placed under the cover of Messrs, Montague Burton’s former shop will be formally opened by the Mayor (Alderman J.A. Moseley). Mr S T Peirson (Chairman of the savings committee) presided and among those present was the Bishop of Coventry (Dr Mervyn Haigh). Mr Peirson said the savings in Coventry were very unsatisfactory. There were 1,609 streets in Coventry but so far only one tenth of them had a savings group. Coventry was asked to raise £6,000,000 a year or £500,000 a month. They had done nothing like that. It could not be done without everybody’s help.

The Major in declaring the kiosk open appealed to workers now earning high wages to be thrifty and to save for the lean times that would come in the reconstruction period after the war. They did not want to see people applying for poor law assistance after the war when they had an opportunity now to save for themselves. Coventry citizens should see that there was nothing lacking on their part in winning the war. Alderman J Hold also appealed to the workers to save.

Open daily from 10am to 6pm.

January –During Warship week – There will be shop window displays in the principal local establishments. On the ground floor of Messrs Burton’s war Damaged Premises in Broadgate there will be a display of mines and torpedoes in the charge of a naval rating.

May – Vaults of the former City Hotel uncovered due to bombing.  

September – Services Club to be opened in Broadgate. A service club is to be opened in Coventry under the guidance of the committee of the Mayors good fellowship fund in conjunction with the Mayors of Coventry’s good fellowship club the committee on the first and second floors of premises in the corner of Broadgate and Smithford Street.

It will be staffed by voluntary workers and it is proposed to supply refreshments at a reasonable price and writing accommodation and materials free of cost. It will be run as a place where men of the forces can find every comfort during their stay in the city. Post War Hospitality. “It is appreciated that this effort is very late so far as the war position is concerned, but it is felt that it will be a very considerable time after the war with Germany is over before troops are released from the Services and we feel it is possible a more important matter to continue our effort when other organisations may have stopped Mr H B Jackson honorary organiser of the Mayor’s Good Fellowship fund told the Evening Telegraph – The good fellowship club acts as the official hostesses to both overseas and home forces and it is hoped that the use of the accommodation in Broadgate over Messrs Burton’s premises may give facilities for even greater hospitality than is at present being enjoyed by service people in Coventry.

Large numbers of service men have visited Coventry and through the good work of the club and the generosity of householders many have spent their leave here, returning to these hospitable families when ever possible. “It is considered that Coventry will become a place where all service people will try to visit before leaving for home” said Mr Jackson. An appeal for funds for this work is to be made in the immediate future; meanwhile work in preparing the premises to make them suitable as a services club is being put in hand. 

November – Service Club to be Launched – The sum of £400 has already been subscribed towards the provision of a Services Club at Coventry, and last night a joint meeting of the Mayor’s Good Fellowship fund and Good Fellowship Club Committee decided that they had sufficient funds to enable the work to commence.

The club is to be stablished on the first floor of Burton’s Broadgate premises and the joint committee of these two organisations who are promoting the scheme point out that while the available funds are sufficient to allow of a start being made on the work further substantial help is still required.

Early Start – it was reported that intimation had been received from the Ministry of Works that a licence necessary to permit of the patching up of the property to make it thoroughly weather proof would be favourably considered. Work in that direction is to be put in hand immediately. A sub committee was appointed to deal with the purchase of furniture crockery and cutlery and efforts will be made to have the premise ready for receiving visitors from the services in about a months time. The committee appeal for the gift of loan of chairs, a piano, a radiogram or wireless. A number of comfortable chairs which were purchased by the fund early in the war for the use of Service sites round Coventry are still in use, but there are several in stock that will be available for the Broadgate Premises.

30th December 1944 - Mayor serving Tea at the opening of the Coventry Service Club


December –  Coventry Services Club idea Born in “Devil’s Kitchen” Four years after the conception of the idea following the establishment of the W.V.S’s “Devil’s Kitchen” during the great November air raid on the city, Coventry’s united Services Club situated in the former Broadgate premises of Messrs Burton’s was officially open yesterday afternoon by the Mayor and Mayoress (Alderman and Mrs G. E. Hodgkinson). Mrs Councillor Hyde Chairman of the Mayor’s good fellowship fund and originator of the club scheme presided. She thanked the firms and citizens of Coventry for their contributions to the fund which had made the opening of the club possible and expressed gratitude to Messrs Jackson Wilson and Mason for their work in securing equipping and decorating the premises. She also paid tribute to Mr Pearson of the YMCA for his willing co-operation.

