PHOTOGRAPH OF THE WEEK
A mystery photo in the Nuneaton News has paid dividends. We have now identified the landlord in this photo - the well known local character - "Wash" Harris. Many thanks to "Wash's" son Bill Harris, Jenny Oliver and Stan Adams. The pub is the Rugger Tavern Formerly the New Inn. Walter Bertram Harris was a forward for the Nuns Rugby Team when they played on the Harry Cleaver Ground. "Wash" took over the pub in 1953 and Stan Adams helped him move in. This photo was taken between 1953 and 1957 when the former Ind Coope house was taken over by Ansells. "Wash" ran the pub for 27 years, and we are reliably informed never dropped a spot of cigarette ash in the pints he served. (Photo courtesy Colin Yorke)
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TOPIC OF THE WEEK
The Rev. Teddy Boston (1924-1986) was one of our best known local railway enthusiasts and the Vicar of Cadeby. He had his own private railway around the Rectory gardens. As well as a large model railway. The private railway has gone now but the model railway survives and has been transported to a large purpose built train shed in a secret location in Nuneaton. Nuneaton Local History Group members were given a preview of the rebuilt model railway in July. Teddy was well known as the Curate for and the great friend of the Rev. Wilbert Vere Awdry (1911-1997) and was said to be the origin of the character from the famous children's television story series - Thomas the Tank Engine - The Fat Controller. We celebrate Teddy's life and times on our web site and are building a corner as a memorial to him and reprise some of the fun and whimsy of the good old days of steam and wider history under the title - Nuneaton Steam Club. For more details: email: email@example.com. This is very much work in progress.
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The Nuneaton Lives event in Nuneaton on Saturday 5th July was a great day out for all the family. Nuneaton Town Centre was packed with a lot going on. The Nuneaton Civic Society had a stall remembering the 100th anniversary of the passing of one of Nuneaton's great benefactors - the local brickmaker - Reginald Stanley. We were honoured by a visit by the great man himself who materialised from the other side and was pleased to have his picture taken with some images of the products he made when his brickyard employed so many people in the Stockingford area.
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NEW FILM - NUNEATON RAIL CRASH 1975
Now added. Scroll down to films - Click on Nuneaton Rail Crash 1975 for a film of the aftermath of this disaster that resulted in six fatalities and 36 injuries out of 100 passengers at 1.55am on 6th June 1975 at Nuneaton Station. A day that seared itself into the memory of many local people. The worst rail crash in the history of Nuneaton. Geoff Edmands was there to record the immediate rescue operation and the 24 hour clear up which took place over several days afterwards to resume services on the busy West Coast main line through Nuneaton. This is Geoff's record.
Road accidents were commonplace in the "Good Old Days" and in this case one of C.B.Lowe's Super Sentinel steam wagon's CY5448 has ploughed into someone's privvy in Nuneaton. I have no idea how this happened but looks to have taken place in the 1940's. I just hope no-one was occupying the throne in the privvy at the time or else it was curtains! C.B.Lowe 1920 Ltd were flour millers at Sheepy Magna for many years.
