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Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)

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Midland Red
Cherwell
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331 of 347  Tue 10th Sep 2019 5:07pm  
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If I read everything correctly (not very usual!), Burtons building on the corner of Broadgate and the one attached next door in Smithford Street (Willsons) remained standing after the war. I think the building in question was another two down from that one, so it’s possible that it was Dolcis Shoes.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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332 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 9:14am  
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Yep, what MR said above.....
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
NeilsYard
Coventry
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333 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 10:21am  
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I think this is the same building that Rob has in the Library Collection from a lot earlier - The gap to the right of the white building in question was I think where the Dorothy Cafe was - that went in 1934. We know this thanks to this clipping that I think Anne shared some time ago - where Willsons is in Robs image : Also here - is that the same building though to the left? It looks significantly different (and shorter!) than in Prof's photo in Post #326, as if it had only just had a 'modern' deco facelift - Edited by member, 11th Sep 2019 10:22 am
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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334 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 12:13pm  
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Midland Red. I think you’re right, but then you know camera angle shots better than I. Prof’s photo was a wartime shot that altered daily, the building in question was nowhere near the size of Burtons in height, the building on the right was Easterns, set back a couple of yards, in between Dolcis and Willsons. Easterns was removed leaving Prof’s photo, a few weeks later Dolcis was removed and the top part of Willsons was left derelict, only the ground floor was renovated as a shop. The house this side of the road was part of the Kings Head.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Helen F
Warrington
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335 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 12:52pm  
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To get back to the Prof's photo. It doesn't look like it was Burtons or Willsons because there are destroyed buildings to the right. I still think that it might be the remains of the picture theatre. It's the only white painted building west of Willsons. View from Britain from above
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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336 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 1:17pm  
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Helen F. Sorry but what date are you looking at? On the night of the blitz, two buildings were glossy white, the one next to Willsons and the one next door below it - both got damaged, and everything below them down to Fleet Street was wiped out. Prof’s photo was taken from above ground level and that is a puzzle for everything had been destroyed opposite Willsons.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Helen F
Warrington
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337 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 4:57pm  
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1935 is the last relevant aerial shot and there are the two white buildings at the corner with Broadgate but one more further down Smithford Street where the picture house was at some point, although it might have been gone by the war. The next aerial view is well after the war when the building in the Prof's photo had gone.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
argon
new milton
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338 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 5:36pm  
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The picture including 'The Picture House' interested me as I did not know of a cinema in that area. Looking at the newspapers I find it closed in August 1932 to be replaced by a shoe shop. The report incidentally says that there were nine shoe shops in Smithford Street. The cinema was opened in 1911.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Helen F
Warrington
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339 of 347  Wed 11th Sep 2019 6:00pm  
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Well done argon - it means that Dolcis Shoes and the Picture House could be the same building but with a face lift.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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340 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 9:06am  
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It would be wrong to say that Willsons and Burtons survived the raid, they were both gutted. Only the girders and Burtons facade remained standing, nothing was really usable. It was only because they stood on the corner so were the first to be cleared that they refurbished the ground floors only, to open for business. Some of the facade of the White Lion survived too. The last bomb to explode in the centre of the city was in Burtons ground floor shop around 11am Friday morning. If you look very close at Prof’s photo, in the roof of the white building you can see remains of circular girders, that are part of the old theatre/cinema, or maybe the rebuilt Corn Exchange. Yes the cinema was the old Skears Row (Mayor) Theatre, built 1818, then refurbished to a cinema, and the Hippodrome built to replace the theatre. Up to 1818 the theatre players used St Mary's Hall. Coventry was always being refurbished or rebuilt, without true records. The safest place in Coventry the first week after the raid was the Cathedral, after the King’s visit.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
NeilsYard
Coventry
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341 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 9:16am  
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Thought this might help - I can blow up even more on my laptop and the remaining letters left on the white building are 'HOE' - which does indeed suggest SHOES............. Edited by member, 12th Sep 2019 9:19 am
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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342 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 9:18am  
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On 10th Sep 2019 2:43pm, Prof said: Smithford St rather than Broadgate I think. Helen F may know the white building, right centre of photo?
Does this 1924 postcard from my collection shed any light? The vertical "prism" shaped protrusions saying "Picture" on either side look like a match. Forum library image
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Prof
Gloucester
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343 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 10:53am  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1080

I am constantly amazed at the individual and interesting shop facades in pre-war Coventry, not just Butcher Row, but Smithford St was full of interest that everyday shoppers probably hardly noticed when not looking up! It pains me that I never knew it, but I guess, like Kaga, had I known the loss would be even greater. "Plus ça change" as the French would say (Everything changes!) Edited by member, 12th Sep 2019 10:55 am
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
NeilsYard
Coventry
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344 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 11:03am  
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Agreed Prof. It seemed a fascinating street amongst all the others - old shop fronts seemed so much more enticing, didn't they.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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345 of 347  Thu 12th Sep 2019 1:11pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

Rob’s photo on 332 shows Burton's not in line with Hertford Street, the dog-leg of Broadgate, the cafe in Burton's and the golf shop top floor. There was a footpath between Burton’s and Willson’s that led through the market down to West Orchard. Note most shop doors set back for shelter. But you could hear the traders in the market, the various smells mingling in the street, the horses, all gave the feeling you could have been anytime in the last century. It still had the old ways - the market, huge cheeses laid out on straw, fruit and veg, all fresh from farms around the city, the tastes. You could wander all day and not get tired of it - pets, animals, plants, flowers, paintings etc - and the irony of it, cheap books of Coventry's history.
Smithford Street (inc. Ram Bridge)

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