The long delay in opening the club was entirely due to force of circumstances she said. Three premises had been previously quipped only to be requisitioned by the Government. She hoped that the club would not be too late and that it would do good work. She knew of similar clubs inspired in America and Australia by the “Devil’s Kitchen” which showed that our spirit was shared all over the world.

Fostering Fellowship – Declaring the club open the Mayor said that the spirit on which it was founded was forged when the city was under fire in 1940 and 1941 when neighbours deserved the name and the community spirit was general. It was hoped that the club would foster this fellowship and would make Coventry a city to be remembered by members of the forces. The Mayor regretted that members of the American forces were unable to come into the city as the club had intended to cater for all services.

He hoped that as facilities were provided for men in the services so they would be provided for on their return to civilian life. Proposing a vote of thanks to the Mayor Captain W F Strickland MP said the city had made a good choice in electing Mr Hodgkinson for he worked instinctively with the welfare of the city at heart. He (Captain Strickland) was sorry that Americans would be unable to use the club and took the opportunity to pay tribute to hose gallant soldiers who were links in an important partnership. “Nothing” said captain Strickland “is so badly needed in the world to day as good fellowship” Clubs such as these would foster that spirit among nations.

Leisure Hours – Mr H B Jackson stated that public contributions to the fund for the club amounted to £600 in cash and many articles of equipment. The club would not be competing with the YMCA but co-operating wit it. It aimed to provide means for the Forces to spend their leisure hours and was not for the provision of meals. Tribute was paid to Messrs Burton’s who had let the premises at the “peppercorn rate” of one penny per week. The county Army Welfare Officer Colonel J A Mellor said the fact that service men and women did not want meals only but a place to be able to relax to spend leisure hours with companions and to be able to write home. He hoped that soon a second room would be opened. The club which at present occupies the top floor of the building is furnished with chairs and armchairs has concealed lighting and a buffet. There is room for dancing and writing materials are available. It is hoped that the second floor will soon be equipped and ready for use.

January  – Services Club Fully Justified – Although it has been open just over a week it is being very clearly demonstrated that Coventry United Services Club in Broadgate fulfils a great need.

Provided through the Mayors Good Fellowship fund – it is open daily from 2pm to 10 pm and the staff of voluntary workers operate on a rota. Troops passing through Coventry from overseas are among those who use the club, which is providing particularly popular with service men and women who are stationed in the part of the country and spend some of their free time in Coventry. The club is occupying Burtons former premises and it is desired to open another floor as a games room. This will cost from £200 to £300. The club is therefore desirous of railing further funds on that account. To date between £600 and £700 has been subscribed to meet the cost of starting the club and adapting the premises.

April – Negotiations go on to buy out Burtons for the redevelopment of Broadgate. Burtons want a corner site with Smithford Street after the redevelopment is completed – not realising that Smithford Street will disappear.

Delays in acquiring the building and neighbouring Wilsons shop means the central Godiva round about garden will be delayed. An exchange of flowers from the Dutch National Committee  will now have to take place on Greyfriars Green.

15th April 1947 – Burtons shop handed over to the council. Willsons have yet to be be handed over.

January – Broadgate Scheme Progress – Smithford Street was closed at 11am this morning to vehicular traffic in order to permit the demolition of the remaining block of buildings at the Broadgate End of the street. This task will be finished it is expected by the middle of February. It will then represent a substantial  step forward towards the completion of the big Broadgate Traffic Island which is an essential feature of the city’s central redevelopment plan. The passage of pedestrians up and down Smithford street will not be interfered with. Motor vehicles will be allowed to proceed as far as a turning circle just above the White Lion Hotel. Heavy vehicles such as are often seen in Smithford Street with goods for delivery at shop sand businesses will be additionally permitted to turn into Vicar Lane in order to facilities backing.

Burtons Building Demolition – A demolition gang has entered Burtons premises outside which scaffolding has been erected. The job will be  a heavy one for it will mean the removal of concrete floors and steel girders and as well as some substantial blocks of stone.