Family historians never seem to consider how our ancestors go to work. The miles that miners trudged everyday to the pit, night and day in all weathers. Then in the 1920's when bus services became universal the improvements this brought to the workers of North Warwickshire. Another revolution occurred in the 1930's when workpeople acquired their own means of mechanised transport and thousands bought a motorbike. This is local photographer Reg. Bull tries out Geoff Edmands 150cc Francis Barnett Merlin in the backyard of a house in Bedworth in 1949. The Francis Barnett company also made prams at their premises in Ford Street, Coventry in addition to churning out bikes for the workpeople of North Warwickshire. (Geoff Edmands)
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TOWNS and VILLAGES AROUND NORTH WARWICKSHIRE
Meriden, the monument that marks the traditional centre of England. Improved mapping techniques have recently moved the centre from Meriden to just east of Nuneaton near the Watling Street road and the Motor Industries Research Association (MIRA) premises. (National grid reference SP367949 to be precise). The advent of computers seem to have recalibrated the centre of England to this new point on the map. Our photo was taken on 17.2.1957 (Geoff Edmands)
OLD LOCAL SHOPS
This is a photo of William Henry Spencer of the Bull Ring, Chilvers Coton with his prize loaf and the trophies he won for his magnificent products. Mr. Spencer died in 1937 and left his business to his nephew Herbert Spencer who was a junior partner in the family firm up until then. The business carried on until 1965 but we do not know if Herbert's own son - William, pursued it beyond then. In later years the former bakery was used as a blacksmithy and light engineering shop. The premises were demolished and sheltered accommodation occupies the site on the Bull Ring to this day. We date this view c. 1920. Many thanks to John Walklate for the photo and Robin Mowday for further information on the Spencer family who also had a bakery at 158 Arbury Road and Church Road, Stockingford. (On the corner of Webb Street)
THE JOBS WE'VE LOST
Jobs have been falling gradually in the Borough of Nuneaton & Bedworth over the decades since there was full employment locally in the 1960's. Over 40% of the now local working population go out of town to work. Unemployment is the highest in Warwickshire and since 2006 we have lost a further 6904 jobs in the Borough, well over a third of the loss of unemployment in the county wide. We have the worst track record for job losses in the county, yet the adjacent Borough of North Warwickshire has increased jobs in the same period by 293. Most of the industry you see in these pages has entirely disappeared, with no effective economic revival strategy by the local authority.
In the 1950's the National Coal Board moved its Laboratories to the former factory of Tansey's in Corporation Street Nuneaton where they established a centralised facility which had formerly been carried out at individual or at groups of collieries. This lady is carrying out examination of coal for quality, presence of gas and calorific values. Important work when Warwickshire had an important coalfield but all the collieries, and its attendant jobs have disappeared.
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The 29th Division to be sent to Galipolli during World War One were assembled in Warwickshire and 3000 of them were billeted in Nuneaton and Stockingford in 1915. This is their story. Available from book sellers or Chris Holland direct.
COMING SOON - The Story of the Lancashire, Dublin & Royal Fusiliers billeted on Nuneaton in the first two months of 1915 before being sent to Gallipolli. Can you imagine the effect 3000 tanned fit and swashbuckling soldiers billeted two to a household on the working people of Nuneaton? Here are the Royal Fusiliers in Stockingford.
A BRIEF SELECTION OF IMAGES FROM THE PAST AS AN INTRODUCTION TO THE WEALTH OF PICTURES IN OUR PHOTOGRAPH SECTION.
A brilliant photograph of William Henry Spencer master baker at the Bull Ring, Chilvers Coton, The Spencer family had bakery businesses in Church Road, Stockingford and at 158 Arbury Road. The van is a beauty. A pristine Model T Ford chassis with a bespoke van body. The photo is estimated to date back to 1920 and the location is believed to be waste ground at the back of their premises on the Bull Ring. (John Walklate)
This is a great picture of Bermuda Ladies Football Team in the early 1950's. At the back - Annie Sparrow the Manager, Standing left to right, Mrs. Waite, Mrs. Seadon, Mrs. Kilburn, Joan Kent, Elsie Sheldon, Joan Clay, Violet Fowler, Mrs. Haycock. Sitting: Mrs. Coles, Violet Tallis, Jean Kent, Ann Warren, May Gibbs. Many thanks to Ralph Oldacres for supplying this wonderful image. Are any of these ladies or their families around today to tell us about life in Bermuda village back then and reminiscences of the football team.
It is remarkable that one of our viewers - Sandra Buckley - recognised the people in this photo and has given me the names of all but one of them drinking in the Railway Club in Wheat Street, Nuneaton in 1957. From left to right - elbow visible only Tony Cox, Brian Gealey, Les Thomas, Barry Honey, Colin Honey (standing), Stan House and the girl is Margaret Thomas. The fellow at the back is not known at this point but I hope someone will recognise him. The old railway club seen here moved into Regent Street in the 60's into the premises that is now Atack's Billiard Hall (or was until recently). An old railwayman told me the story of their moving the fixtures and fittings of the club and the heaviest item was an upright piano which four railwaymen decided to move the quick way - Straight across the railway lines! The movement of the piano was interrupted by the passage of a Duchess on an express and they had to leave the piano in the 6'0" between the two main lines as the express noisily thundered by a few inches from their noses. Once the train had gone they picked the piano up and carried on. Those were in the good old pre- Health and Safety days!
