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Finding Mr Wright

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Helen F
Warrington
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16 of 27  Tue 22nd Jan 2019 11:03am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1480

Thanks Anne, MR. If the house wasn't being sold because Mr Thomas Wright had died (death duties), perhaps it was an unwanted inheritance from another Mr Wright? Little Park Street had a lot more Georgian buildings than is at first obvious. There were at least 4 buildings set back from the road on the west side. The earliest map is 1749, so there may have been more. There's even an empty plot. I know that it's not Kirby House because the buildings directly to the right of that were half timbered. The castle seems too close to the road but maybe it had an extension at the front? The upper floor could easily be added. It has the moulding for basement windows, although they have been walled up. The castle had a big gateway directly to the right and possibly the building beyond that was 'new' but there doesn't seem like there was enough space at the rear for the gardens. The styling on neither building is a clear match but that may have been changed over a few hundred years. The building directly to the left of the fancy Bridgeman's building was set back but I think that was demolished along with the half timbered wing. Banner House also had a recessed Georgian style building but it was partially behind what has to be a reused half timbered building. There was a gap between Banner House and The Squirrel that might be big enough for the Georgian building and a garden to the right. But that would mean that Mr Wright's house had been removed by 1749. Fire? There was a group of buildings with at least one Georgian mansion between Bridgeman's and St John's Street but the maps don't show a recess. There are possibilities for big houses on the east side of LPS but there is no evidence it might be there. Another contender was a building on Much Park Street. In the photo below the location and remains of a recessed building on the right might be a possibility. There is no clear view of the front of that building although the glimpse of it in another photo doesn't show the styling in the sketch other than the pediment at the top. The rear gardens of that one and the one next to it had been taken over by the Midland Brewery/Phillips & Marriotts. Forum library image The side garden and the building next door were demolished to create the big building on the right of the picture below. The roadway is to the left of that building and was there in the 1850 map so wasn't a new feature. To the left of that was the very substantial recessed house (also on the 1850 map) which could easily be a similar layout to the one in the sketch.
Finding Mr Wright
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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17 of 27  Tue 22nd Jan 2019 12:39pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1504

From what I can work out Helen, we know that the house belonged to Thomas Wright because of the documents we found listed in the British Library. The adverts in the newspapers mostly say to let or sell and also that it is available immediately as Thomas's business is London. If it is the correct Thomas that died in 1748 I have found a marriage on Ancestry with him marrying his second wife Lydia Halfpenny in 1729 in London and it has Thomas Wright of Coventry. She would probably have preferred to stay in London. We also have the intriguing mention in the documents in the British Library of the advert for raffle tickets (what date?). In his will Thomas leaves most of his estate to his daughter Elizabeth Aldridge, just some money to his son James as he says he has had a great expense in his education and he is well provided for. In Coventry Archives there is a document about 7 Little Park Street which says it was built for Thomas Bird, silk ribbon weaver, and in another article I have found there was an extension at the back to store the silk so I think you can dismiss that one. The article does say though that it was designed by William Francis Smith 1720-1726 and that he designed that and 2 others. It does look so similar to the sketch that it is the same architect. So frustrating that nothing we have found mentions where it is. It must have been so prominent that people knew "Mr Wright's House" - where is that time machine? I think, as you said a trip to the British Library! Perhaps Beighton's drawing may have a bit more of the environment around it or a few more clues.
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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18 of 27  Tue 22nd Jan 2019 4:36pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1480

I think that the raffle may have been an act of desperation to shift the property and that the picture was possibly produced for the raffle or for selling to someone further afield. I suspect that the details possibly ended up in George III's possession because his father (he was too young) was tempted to take a punt. I agree that those papers hold the best chance of success. I'll report back if I find anything. Thumbs up Edited by member, 22nd Jan 2019 4:37 pm
Finding Mr Wright
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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19 of 27  Tue 22nd Jan 2019 8:44pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1504

There is a whole catalogue of George III library Helen, there is also plans of Coventry you might find interesting. Good luck. Catalogue.
Finding Mr Wright
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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20 of 27  Wed 23rd Jan 2019 11:02am  
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In the constables presentments there is a Mr Thomas Wright of Much Park Street Ward mentioned in the 1730's several times for "muck" and in 1742 he is mentioned in Midsford Street Ward which I believe is also Much Park Street Ward for a bad pavement. Edited by member, 23rd Jan 2019 11:25 am
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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21 of 27  Wed 23rd Jan 2019 12:51pm  
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That's very interesting. I can imagine a neglected property with the owner mostly down in London, failing to keep the pavements clean (as was a requirement at one point). That there was a Mr Thomas Wright on the street at the right era is very relevant. The aerial view seems to show a suitable layout, including a large flat section over what might have been a much older courtyard. ie the 'new' building might have had an older rear, as was often the case. There are disimilarities, most prominent being the main door being at the side but the map is over a 100 years later than the sketch. The front fence line might also be different but there are logical explanations for that. I think that this has strong possibilities. Edited by member, 23rd Jan 2019 1:07 pm
Finding Mr Wright
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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22 of 27  Wed 23rd Jan 2019 2:23pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1504