Wilsons premises adjoining Burtons block will be vacated next week-end and will be ready for the demolition men to start work. The Savings centre on the other side of Smithford street has been fetched down and Weaver to Wearers shop nearby is half demolished. Under the road near this point have been found the remains of an old wall constructed of massive block of stone. There were no fragments of pottery at hand to help in the determination of its age and it has been covered up again


The junction of Smithford Street & Broadgate had been a cornerstone of the city’s layout for hundreds of years. On the 5th January 1948 at 11am Smithford Street was closed traffic for ever more. The old entrance to Smithford Street was scrubbed out to make way for Broadgate House. The new upper precinct that forms the western route through the city centre was built approximately 20m to the north.   


March – 6,000 Gallons underwater tank to meet water needs. The problem of proving dry weather water supplies for the flowering shrubs in the Broadgate garden island has been solved by constructing an underground water tank in the basement of the Burton premises at the top of Smithford Street. It is to be filled with water draining off the roofs of the temporary shops opposite. This will be directed into a pipe passing underneath Broadgate through a culvert. Is that the reason for the missing tree in modern day Broadgate??

Burton’s (1,2 & 3 Broadgate)

Coventry Arms

Coventry Arms

The central landmark in Broadgate. Demolished in the 1920s to make way for the National Provincial Bank. During the demolition stone from Coventry Castle / Cathedral was reportedly found, along with a 14th Century fireplace that was hidden under wooden panelling.

The panelling was later used to restore St Mary’s Guild Hall in the 1930s. Named the Coventry Arms by at least 1903. Below is a potted history of the last 25 years of its life.

Wanted a girl about 14 as Nurse Girl. Apply Newman “Coventry Arms”, Smithford Street, Coventry.

2nd September Coventry Motor and Cycle Carnival – 4th Annual parade committee meet at the Coventry Arms to discuss the next event planned for October.


14th October  Committee meet again. The plan – Assembly in the Barrack Square at 5 o’clock. Judging at 5.30. Three stoppages bottom of Holyhead Road, corner of Lower Ford Street and Raglan Street and top of Bishop Street. Money collectors  – Boxes may be obtained from the Coventry Arms, the offices

9th March Second Hand Bicycle Wanted: must be in good condition and cheap. Apply Coventry Arms Smithford Street.


 28th September – Fire at the Craven Arms Stables, Mr Walter Newman the landlord of the Coventry Arms helped move a cab, but slipped and sprained his ankle. (History of the Craven Arms coming soon, including the fire and the fire Brigades Peeping Tom Engine).

2nd January – Tickets for Coventry City F.C. and the Match with Crystal Palace – available from the Coventry Arms.

28th July Mr Walter Newman licensee of the Coventry Arms runs for the Guardians Vacancy Radford Ward on the Coventry Board of Guardians.

7th OctoberLicensing committee agree to the transfer of the licence from Mr Walter Newman to Mr Thomas Strong.

12th November – Tickets for the Grand Northern Union Football Match in Coventry – St Helens vs Hull. kick off at 3 pm.

3rd May – Coventry Northern Union Football Club First Annual Meeting held at the Coventry Arms.

6th October – Celebrating the first win of the Coventry Northern Union F.C. Mr Strong hosts an evening of entertainment for the Coventry players. 

13th February – Bar General Wanted experienced and good references required. Coventry Arms, Broadgate.

10th February – Inter-club Matches: Believed to be Billiards – Southam Coronation Club vs Coventry Arms Hotel. At Southam on Monday evening the victors winning by six points. Socres –

Southam: Dr Ormenrod 100, W.C. Collier 100, F.G. Watson 100, W.H. Plummer 80, A.Martin 85, Lt. Tuson 100, Dr Lattey 46. Total 611 

Coventry Arms T.Strong 86, H.G. Tett 70, E. Ingham 86, H Burton 100,  E. Venn 100, Vz. Ranford 75, T Watson 100, Total 627.

8th April Good Bar General Wanted – reference required Coventry Arms Broadgate.

11th – 26th June Young Girl daily to take children out – Mrs Jeffrey Coventry Arms.

25th February Bar General Wanted also general to assist in bar when required – Coventry Arms Broadgate.