Every town and village has its story, but that story is more often acted than told, and as the actors die out their tale of life and labour is all forgotten.
Alfred Lester Scrivener, Editor Nuneaton Observer, 1878
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A FEAST OF FAMILY HISTORY From the Mallabone family album:-
A family photograph from the Mallabone family archives taken outside the Jolly Colliers Pub in College Street, Chilvers Coton. The Mallabones were associated with the Jolly Colliers for 100 years. Are there any members of the Mallabone Jolly Colliers family out there? The event appears to be a wedding and the groom with his family probably the girls are his sisters and one of other of the two men at the back his father, whilst the seated lady his mother. But what are their names? (Lynn Wilkes)
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THE LAST COLLIERY IN WARWICKSHIRE - DAW MILL - IS BEING DEMOLISHED. AN APPLICATION HAS GONE IN TO ENGLISH HERITAGE TO SAVE ONE OF THE LIFT SHAFTS AS A PERMANENT REMINDER OF A FORGOTTEN INDUSTRY.
Nuneaton Civic Society & Nuneaton Local History Group visit to Merevale Hall, Atherstone. Friday September 20th. 2013 35 attendees were entertained by Matthew Dugdale to a tour of the house and gardens with its stunning views over North Warwickshire.
Peter Lee - Your web site creator. Seeking out old Nuneaton and North Warwickshire memorabilia world wide. Here I am in Napier, New Zealand looking at the family photo album of the Townsend family of Attleborough Hall at the home of Jan & Dave Brock. All the photos in the album were taken in the 1880's and 1890's.
Angela Williams (left) whose ancestor Peter Unger Williams (1775-1837), and James Donald (with his children) whose ancestor Alexander Donald (1745-1808) owned Haunchwood House in the early 19th century are re-united next to the only remaining artefact from Haunchwood House an old apple tree which stood in the old mansion's gardens. A remarkable family re-union held in Nuneaton by the Nuneaton Civic Society for the Heritage Week End in September 2012. (Peter Lee)
Local history is not always about the past. It is often the way that history fits into the modern landscape. Deborah Griggs photo of Ansley Hall Pumping Station explores this theme and interprets history into today's scene. The photo was taken on Sunday 8th September 2013 and is a lovely image of an evocative part of old Nuneaton.
WELCOME TO OUR HISTORIC DISTRICT This web site has been created from over 40 years work by Peter Lee delving into all matters local, social, family and economic history in the area of Nuneaton and North Warwickshire. The philosophy of the site is to entertain you free of charge for your own pleasure, research and family enjoyment and is presented in association with the Nuneaton Local History Group, the Nuneaton Civic Society and the Nuneaton Families Research Project, the Nuneaton Family History Group, the Edmands Family Nuneaton & Bedworth Photo Archive, the Haunchwood Brick & Tile Archive, the Stanley Brothers Collection, the North Warwickshire Collieries Collection, the Peter Bayly Collection, The Trent Valley Railway Archive, The Sterling Metals Archive, The Alan Cook Collection, The Nuneaton Chronicle Newspaper Archive (1868-1920), the Jean Lapworth Collection, The Dr. Alan White Collection and The Maurice Billington Archive. The Wright Family Rural North Warwickshire Family Archive. The Stockingford Colliery Papers 1855 - 1928. The work of T.C.Neath, Chilvers Coton photographer. The Nuneaton Railwaymen's Staff Records. The Harridan On-Line North Warwickshire Collection. The John Walklate Collection, The Ruby Atkins Collection, The Horace Bull Collection. I would also like to thank Colin Yorke, Reg. Bull, Michael J. Lee, David Sidwell, Ray Smith, Dennis Labram, Mike Kinder, Ray Fox, Gordon Webster, Jim Lee, Phil Vernon, Fred Phillips, John Burton, Lee Randle, Jean Prince, Pat Haselwood, Eileen Worthington, Beryl Kerby, Les Holmes, Arthur Tooby, Robin & Denise Mowday, Moreton J. Ensor, Paul Sawyer, Clive Fowkes, Lynn Wilkes, David Slingsby, Terry Roberts, Joy Perry, and Anne Gore, who have contributed material and many others who are constantly adding to the site, and being helpful as well as being generous with their time and assistance. If I have missed anyone let me know, and if you spot any errors I will be pleased to correct them. Its my aim to make the information provided as accurate as possible given the passage of time.
