The City Hotel was an ancient coaching in at the heart of Coventry. It survived up until 1929 when it was demolished to make way for the Burton’s Taylors.
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 October – Licensing 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
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.
1928 13th December Lost white fox terrier Dog address collar Coventry Arms Broadgate please return to 2 St Osburgs Road or Police Station – Reward.
Kings Head Hotel
King's Head Hotel
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.