23rd February – Fire Brigades Meeting held at the Coventry Arms.


28th August Married lady with baby, requires bed and sitting-room furnished – Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

23rd – 26th April – Girl wanted for housework and assist bar Coventry Arms, Broadgate.

19th August – Lost black and white cat answers name, Billy. Reward to be given to anyone returning to Coventry Arms, Coventry.

10th October – Bar General Wanted, also Cook General Coventry Arms, Coventry.


12th July – Gertrude Driver, munition worker stole a pair of scissors valued at 2s 3d the property of the Ministry of Munitions. Miss Driver was further summoned for receiving from a person unknown a metal tankard value 10s belonging to Thomas Strong of the Coventry Arms Coventry. She stated that she went to have a drink, and a man handed her the mug. Miss Driver refused to take it from the man, but when on the tramcar the man offered it to her again she put it on her lap. For the theft the girl was fined 25s and costs.

12th March – Mr Strong objects to a restaurant “Black Cat” 56-57 Hertford Street having an alcohol licence. Other objectors included Mr Nelson on behalf of the Coventry and District Licensed Victuallers Association, Mr Wilford the licensees of the Railway Inn, Mr H I Mander on behalf of the Coventry District Free Church Council and the Coventry Branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association. Who would want to drink alcohol while eating a meal at a restaurant?

29th May – Girl Wanted for housework and assist bar in evenings Coventry Arms Broadgate.


5th July – Mr Strong (land lord of the Coventry Arms) charged with driving a motor car at speed dangerous to the public in Greyfriars Lane, Smithford Street and Broadgate, on the night of June 19th 1919. Mr Strong was reported to be driving near Broadgate at 10-30 pm on June 19th. Coming out from Greyfriars Lane with full lights burning at a terrible speed. The engine was roaring and all out, and apparently travelling on the second or third gear.

The car just missed the lamp standard on the opposite side of the road, knocked down a man, continued at a wild pace turned around and finished inside Herford Street. Estimated speed: twenty to twenty-five miles an hour. Witnesses had to move away sharply to prevent being knocked down. Mr Strong had only been driving a car for five weeks, and on this night put his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. The consequence was that the more he applied pressure to what he thought was the brake and greater was the speed of the car.

There was no doubt the estimate of the speed was exaggerated, but the incident did scatter the crowd. It was a pure accident and not a question of wilful misconduct or careless driving.

Defendant bore out his solicitor’s statement and said that when he saw the people he was excited and nervous and thought he did quite well to miss the people as he did. The case was found proved, though the magistrates accepted the defendant’s explanation. A fine of £10 was imposed £1 5s special costs.

17th February – Woman (daily) Wanted for cooking and house work; also Girl for Housework and assist bar, lie in Coventry – Coventry Arms.


30th July – Coventry Police Court: Mr Marson (Ironmonger) had ‘two’ drinks on Saturday 20th July in the Coventry Arms. At 2:15 pm the police were called to eject him for being drunk and disorderly. It took four officers to remove Mr Marson to the police station, St Marys Street. The police report he was very drunk, using filthy language. During his ejection one of the officer’s trousers were torn beyond repair. During his night in the cell, Mr Marson caused considerable damage. Local reports suggest Mr Marson had sadly turned to drink in recent years.

The Bench considered Mr Marson’s position in the city as well-known trades man for some years, decided to be lenient. For being drunk and disorderly he would be fined 40s and for the damage he would have to pay a fine of £5 in addition to the damage of (£10, 16s 6d).

12th April – Temporary licence transfer of the “The Coventry Arms” Smithford Street from Thomas Strong to Edward Reynolds.

14th May  – Good cook general required; good references Evenings off – Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

29th May – Licencing Justice: Application to extend hours of opening for city centre public houses. Estimated that 1,000 to 1,500 country people visited Coventry on Friday afternoons. Of which 200 or 300 are farmers resulting in a good deal of money being spent with the tradesmen.

5th July – Lost black and white fox terrier information or return to Coventry arms, Broadgate, Coventry.

2nd September – Bar General wanted must be used to business. Good references essential apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

4th October – Lost white wire-haired Fox Terrier puppy. Name “Roy” Finder rewarded, return to Coventry Arms, Broadgate.