I was looking at that one as well Helen on my 1750 map. It looks like a courtyard on there which it looks like on the original picture looking at the far roof, you can find it on here, it is in 1750, I sent a copy of this to Rob some time ago, it is under old map scans under the Historic Coventry button Much Park Street On your map you can just see Bell Court. In the newspaper this is mentioned as a ribbon warehouse. Looking at the picture again, don’t you think the bit at the back of the house showing on the right hand side of the house looks more like a factory or warehouse, it looks very bland compared to the rest of the house and the windows are odd.
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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23 of 27  Wed 23rd Jan 2019 3:10pm  
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The side wing does look very different but in that day it possibly wouldn't have been a business. The house description doesn't mention it, although people often don't when trying to flog a house as a grand affair. It might have been servants' quarters or just not decorated like the posh front. Very common. Alternatively it might be reconfigured medieval/tudor buildings and plastered or brick clad to disguise its age. The whole of Bell Court was timbered, the front and sides being 2 storey but the rear wing had 3. The north wing of Bell Court made the south edge to the property in question. It would have been something like number 124/125? That map is a 1960s attempt to use the 1890 Ordnance Survey maps and merge the 1750 Bradford map. While it's very useful it has faults and omissions that are the result of the maps they used. Alternatively they might have used maps earlier than the 1850 one and I can't verify them. The Bradford map does show a courtyard and I assumed that there had been one. Addendum - I was misreading the description - the flat roof was over the front not the court (one added later when it became a brewery). Flat roofs being notoriously leaky may have been changed when the whole front was remodelled. In Old Coventry and Lady Godiva it states "Bell Court, no doubt the remains of a large inn (The Bell (later Green Dragon)). It was a very old fashioned building (now being judiciously restored by Mr Marriott as the Midland Brewery, 1870, and other houses near it)." This might explain why the front of the building doesn't look Georgian at all. Although, the front door was at the side by 1850. Edited by member, 23rd Jan 2019 3:38 pm
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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24 of 27  Wed 23rd Jan 2019 11:33pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1480

Still trying to trace where Mr Wright lived and if the property he owned was the one we think. I have found out he was a trustee for the Thomas White Charity that had something to do with property. While tracing property on the Coventry Collections search, I have discovered that the coaching inn The Coach and Horses was originally based in Broad Yard (partially shown in map above). It makes sense because it has a massive entrance gateway and extensive buildings at the back. It later moved down and across the road to the place we see in the photos of the Whitefriars gatehouse.
Finding Mr Wright
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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25 of 27  Mon 28th Jan 2019 10:37am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2956

Helen F, I have a book with a front view of the Coach and Horses in Much Park Street, the morning after the raid. There's a car head first in the crater right outside the front door.The driver died. The arched doorway is a smaller building at the left-hand side. Much meant 'great' in the old days. I guess you know all this?
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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26 of 27  Mon 28th Jan 2019 10:44am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1480

Yes thanks Kaga. The photo you've got is of the second Coach and Horses in Much Park Street. The first was on the other side of the road closer to town and was a proper coaching inn, complete with a very high entrance and all sorts of buildings including a smithy and a malting house. The roof on that had a dovecot set into it. Beer with extra body... Oh my
Finding Mr Wright
Helen F
Warrington
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27 of 27  Tue 23rd Apr 2019 9:13pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:1480

My sister kindly went to the British Library and looked up Mr Wright's house. Alas the paperwork didn't give an address either. It did say - The House of Mr Thomas Wright, in the City of Coventry, being a new-built Brick House in the Doric and Corinthian Order; has Eight Rooms on a Floor besides Dressing-rooms and Closets. The Hall is very neat, being Wainscotted with Norway Oak, and the best Stair-Case is of the same, with a neat private Inner Court, into which looks a Gallery, the whole Length of the Court, having Nine Sash Windows; of which nothing can be seen in the foregoing Draught. There are good Offices, Stables, Coach-house and Brew-house; also two good Gardens planted with the best of Fruit; excellent good Vaults, and several other Conveniences fit for a very large Family. Most of the Rooms in the said House are also Wainscotted, and fitted up with handsome Marble Chimney-Pieces. The whole Premisses are Freehold, and cost L.560 and above L.2000 Building, and pay no Chief Rent whatsoever. PROPOSED, To sell 1799 Shares at One Guinea per Share. That the Purchasers shall, among themselves, Raffle for the said House, etc with the Machine commonly known by the Name of Fourbert's Patent Mathematical Machine, after the same Manner as was practiced in the Raffle for the Musical Clock. That the said Raffle shall be made in St. Mary's Hall in the city of Coventry. That good Assurances in Law shall be made to the Winner of the said House by Council Learned, free from all Incumbrances. I copy the spellings as they are written. As you see, not very enlightening. I also visited the Herbert to try and determine who owned the property on Much Park Street before the Brewery. Argghhhhh! It was very frustrating. I think the the Brewery got number 124/125 Much Park Street on 31st Dec 1878 from William (at that point deceased) and Emma Brain (in 1896 described as of "Arthurlie", Crick Road, Oxford). But that leaves a very big gap back to 1738.
Finding Mr Wright

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