Browse this on line archive as I fill the site up with free memorabilia, indexed material and images for you to use in your own researches if your local and family history interests extends to North Warwickshire and the bordering parishes in Leicestershire and either side of the Watling Street. The opening images on the home page will give an idea of the scope and range of what is intended. I will add more photos and information almost daily. The site will be a wide ranging resource, for your entertainment and private and personal research without leaving home, paying admission fees, researchers expenses or subscriptions. On the question of copyright you are free to download images for your own private research but not free to publish them on another web site, face book pages or other social media or in other paper or digital publications as this would breach copyright and data protection laws. You can of course link through to this web site if you wish to. Because these images and documents come from widely sourced archives I cannot provide dispensation to use them for any other purpose than to display them here on this site. Your enquiries about the district are always welcome and I am always pleased to hear from you and help wherever I can, or if you would like to comment, then it will be great to hear from you. Tell your relatives about it, show the older members of your family what is now available on-line enabling them to re-visit their roots in North Warwickshire in the "Good Old Days" without leaving the warmth and comfort of their firesides twenty four hours a day seven days a week!
Nuneaton Market Place in the 1930's. At one time there were eleven pubs within the immediate area of the Market Place seen here but now there is only one. One of the oldest remaining can be seen on the left - The White Swan which for many years was kept by a formidable landlady - Harriet Platt. The other pubs most of which had gone by the time of this picture taken in the 1930's were - The Plough, The Peacock, The Market House Inn, The Board, The Grapes, The Crystal Palace - formerly the Hare & Squirrel, The Red Lion (just a few yards into Queens Road), The Castle Inn or Hotel, the White Horse, The Old Ram which dated back to the 16th century and just off the picture to the right the Bull Hotel - now the George Eliot (although no longer a hotel) an old coaching inn. The town clock remains as well as the buildings on the right. On the extreme left is Lesters the Chemist whose lineal descendent is now Boots the Chemist who purchased Lesters in the early 1960's. Nuneaton's famous town clock was started by Mr. Edward Ferdinand Melly at 5 minutes past 5 on Wednesday 15th May 1901. The dials are 5 ft. in diameter and the clock was built by Evans of Handsworth. The designer of the clock was the same as designed Barclays Bank opposite.
A good question for you - where was this photo taken from? Surely there were no aeroplanes or helicopters in 1900, and a hot air balloon seems the only answer. After all even the height of the flour mill chimney is at a lower level. But in fact the picture was taken from Nuneaton Urban District's electric works (where the current Town Hall is today) and some intrepid cameraman (Clare Speight possibly) has lugged his heavy equipment up this very tall chimney to get this picture, and a few others taken at the same time. It is full of interesting detail. The little lane in the foreground just visible approaching the flour mill on the right is Mill Lane, and leading off that you can see a typical court of old tenements, outbuildings and privy's that were a familiar part of the court scene back then. The flour mill is well dredged in flour. The court is at the back of Bridge Street with the Bull Hotel (Nuneaton's principle hotel at the time) visible above the line of buildings. Off centre towards the top of the picture is the large shop premises of Parsons & Sherwins, ironmongers, general dealers in agricultural implements, and builders of farm sheds. To the extreme left of the picture is part of the running track of the Newdigate Arms, and immediately to the right of Parsons & Sherwins a big shed which I guess must be the former "Theatre Royal" a wooden theatre which preceded the "Prince of Wales" Theatre (later the Hippodrome) and was a venue of choice for our unwashed ancestors on a Saturday night where they could enjoy a Victorian melodrama before or after a night on the beer. The "Theatre Royal" was nicknamed "The Blood Hut". In the distance we can see the big railway warehouse erected by the London & North Western Railway at their Trent Valley Station and a riffle of steam as a train passing along the main line.