15th October – Barmaid (Smart) wanted week-ends Fridays and Saturdays Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

25th November – Bar General wanted. Good home and wages, must be used to business. Closed Sundays references essential Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

3rd November – Cook General (good) wanted; good home and wages – Apply Coventry Arms, Broadgate.

27th November – Bar General wanted, good home and wages, must be used to business. Closed Sundays references essential – Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

It was requested that the hours of opening be from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm on each first day afternoon which coincided approximately with the times of the arrival and departure of the farmers. The facility would be treated as a privilege and would not be abused in any way.

22nd / 23rd July – Agricultural show held in Coventry. Pubs in town including the Coventry Arms allowed to open 2pm – 6pm. Last time the show came to Coventry was five years previously.

3rd February – Barmaid wanted weekends , quick trade – Apply Coventry Arms.

4th May – Bar General wanted, wages £1 per week live in, closed Sundays good references essential apply Coventry Arms.

27th June – Aftermath of the carnival – Mrs F. Wallace was trying to climb on to one of the window sills outside the Coventry Arms in order to get a good view of the Carnival Procession, when she slipped and fell to the ground cutting her head. She was detained in Hospital.

23rd September – Cook General wanted must be good plain cook. Wanted £1 week live in references required Apply Coventry Arms.

19th December – Coventry Arms allowed to open at 5 pm next Thursday instead of 6 pm on the occasion o Waratahs’ match with Warwickshire. – What’s the Waratah’s match? – click here for Wikki page.

13th April – The Brewers plan to pay £2,000 to the corporation to surrender The Coventry Arms licence.

21st June – Bar General Wanted, experienced, smart and quick. Wages £1 weekly. Closed Sundays good references essential – Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate, Coventry.

10th July – Bar General wanted experienced, smart and quick. Good references essential. Wages £1 week. Closed Sunday – Apply Coventry Arms Broadgate.

11th September – Demolition of Johnson and Mason’s Premises behind Coventry Arms on Hertford Street in progress. Great difficulty will be experienced in taking down the front portion of the premises which is fifty feet high. Messrs W.H. Jones and Son of Lockhurst lane await the ‘ownership’ of the Coventry Arms.

In the foundations of Messrs Johnson and Mason’s a number of building stones have been found that are thought to belong to the Coventry Castle of ancient days or the old monastery which was destroyed by Henry VIII.

15th October – Magistrates Court listing of a case for possession of the Coventry Arms. Case labelled “Mayor & Corporation of Coventry Vs. Edward Reynolds” The case was dropped before it was heard in court.

29th October – Corporation takes possession of the Coventry Arms pub portion. Possession of the dwelling areas to be taken on the 5th November.


2nd March – Corporation in negotiations with owners to purchase the property for street widening. The General Works Committee Invites Tenders for Demolition of the Coventry Arms & National Provincial Bank Premises Smithford Street.

Demolition - Coventry Arms

November 1928


7th November – The famed 17th-century oak panelling in one of the ground floor rooms is to be carefully removed for safe keeping. The woodwork includes a huge carved oak fireplace reaching from the floor to ceiling with the date 1621.

When the panelling was removed, a 14th century carved stone fireplace was uncovered in marvellous condition. Approximately 9ft 6″ high, 8ft 6″ wide, with a depth of 12″. Originally constructed with an open hearth, with a wide chimney. The open fireplace allowed for approximately 4ft high and about 8ft wide. Above the fireplace, there is a carved frieze approximately 8ft wide, 2ft 6″ high 10″ thick. Containing five panels each with a shield, upon traces of coats of arms can be seen. The central panel contains a carved figure of an ecclesiastical character. The fire place obviously came from a building of great wealth and importance.

Above the frieze is a wide stone recess, providing a stone shelf while along the top is a further stone lintel containing handsome mouldings, with a further central figure that has a bearded and folded arms. Unfortunately the concentrated heat upon one side of the fireplace has crumbled the stonework. The stone fireplace is to be carefully removed.

A second discovery – In the room above there was a second oak panelled apartment. Again when the panelling was removed second stone fireplace was discovered, situated immediately above the one already described. Though somewhat similar in size the upstairs fireplace is not so lavishly ornamented as the lower one. It is 9ft high 6ft 2 in wide and has a carved frieze rail 1ft 6 inch high. The panel is diamond shaped about 11 inches square also containing shields. The coats of arms and a gild lion can be clearly seen.

