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Not Local
Bedworth
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16 of 31  Sun 14th Jan 2018 5:54pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

Peter, I would agree that it looks like a sign for an Emergency Water Supply just like the ones on all of the canal bridges along the Foleshill Rd and for the static water supply tank at Hay Lane. I must admit that I have never seen this particular sign before even though I had a reasonable knowledge of this part of Coventry when I was working there many years ago.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
johnwright
combe martim
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17 of 31  Tue 16th Jan 2018 10:25am  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:131

Very interesting to hear of these "Emergency Water Supplies" sites, and signage during the war. Have looked on Google Earth at the sign in Lythalls Lane. Have never seen signs of EWS on canal bridges in Foleshill. Are there any photos? So far my only research shows "EWS" written on buildings in yellow.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Not Local
Bedworth
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18 of 31  Tue 16th Jan 2018 3:31pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

John Wright - I worked in Foleshill in the 1970's and was told by those older than me that the yellow circles painted on the canal bridges were wartime signs for an emergency water supply. In addition, holes were knocked through the brickwork so that hoses could be fed through to gain access to the water below. I am only repeating what I have been told because I am not old enough to remember the war. Looking on Google Maps I can still see traces of two yellow circles on the Navigation Bridge parapet at Stoney Stanton Rd/Bridge St (next to where the old Navigation Pub stood) - look to the left of the modern red brick building occupied by Mutual Clothing. There is a similar circle on the Longford Bridge parapet at Bedworth Rd, opposite to Sydnall Rd, I know that is still there because I walked within inches of it just this morning. There is a circle on the canal bridge on Foleshill Rd by Courtaulds as well and in years past I am sure there were similar ones on the New Inn Bridge in Foleshill Rd. On some of these bridges you can see where the brickwork has been altered to make the opening and then filled back in with a very slightly different blue brick but leaving the lintel over the opening if that makes sense. There used to be a circular mark on the wall which curved round from the canal basin towards the Foleshill Rd but I couldn't find it last time I looked. This one was much posher and said something like 'NFS Emergency Water Supply'. Edit: Having written the above I just knew that I had seen photographic evidence of the yellow circles. It is on the 'Coventry Tramways' website under 'History & Industrial Archaeology of Coventry Tramways - Priestley's Bridge Depot'. There is a good picture of the yellow circle on the end of the bridge parapet at the junction of Stoney Stanton Rd and Ordnance Rd and the text explains that there is a corresponding mark on the other (city side) of the bridge. The explanation says that the yellow circle 'indicates to wartime fire service personnel where to access water'. Looking on Google maps today I can't pick out the sign on the end of the parapet but the one on the Cambridge St. side is just about visible. Edited by member, 16th Jan 2018 4:52 pm
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Midland Red
Cherwell
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19 of 31  Tue 16th Jan 2018 5:34pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5121

Here's a link to the reference above - thanks, Not Local Thumbs up Looking on Google Street View, I don't think it's visible anymore Oh my
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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20 of 31  Tue 16th Jan 2018 5:44pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

Not Local. It's likely that you are right, it's hard to find out anything about the fire brigades of Coventry during the war, but Coventry is the place to look. I know Coventry had at least fifty works brigades that tried to do a good job but were hampered by lack of water and incompatibility of standard sizes of equipment although the AFS was formed in 1938. So were all the signs different? I don't remember the form of the signs now, but were they there before the blitz, or a couple of days later? Lessons were learnt. I know there was a de-contamination place somewhere along the Foleshill Road but where? There were some brigades from the Brum area not allowed into Coventry during the blitz, and I heard of having to have a pass to enter the city. It seemed to me that no one had thought of disruption of the mains by bombs. Had there have been just one water tank near the Cathedral there were enough fire-fighters to have saved it. But it is easy to say after the event.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Not Local
Bedworth
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21 of 31  Tue 16th Jan 2018 8:39pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

Midland Red - Thanks for the link, my computer skills are limited. Kaga - Thanks for your valued input, a few hours ago I was doubting my own memory of what I had been told. I guess that the smart NFS Emergency Water Supply point in Drapers Fields was from later in the war. Somebody in Coventry no doubt realised that the fire brigades needed alternative water supplies and those places needed to be quickly identifiable in the pitch black conditions of the black-out. There would have been no time to make fancy signs or even to consult other places. They did a good job. In Birmingham the holes in the canal bridges were referred to as 'fire hose doors' so I am sure you can visualise your wartime fire brigade colleagues finding the Emergency Water Supply, chucking the hose down through the opening into the canal water and pumping it into their own appliance or directly onto a fire nearby.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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22 of 31  Wed 17th Jan 2018 8:02am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3210

Not Local, you have just sent my memory into overload. Many, many years ago I remember seeing what I thought was a little door on a Sunday walk with my mother and I am sure we had just walked across a bridge - we lived at Tile Hill then (Lime Tree Ave.) My sense of direction is not too clever but my memory is and I am wondering now if there are many of those openings still around today.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
johnwright
combe martim
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23 of 31  Wed 17th Jan 2018 8:39am  
Member: Joined Jun 2014  Total posts:131