"The Famous Manufacturing Town of Nuneaton" was a snip in 1844. Estate agents were keen to hype up their sales document even back then. Famous, Nuneaton back in the 1840's? I bet most of the population of England had not even heard of it. This was three years before the opening of the Trent Valley Railway so its station sign boards could not be observed by the travelling public. And manufacturing in Nuneaton in 1844 consisted mostly of silk ribbons for which the residents of Nuneaton were only sub contractors to the London trade. The silk trade at this time was also in serious decline and many people relied on the soup kitchen. Whoever fell for this marketing ploy was sold a pup.
Bedworth Town Centre towards the Market Place, 1960's. By comparison Nuneaton has a few good historic central buildings compared with the adjacent town of Bedworth seen here. Everything you see here has been demolished. The interesting collection of old buildings erased from the townscape to be replaced by a boxy collection of 1960's concrete buildings. Bedworth town centre has been destroyed but the almshouses remain although their demolition was only narrowly averted (by one vote I am told).
Long Street, Atherstone which was built on the ancient Roman Road, the Watling Street. Atherstone is a lovely old town and will feature strongly in the feature on this site of the North Warwickshire villages bordering the Watling Street. The photo here was taken in the early 1900's and at the back of these frontages were many rows of yards and alley ways.
An Albino Peacock on the lawn of Merevale Hall in the 1930's. Home of the Stratford-Dugdale family. The Stratford family derived their name from the town of that name in South Warwickshire in the 13th century, and at one time were considered to be the second richest family in England with huge estates in the Cotswold stretching from Stow on the Wold to Tewkesbury. The Stratfords had estates in Ireland, a large house in the centre of London and business interests in Germany. They had substantial commercial interests in the wool industry. The Stratfords started to buy up properties in Warwickshire from 1648 onwards when they purchased Horestone Grange, then Nuneaton Hall, in the centre of the town (where Stratford Street is now), the Ansley Hall and Bretts Hall estates, and Merevale all in the space of twenty years in the 17th century. The Dugdale family lived at Blythe Hall Shustoke. In the 18th century through marriage these families amalgamated and Merevale Hall in its lofty and prominent position is the result. One of Warwickshire's finest houses and most magnificent estates. (Jean Lapworth Collection)
A large mansion stood on the site of a Roman camp at Camp Hill, Nuneaton since the 18th century. It was occupied in the 18th century by John Barber, a Derbyshire coal owner, and its history back then is lost in antiquity, but in the late 1830's the old mansion was entirely reconstructed to the designs of Thomas Larkins Walker, or this new house built. Mr. Walker carried out a number of local commissions at the time. The client at Camp Hill was John Craddock, a local banker and lawyer, and this fine house then stood on the site for upwards of a hundred years. In the later years of the 19th century it was owned by Henry Stubbs (1854-1916) who was a wealthy businessman, who was very interested in the theatre, and was one of the people behind the Prince of Wales theatre in Nuneaton. Other residents at the Hall were Henry Kay, Richard Ramsden and Arthur Charles Prettyman. After the First World War the house went into decline and there was an auction of its contents prior to demolition 17th-19th April 1928. A local landmark Stubbs Pool derives its name from the Stubbs family. (The Wright Family North Warwickshire Collection)