8th November A party from the Corporation, including the Mayor inspected the wonderful old carved stone fireplaces discovered in the “Coventry Arms” demolition.

Coventry Arms is no more...

1928 13th December Lost white fox terrier Dog address collar Coventry Arms Broadgate please return to 2 St Osburgs Road or Police Station – Reward.

Coventry Arms

Kings Head Hotel

King's Head Hotel

The Kings Head Inn was an important coaching house in the centre of Coventry. In the late Victorian period it was transformed into a grand hotel. later, in the 1930s it was updated and destroyed in 1940.

The Kings Head started life as a coaching house on Smithford Street, which can be seen on the right-hand side of this illustration. 

May – Saturday 7th  Kings Head Assembly Room, King’s Head Inn, a selection of music will be played by Master and Miss Smith.

The boy is 7 and the girl is 5. They will play the violin, piano-forte and musical glasses. To begin at 7pm, tickets 2s 6d each, children half price. Tickets from Mr Smith at the George Inn, Little Park Street. Also available from the Herald newspaper offices, Coventry.


The Duke of Wellington visited Coventry and stayed at the Kings Head.

July – Mr Green, a balloonist accompanied by a young lady made his nineteenth assistant in his magnificent balloon from Warwick to Lutterworth. Mr Green and his intrepid assistant packed up their balloon and travelled back to Warwick.

On root, they changed their horses at the Kings’ Head, Coventry. The next day the following poem was published in the paper by a Coventry local ..

“Green, who rides above the clouds, and makes the people wonder, might soon be wrapped in a shroud, by one loud clap of thunder; ‘T’woud send his air balloon in twain, and send him headlong down again.”

November – Warwickshire Agricultural society Committee Meeting held at the Kings Head Coventry to discuss prizes for the year, and other business. The committee will be happy to see any of the members of the society – dinner on the table at 3 o clock. 

December 1st – Richard Crane charged with stealing from Mr Williamson, the King’s Head Coventry. Mr James Williamson, the Landlord of the Kings Head Coventry, identified the property [including a spoon and a plate bought from the predecessor in the Kings Head]

September – Warwickshire agricultural society will meet Friday 6th October next in a field near the village of Baginton. A competition for Ploughing will take place. The hedging and ditching competitions will be in a field in the occupation of Mr Robbins, about half a mile distant between Baginton and Stoneleigh Park. After the committee will meet at 2 pm at the Kings Head Coventry for dinner and to arrange the competitions for the next year. Dinner on the table at three o clock.


16th March – The Kings Head Inn, Coventry to be let, with immediate possession at a very moderate rent.

The Kings Head family hotel, commercial and posting house, established upwards of a century and situated in the centre of the city of Coventry. In the immediate locality of the Coventry station of the London and northwestern railway to and from which there is an omnibus belonging to the inn. Comprising of 30 good sized lofty chambers and servants bedrooms, nine sitting, drawing and dining rooms of large dimensions and equal in comfort to any private apartments. Market room, 49 feet by 16 feet 6 inches, commercial room, well-constructed bar, tap, coach office, the usual description of domestic offices.

A superior arched cellaring [given the location the cellar could be very old – the 14th century?], adapted for wholesale stores, an extensive range of coach-houses, stabling, granaries and requisite outbuildings.

The tenant may be accommodated with the valuable and appropriate Household Furniture, Wines, Horse and other effects at a fair valuation. For a view apply on the premises and for any further particulatrs and to read, to Messrs Woodcock, Twist and Son Solicitors or Messrs. Brown & Clarke, Auctioneers, Coventry.


19th December – Charles Sabin Most respectfully informs his friends that his House Warming Dinner will take place on Wednesday at the Kings Head.

N.B. Dinner at half past four o’clock.

November – Clergy meeting of the Archdeaconry of Coventry – A meeting of the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Coventry was held at the King’s Head Coventry. Upwards of 300 were present more than any similar meeting in the memory of the oldest member of that body. Point of discussion – that so-called bishop of Birmingham..

