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NeilsYard
Coventry
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1 of 52  Thu 25th Nov 2010 1:49am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Apologies if you've seen these already but some very interesting shots here - some really reminded me of growing up in the 80's, especially Coventry Theatre and Pool Meadow - BBC Photos. I really recall that GEC building - I have been thinking the IKEA development to be too big but looking back at this shot the GEC was huge too! My dad used to park in that scrub-land in the foreground quite a bit. Just what did they produce there? Post copied from topic CovScape photos on 8th May 2017 2:34 pm
GEC Spon Street
dutchman
Spon End
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2 of 52  Thu 25th Nov 2010 5:51pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

In later years it was telephone exchanges but prior to 1957 it made television sets.
GEC Spon Street
NeilsYard
Coventry
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3 of 52  Sat 27th Nov 2010 11:59am  
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I'm pretty sure that GEC shot is from Starley Road looking at what's now the SkyDome. If they had not got rid of it I'm sure someone could have made a cracking development out of that building now. Oh well - yet another case of what's been lost in my beloved Coventry.
GEC Spon Street
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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4 of 52  Sat 27th Nov 2010 4:04pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1043

NeilsYard said: I really recall that GEC building . . . what did they produce there?
I started my GEC apprenticeship there in 1981, and worked in that wonderfully atmospheric old building until March 1990 - a few weeks before it closed. We were producing data transmission equipment - mainly radio and fibre-optic links - that carries all the telephony information between telephone exchanges around the country (and many other countries). I agree, it would've made a great place if it was re-used in some development or other, but money talks (as always), and now we have a Skydome instead.
GEC Spon Street
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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5 of 52  Sat 27th Nov 2010 5:12pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1043

NeilsYard said: I'm pretty sure that GEC shot is from Starley Road looking at what's now the SkyDome.
Hi again! I've scanned and joined parts of two maps below, and highlighted the GEC, so hopefully we can work out where these photos were taken from. I reckon you're about right with Starley Road for the first shot - just at the corner with Croft Road I would think. The big black and white photo of mine isn't quite so easy to work out though. Judging from the angle, do you think the houses in the bottom left corner could be the south side of Trafalgar Street? I'm not certain what high position the photo could have been taken from though. And I do love that street light - they don't make 'em like that anymore, do they!
GEC Spon Street
NeilsYard
Coventry
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6 of 52  Wed 26th Oct 2011 10:31pm  
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Rob I know from previous posts that you used to work there but I was talking to the mother-in-law this afternoon about the GEC in Spon Street where she also worked and she mentioned there were lots of strange tunnels underneath the building. One of which she believed ran right underground towards the Council House? Anyone any idea about these and what they were for? Presumably some are still down there?
GEC Spon Street
GlynD
Exmouth
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7 of 52  Thu 27th Oct 2011 7:30pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2010  Total posts:8

An intriguing idea, but I can't think why Rudge would have incorporated such a feature, or if it would have been possible given the existing buildings in the city in the 1880s. And the river. Though of course a deep tunnel could have been possible. I worked there for nearly 20 years and was one of the last to leave (the milk and newspapers had already been cancelled and there was no need to turn off the lights as they were being stripped out). I was always fascinated with the building's history - one of the very few workers I must say - most people were just critical of its comfort and looks and would happily have exchanged it for chrome and glass and all artificial lighting. Unfortunately I must say that in my visits to the basement / cellar I never saw any signs of exits in the exterior walls. That's not to say there weren't any, the place was poorly lit and had been adapted with lots of partitions for various storage and seemed a bit of a maze. I looked for signs of its use as air raid shelter but didn't find anything. The wall at the north entrance in Spon St used to have an 's' painted on it but I never found any existing signage for the south end. But I'm getting off topic. Anyone else got more info?
GEC Spon Street
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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8 of 52  Thu 27th Oct 2011 7:51pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1043

Hi Neil.... and hello again Glyn! It is indeed an intriguing thought, and one that I'd love to have been true. However, Glyn was there twice as long as I was, and also took a lot more notice than me of the many hidden features around that most fascinating of factories, so I'll definitely bow to his superior knowledge of the Spon Street (Last Century Park! Wink ) building. The basement was a real maze though, and on the few occasions that I needed to go down there I never came up by the same exit.... I could never find the same way back again!!! I certainly never heard any tales of tunnels, however, and like Glyn mentions, with the river and the many surrounding buildings any tunnel would've had to be extremely deep. I did hear a few tales of ghostly happenings from one or two night-shift workers though, so that might bring a tale or three out from anyone who ever experienced anything supernatural! Oh my
GEC Spon Street
NeilsYard
Coventry
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9 of 52  Sat 29th Oct 2011 10:29am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Thanks guys - she's sure these existed though. She did mention the basement had terrible lighting - all the lights were 'caged' and you could barely see. What's the history behind the building to have such a complexity of a basement? My folks always used to park their car on that scrub land that became a car park where the Skydome is now. That was about as close as I recall getting to the building - wish I had taken more notice of the place before it went. I was an apprentice at Peugeot Talbot and recall spooky goings on witnessed by the night shift workers at Whitley and its monks!!
GEC Spon Street
dutchman
Spon End
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10 of 52  Sat 29th Oct 2011 1:41pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

Sorry to disappoint you NeilsYard but Whitley Abbey was just a fancy name for a private mansion owned by the Petre family in the 19th century. There has never been a monastery on the site. [The Coventry We Have Lost: Vol 1]
GEC Spon Street
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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11 of 52  Mon 28th Nov 2011 12:31am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:81

GEC site redevelopment Somebody's homemade site
GEC Spon Street
NeilsYard
Coventry
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12 of 52  Mon 28th Nov 2011 7:17am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Just as I remember it. Just wish I had the sense to explore it and those buildings in front also. Sad
GEC Spon Street
Midland Red
Cherwell
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13 of 52  Mon 28th Nov 2011 5:32pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4549

I managed to include it in three slides in 1976, now scanned Smile
GEC Spon Street
NeilsYard
Coventry
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14 of 52  Mon 28th Nov 2011 6:59pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

Great shots Midland Thumbs up Don't recall that chimney at all? That really would have made a great apartment block/shopping centre wouldn't it?! There's a shopping plaza in Melbourne, Australia that was built around an old preserved cotton mill - it now sits inside/covered within the shopping malls. They really should have saved it.
GEC Spon Street
The spirit of Coventry
Spain
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15 of 52  Mon 28th Nov 2011 7:14pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:81

When I was a lad my mother would take us into town to go shopping at the Cov veg market, and we would pass the old GEC works after it was demolished. When you looked across the cleared site there was an opening in the ground where one of the rivers ran through. I guess they have covered it up now with the Skydome..
GEC Spon Street

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