During the summer Nuneaton Local History Group provide walking tours of our area. Participants are invited to join us for a gentle stroll around the district seeing items of local heritage interest. Here is a group that joined us for the Whittleford Country Park tour where we were guided by Yvonne Everitt who lovingly helps look after this cherished part of old Nuneaton. It is hard to imagine this location was all part of Haunchwood Brick & Tile's industrial landscape up until the 1970's. (Peter Lee)
Elephants are rarely seen in Nuneaton and this might be the only occasion. It is led away from Trent Valley probably to appear as a star turn in a circus. Obviously in the 1950's. Does anyone record the date of the event? I wonder what this poor creature thinks of the gaggle of kids running after it. Probably the first time any of them had seen a live elephant. (Colin Yorke)
Frederick Charles Pearce (1871-1946) was a native of Newbury and lived in Gadsby Street, Attleborough. He had a small lean to barber's shop in Abbey Street, Nuneaton, next to the Liberal Club. Mr. Pearce took to smoking to hide the smell of the heads he was working on. his customers were very dirty he sent them to the slipper baths to clean themselves up. The hair clipped each day was bagged and given to the lime plasterers who used it to bond the plaster applied to the walls of the terraced houses which were at that time marching out into the countryside in Stockingford and Attleborough. An elderly chap in Nuneaton says that he tried Nosegay and found it rather rough, but I cannot tell not having tried it myself! (Dick Pearce)
Nuneaton Colliery was owned by Stanley Brothers Ltd. of Stockingford. Around 1896 with only three years lease to run on the colliery on Nuneaton Common, 261 acres of new mineral rights were obtained at Whittleford and a new set of shafts sunk. The old colliery was said to have been very profitable and covered 151 and a half acres on Nuneaton Common. The leasehold of the new colliery was taken on very favourable terms and this photo shows miners engaged on sinking with a fine horse outside one of the new colliery workshops.
Two of the principal terracotta and brick manufacturers was based in the Borough of Nuneaton. Haunchwood Brick & Tile and Stanley Brothers Ltd. Their complete history and the men behind the businesses will soon appear on this web site. This was one of the last leaflets Stanley Brothers produced prior to closure of the Stockingford brickyard in the late 1980's.
Click on the photo and re-visit Larry as he made millions of people happy on a Saturday night!................ Larry Grayson (31.8.1923-7.1.1995) Nuneaton's most famous son was born William Sully White and lived in his early years in a damp and draughty court in Abbey Street, Nuneaton. Perhaps that is where he got one of his famous catch phrases from "Look at the muck in 'ere" after all those old courts were grimy. It was discovered recently that one of Larry's imaginary characters - "Slack Alice" might be named after a woman who lived just a few doors from him in Abbey Street in his school days - Alice Slack ---- and Apricot Lil worked on the production line of Moorhouse's Jam factory in Seymour Road. (Photo: courtesy of Bob Pickering)
The great Nuneaton Flood of 1932. Nuneaton Post Office staff pose for the camera. Nuneaton was not named Ea-ton (water town) for nothing. Every 30 years there was a great flood and the one in 1932 was the worst. Water rose to 5'0" high in the Market Place within an hour leading to scenes throughout the town centre like this. But local people instead of wringing their hands and blaming it on global warming, got out their swimming costumes, wellington boots, rowing boats and made the most of the novelty. Nuneaton no longer floods as a relief water course was built round the town that saved the town from the nuisance. The great flood of 1932 produced some wonderful images of Nuneaton as the local photographers went round the district recording every aspect of this unusual scene. In the process capturing great images such as this one. Sue Bates has identified the man in the raincoat on the left hand side as the brother of her mother - Tom Trigg.