January – Warwickshire Scripture Readers Association Annual Meeting held at the Kings Head.

October – Charles Sabin (Landlord 1848 – 1851) Begs to thank his friends and the public in general for their kind patronage and wishes to inform them that the business of the hotel will be carried on as usual. N.B. Post horses, cars, gig & close boxes and lock-up coach houses.

March – County Fire Office London annual county meeting.

April – Coventry Election: Kings Head Coventry 10 o’clock Friday  Electors and freemen of Coventry.

September – Rams for Sale – 10 Purebred Shropshire Yearling Rams

August – Pollution of Rivers  – A meeting was held at the Kings Head to discuss what measures could be taken to abate the nuisance arising from the sewage of the city of Coventry being emptied into the rivers Sherbourne, Sowe and Avon.

Present: Hon. And Rev J. W. Leigh (chairman) W. Davenport Bromely Esq. M.P. George Jones Esq I.P. Evans Esq, Richard Robbisns Esq Messrs, Weston W. Robbins T. Harris, Power, Carter, Berry & co.

The resolution passed: Owners and occupiers on the banks of the river have and are sustaining from sewage being emptied into the river. It will be impressed upon them the necessity of having the aforesaid nuisance wholly removed or abated.

If the commissioner, appointed by parliament, requesting them to visit, inspect and report upon the Sherbourne, the Sowe and the Avon rivers from the city of Coventry to Warwick Castle – that the committee will visit and preserve that kind of neighbourly feeling which now exists between  inhabitants of the neighbourhood and the city of Coventry. But should they, unfortunately, fail to do so legal steps shall be advised by counsel.

January – The yard and stables of the Kings Head Hotel Coventry to be let with immediate possession. The horses (Blacks and greys) in good working condition; Broughams, cars, hearses, mourning coaches, cabs, omnibus, harness., to be taken by valuation. The yard and stabling are convenient and spacious and there is an old and valuable connection, which may be largely extended. Full particulars with inventory may be had of Mr Thomas Clarke, Auctioneer – Coventry.

December – Kings Head Hotel Coventry post horse, car and cab trades will be carried on as usual, in conjunction with the hotel. An omnibus to meet the trains. Excellent hearses and mourning coaches. Sabin & Co. proprietors are also available.

March – Warwickshire schoolmasters association met at the Kings Head. To discuss the new code of teaching. Mr. J . Steane of Holy Trinity school observed that he had no desire to underrate the value of music being taught in an elementary school, but he thought the code required too much of the teachers and children. If the inspectors were not satifsfied with the manner in which the songs were sung.. If the children’s voices were a little coarse the teacher was called to account!


June 29th – Kings Head Sale on Thursday 

(Sale due to losses on the Stock Exchange)

[Known as the Panic of 1873 – 1877]

A highly important sale of RARE OLD CHINA, finely executed Florentine bronzes, OIL PAINTINGS, curious metal articles from the Spanish revolution and other works of art, the property of a connoisseur reluctantly compelled to dispose of the same owing to recent heavy losses in connection with the stock exchange. 

The sale includes fine specimens of old – Chelsea, Capo di Monte, Delft, Plymouth, Vienna, Frankenthal, Bow, Derby, Spode, oriental, serves, Majolica, Berlin, Dresden, Worcester, Bristol, enamels etc.

March– Notice! Notice! Mr. L. Knight specialist in the Eye and Ear, will attend at the Kings Head Hotel Coventry On Friday, And every alternate Friday for the convenience of his patients in Coventry and Neighbourhood Hours 4.30 to 7 pm Patients will please bring cards and bottles.


Kings Head Hotel


Every accommodation can be obtained there; also that it is intended to make extensive alterations and additions to the hotel with the view of increasing the accommodation and promoting the comfort of those who patronise it. Cabs & Carriages & Posting business carried on as usual.

The Kings Head coaching is transformed into a large Victorian hotel

The Kings Head Hotel

Opens December 1879

January – Kings Head Hotel Company – Livery and Bait Stables Good Stabling & Loose boxes Lock up Coach Houses Open and closed carriages Broughams Landaus Wagonettes, Wedding Carriages Cars and Hansoms Always Ready Orders received at Car Office Kings Head Yard Hertford Street Entrance.