Stoney Stanton Road canal bridge by where the Navigation Pub used to be. Photo taken from Google Earth showing the EWS circle signs, also, the "new" brickwork in the middle could have been where a door was, to allow access for the fire hoses.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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24 of 31  Wed 17th Jan 2018 12:08pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

I think it was a case of learn as you went along, the HG, ARP, AFS, all acted as one ,learnt from each other, helped each other. If someone told you to do something, you did it - no bosses kind of thing, you accepted their word. Those canal doors, signs, etc I believe came in after the first raid through experience - cups of tea were made for everyone, regardless of rationing. On my 14 birthday I was shown a brick building at the side of the Ebonite factory and told I had the responsibility of making a fire each evening for the men that would come back on fire duty (after I had done my day's work). It was a great feeling to be part of a team, I was shown all over the roof of the building before I had done any work inside. The Navigation pub on the Stoney Stanton Road became a Sunday morning rendezvous for HG, etc. to swap training ideas - it stood back a little so vehicles could park with easy access to the main road. Much like their grandparents did 80 years before when secret meetings were held in that pub for union talks.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Not Local
Bedworth
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25 of 31  Wed 17th Jan 2018 2:13pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

The yellow circles on the canal bridges have only survived because the bridges have remained unaltered since the war. Other signs will have been swept away in the rebuilding and redevelopment in later years. There is yet another yellow circle on the wall of the canal warehouses at the Canal Basin - it is towards the Foleshill Rd end of the building. There is evidence of 'fire hose doors' on the Cash's Lane canal bridge but no trace of any yellow circles. I have looked on Google at some extracts from a book called 'The Blitz & Its Legacy' by Mark Clapson and Peter J. Larkham. In the section 'Wartime Destruction to Post War Reconstruction' they give details about meetings in 1935 between the city council's Waterworks & Fire Brigade Committee and the Coventry & District Engineering Employers to discuss the response to an air attack and how the various works fire brigades could co-operate with Coventry Fire Brigade. The same book gives details of Coventry City Council's Reconstruction Committee Report from December 1940 which recommended the provision of larger supplies of static water. You can imagine that someone from the Fire Brigade then went out and marked the places where water could be obtained from rivers, canals, and flooded basements. There were also specially constructed static water tanks I believe, was there one somewhere at the top of the Burges, and maybe in Sandy Lane, Radford? Looking on Google maps I found a set of 'fire hose doors' on a canal bridge in Kings Rd, Birmingham B25 8HR - photographed in 2017 and still brightly painted red. No yellow circles though but there isn't a blackout now and they are probably plotted on the Fire Service's computers. Edited by member, 17th Jan 2018 2:41 pm
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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26 of 31  Wed 17th Jan 2018 2:59pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3210

Thank you, Not Local and Kaga, my long lost past has caught up with me then. Thanks again boys for the interesting info. Wave
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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27 of 31  Wed 24th Jan 2018 9:33am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

Not Local. Good work. But the Goverment publications to raise peoples awareness of ARP failed to spark enough interest so the Home Office approached the tobacco Companies to print out a set of collectable 'Fag' cards devoted to ARP. I remember one being the way to wear your Gas-mask and how to look after it.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Not Local
Bedworth
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28 of 31  Fri 9th Feb 2018 5:30pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

This was the yellow circle yesterday. You can see that the circle has a black band around the outside and a black centre to make it stand out against the brick wall. It won't be there for much longer because the paint is fading and the bricks are crumbling. Edit: I have just looked at a planning application from about 2007 and can see why none of us remembered this yellow circle from years back. On the 2007 photograph there is a telephone kiosk on the corner, a modern type rather than an old red one, but it is directly in front of the yellow circle. Edited by member, 9th Feb 2018 6:26 pm
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Not Local
Bedworth
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29 of 31  Sun 3rd Jun 2018 10:06am  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:223

This Emergency Water Supply sign has featured before in different topics. It is in Hay Lane and I was about to walk through the doorway on the right which is the Golden Cross pub. I took my photograph with my back to what would have been St. Michael's Baptist Church where the bombed out basement was used as a static water tank.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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30 of 31  Tue 5th Jun 2018 9:40am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2532

Not Local, good morning. It would be interesting to know when that sign was painted. I believe after the raids of 41 were over was when they filled basements with water and called them static water tanks. Half-hour after the blitz started Coventry Brigade was in trouble so it asked for help. A tender and crew raced from Solihull to Coventry, they were directed to the Cathedral to help. They drove to near the vestry door, length after length of hose were fitted round the Cathedral. But before any good could be done the water from the mains ceased, and with ''no other water available'' the firemen left the Cathedral, the pews caught fire, which meant the whole of the interior woodwork would go. The firemen and the staff who had been on the roof of the Cathedral stood in the porch of the police station and watched the destruction unfold. Now Foleshill had those same signs, it also had more factories and targets than any area in Coventry, it also had the incendiaries and it had the 'water' besides the mains. Now I never heard or read of any serious fires in Foleshill in any raids, I believe the fires were dealt with quickly and efficently, even the Dunlop (Rubber) never got burnt to the ground.
Wartime and the Blitz - Wartime Fire Services

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