Here she is again. Sat demurely upon a telephone pillar in Church Street during the 1932 flood. But who is Nuneaton's mermaid? It says a lot about the differences between that era and our own that this girl has made the most of this otherwise catastrophic occasion to pose so happily for the camera and exhibit such a lovely pair of legs. Its hard to imagine that extensive flooding like this was looked upon by the local population as a chance to don your bathing costume, get out your rowing boats and canoes and make the best of the situation. (Jean Lapworth Collection)
Don't do it mate! Don't drink that stuff! I wonder if they realise that the water they are offering up to their lips so nonchalantly is mixed with the effluent from a thousand privies! Yuk. The view we see here of these young chaps enjoying themselves in the great Nuneaton flood of 1932 is looking up Coventry Street with Barclays Bank on the left. The building sticking out into the roadway is the Carnegie free lending library with the new Council House just in the course of erection, albeit work has been temporarily suspended for the duration of the flood. The Carnegie library will be pulled down in 1933 when the council house has been completed and its contents transferred to the former council offices and fire station in Queens Road.
I adore this image of Mary Whittaker (1913-2009) of "Greenacres" Lutterworth Road, Nuneaton. Mary's beautiful blonde hairstyle is so lovely and what a photogenic local girl who I believe when she married went to live in Leamington Spa where she became a grandmother to nine, and had three great grandchildren. Her father was a wine and spirits merchant in Newdegate Street. She is believed to have been a cub mistress with the 1st Nuneaton Scout Group which met at the Crystal Palace public house in Gadsby Street, Attleborough in the 1930's. It is a great pity she was of marriageable age 20 years before I became a twinkle in my parent's eyes. Such is life! Her married name was Bowen. She is buried at St. Peter's Church, Dormer Place, Leamington Spa. Many thanks to Colin King Asst. Group Leader of the 1st Nuneaton Boys Scouts for this information and help in providing a detailed caption for the photograph. (photo courtesy of Anne Lawson original by Leonard Chettle, Photographer Queens Road Studios, Nuneaton)
You will see a lot of the photos on this web site was taken by my friend - Geoff Edmands. This picture was taken by his cousin Reg. Bull, another well known local photographer. Reg and Geoff went on photographic missions together and often you see a photo taken by Geoff from one angle and Reg another of the same scene. Their work is invaluable in recording lost images of our locality from the 1930's onwards. Certainly by the 50's they were prolific. It is a huge debt of gratitude we owe Geoff, and I hope to produce most of his images on this web site in the coming months.
A "Coronation" class streamliner on an Up express on its way to London passes Ashby Junction, Nuneaton in the 1940's. Ashby Junction box on the left with the relief signalmen on the way to the box. The tracks leading off to Weddington Junction are seen curving off to the right. The Midland Junction to Weddington junction passed over the bridge in the distance and the two lines came together and headed for Shackerstone Junction with its connections to Loughborough Derby Road, Ashby de la Zouch and Burton on Trent. Note the signalman have no high visibility clothing in the "Good Old Days".
Then the electrics came in and youthful trainspotters made the transition. Does anyone recognise their youthful selves. Note how most of them are wearing ties and sensible clothes. Can you imagine that today? Nuneaton station c. 1966. (The lad on the extreme right looks like a young David Cameron, but it can't be of course, not train-spotting on Nuneaton station!)
At one time you were regularly held up at a level crossing for a train to pass conveying coal from Newdigate Colliery down to the exchange sidings on the Coventry-Nuneaton line and the empties back. In this picture Newdigate Colliery loco nr. 1. A Hunslet Engine Co. 0-6-0ST Nr. 3841 of 1956 trundles along stopping the traffic. It came new to Newdigate but only lasted here twelve years until it was sold to John Cashmore & Co of Great Bridge on 24th October 1968. Presumably for scrap. Note that it is the NCB livery of light blue, which looked very faded after a while. The Midland Red bus looks to be an S6 which is on the 758 route the short Bedworth to Keresley service. I would put this photo in the early 60's. (Peter Bayly)
This is a great image. Kids engaged in earnest conversation despite the noisy brass band marching down Attleborough Road towards Nuneaton town, in the 1950's. With the iconic weaving top shop Albion Buildings in the background. The occasion is a carnival day in June. In the Albion Buildings was a former silk weaving company who employed as their foreman one Joseph Warner (1855-1925). Mr. Warner emigrated to Paterson New Jersey USA in the year 1889. He formed a company called the Warner Manufacturing Co which was later incorporated as the Warner Woven Label Co. Inc, the largest silk manufactory in America which had its roots in this scruffy set of top shops in old Attleborough: (Colin Yorke)
Nuneaton Market Place dressed for the Coronation in 1937. Flags, banners and buntings everywhere. Bridge Street straight ahead. The Nuneaton War Memorial on the wall to the right of Bridge Street. Nuneaton Post Office adjacent to it coming towards the photographer and the White Swan pub, kept for many years by Harriet Platt.