November – Mayor remarks:

“When we look through the city and see the great improvements that have taken place in Broadgate in the giving up of the property and the corporation for the widening of the high street near the bank, the purchase of land and the building of the market hall the setting back of the Kings Head hotel in Smithford street the proposed alterations which will be carried out very quickly in the opening up of west orchard I think we may feel satisfied with ourselves that Coventry is improving”.

December – NOTICE !! King’s Head hotel company – Public Luncheon bar will not open on the 18th Inst 17th December.


From where to Buy in Coventry  

In the course of the present century and more especially since 1850, great improvements have been made in various quarters of the city. One of the greatest improvements was undoubtedly the building of the “King’s Head Hotel,” a handsome five storied building of red brick, with white stone facings, situated in the very heart of the city, with frontages in Hertford Street and Smithford Street, at the junction of Broadgate and High Street. the principal entrance is in Hertford Street and the first thing that strikes one on entering is the fine proportions of the entrance hall and vestibule, which is handsomely decorated and adorned with some fine works of art, also the handsome wide staircase leading from same to the upper floors of the hotel.

The splendidly appointed commercial room the finest in Coventry, is immediately to the right of the entrance hall, while to the left is the wholesale wine, spirit, and cigar department, from whence the very extensive cellars are approached well stocked with an unusually good supply of choice old wines, spirits etc. At the extreme corner of the hotel is a spacious and beautifully fitted and ornamented bar, each window of which is filled with rich, stained glass, specially painted and graphically depicting various well known incidents in the history of the city. 

While on this subject we may mention that stained glass is profusely used for window decoration throughout the building. A well upholstered, commodious and elegantly ornamented lounge and hotel bar is in the centre of the building approached from Hertford and Smithford Streets, and by a covered way from the principal entrance. Adjoining this is the billiard salon, again the finest in the city, in which are two of the most improved tables by Thurston and Co. with combination cushions; every accommodation for both players and lookers-on being provided. The corridors are remarkably light, cheerful and well ventilated, paved with encaustic tiles and appropriately ornamented. Next the hotel-bar and approached by a separate entrance from Smithford Street is a private bar and smoke room. Upstairs the drawing, dinning, coffee, sitting rooms, as well as bedrooms are all well and luxuriously furnished. Comfort and convenience seem to be the predominating elements of the place and to the attainment of each in their highest degree the perfection of luxury cleanliness and good order is apparent to which Mr and Mrs George Fox-Spencer both devote their energies.

Brandies, whiskeys, ales and stout, and other liquors and cigars, are on hand in large quantities and everything supplied is notably of the highest possible standard. The stables are well managed and a good stud of horses for saddle and posting purposes are kept and the hotel omnibus meets all the principal trains, so that visitors need to have no trouble with regard to the safe removal of their luggage. 

The culinary arrangements of the “King’s Head” are particularly interesting. They are situated on the top floor of the hotel, and roasting and grilling etc are done in cleverly contrived ovens, which permit the products of the combustion to escape. There is no smell from the cooking machines, so that visitors are never troubled with odours from the kitchens permeating the air of the other departments. We particularly noticed these improvements in the culinary contrivances, a matter not sufficiently studied in many elegant hotels, where more attention might certainly be paid to the department of the chef de cuisine. On  the occasion of our visit to the “King’s Head” we were invited by Mr G Fox-Spencer, the proprietor, to inspect the kitchens and must confess that the appliances the order observed and the scrupulous cleanliness of the larders, and in fact, of every spot where the cooks perform their important duties, surprised us. 

We must not omit to mention that there are large assembly, auction and commercial sample rooms attached to the hotel. In connection with and but a few minutes’ drive from, the hotel is the King’s Head Farm; here tennis-courts and a bowling green, as well as other amusements, are provided for the use of visitors; a certain number of whom can be accommodated in a comfortably appointed cottage on the farm. The hotel is supplied with fresh butter, eggs, milk and vegetables from the farm daily, this being a unique and excellent feature, ensuring everything of the kind used for consumption being perfectly fresh and wholesome. To sum up, the hotel is an immense advantage to Coventry and is certainly one of the very first as it is the largest in the city. We were never before so favourably impressed with hotel management as on the occasion of our visit to the King’s Head. 

Kings Head Hotel