This is Abbey Street, Nuneaton in the late 1950's. Abbey Street was the town's most populous street in the 19th century with two third's of the local population crammed into its courts and tenements. Familiar buildings still linger on the left but many on the right are long gone. Ranby's the chemist far right on the corner of High Street with Peter Lenton's lorry beyond. Lenton's were wholesale fruit and vegetable merchants and their storage warehouse was just in High Street off the picture to the right. They also had retail premises further down on the right in one of the white fronted buildings towards the centre of town. In the whitewashed block just behind Lenton's lorry was one of Nuneaton's famous institutions - Pickens Batch Bar - who dispensed the most delicious sausage batches (bread rolls to non-Nuneatonians not familiar with the vernacular) dipped in gravy. A mecca for kids straight out of the Ritz from the Saturday matinee. The entire block from the corner of High Street to the gable fronted pub in the centre of the picture on the right was pulled down in the 60's.
Mr. Alfred Day and his daughter in their backyard in Bond Gate, Nuneaton about 1912. Alfred was a tobacconist and hairdresser. The strange looking contraption is a tricycle fitted with a Wall Autowheel of 118cc manufactured from the turn of the century until 1922. Designed to take the muscle power out of cycling but whether it would have the power to get you up Tuttle Hill is another question. Similar Autowheels are still made by the Sachs company of Germany to this day.
Gun Hill Mixed Infants, Arley. 27th June 1940. There's a war on but these kids seem cheerful and the full horrors of war are a world away. It will come home to them though in the following November when the skys of Arley will be lit up by the devastating air raids when the Luftwaffe targeted the city close to their quiet village - Coventry. Note that their class room windows have been taped as a precaution against blast damage throwing shards of glass from the windows. The children are: standing left to right - Jenny Stevens, Rita Richards, Grace Greenfield, Nancy Plant, Rosemary Smith, Beatrice Matthews, Vivien Jones, and May Coop. Sitting left to right - Edith Morton, Eileen Gill, Doris Gripton, Gladys Rees, Betty Gaskell, Doreen LLoyd, Mary Charnell, and Gladys Summerton. I wonder what happened to these lovely kids. Are any still in the district? (Geoff Edmands).
The smart young men of the district, probably photographed at Caldecote. On the left is Tom Burgoyne senior whose son, young Tom aged 99 in 2013, is still living in Nuneaton. On the right is Charles Pipe who I believe emigrated to Australia whose family kept the Railway Tavern in Bond Street. (Tom Burgoyne jnr.)
Chilvers Coton church lads gather on Nuneaton Recreation ground ready to parade in the 1907 Charter Celebrations. They have a small artillery gun. The object that looks like a gun on the float behind them is in fact a rock drilling machine on messrs. Judkins float. The big factory with the chimney is Hall & Phillips hat factory fronting Abbey Street, and the row of houses to the right, cottages in Meadow Street. The buildings in the far distance are the backs of properties in Abbey Street. (Carol Hughes)
Inside the "Bohemian" smoking room of the Crystal Palace pub in Nuneaton Market Place. The sepia tone goes well with the scene because when the room was packed with Nuneaton folk on a Friday and Saturday night the smog from cigarette and pipe smoke must have been very dense indeed. Imagine Annie Wrighton, the publican, singing accompanied at the piano! This was as good as it got for local entertainment in Nuneaton at the week-end. Nothing else compared. The Crystal Palace pub was demolished in 1909 and Mrs. Wrighton's "Bohemian" smoking room became a dim and distant memory preserved here in tobacco smoke sepia for ever. (David Floyd)