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The Howitzer Club, King William Street

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dutchman
Spon End
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1 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 1:01pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3082

I've moved my reply to a new thread so as not to drag the Childhood Toys thread off-topic.
On 25th Feb 2012 9:15am, mayjan said: Imagination is a wonderful thing, when I was taken to the Howitzers Club as a child there was a piece of scenery on the stage in the concert room. It was a beautiful country scene and there were hills and a winding road that disappeared into the distance. I always imagined myself walking that road and finding what was at the end of it.
Was it not the view from the terrace of a country house, with the terrace itself in the foreground? It struck me as being suitable as a backdrop for a Victorian music hall song recital but not much else. I stayed at the Howitzer on many occasions and had free access to all areas except the commmittee room, which was strictly off limits to everyone! The sight of that painted backdrop got really monotonous, really fast. Do you remember the makeshift bar at the back of the concert room which was only opened during concert hall events? The staff had to lug crates of beer up that enormous staircase as the beer wasn't 'on tap' in that part of the building.
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
mayjan
Green Lane,Coventry
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2 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 5:55pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2010  Total posts:263

Hi Dutchman, I can only recall hills and a path on the back drop but I was only a child so maybe I just remembered the bits I liked. My dad was a member of the Howitzers and he was there every night and Saturday and Sunday lunch time. Us kids got taken up on a Saturday night and I remember walking up the narrow entry to get to the old club, it was called Inchley Buildings and my mum was born in one of the houses there. My dad used to play bagatelle and he used to let me move the arrow on the scoreboard for him. It got so smoky in there that my eyes would stream, but we still loved to go to the club. We always went on the children's outings and really enjoyed them. At Christmas we always got a gift from Santa. I have a couple of photos of an outing that the men went on and also one of a group of children all ready to go off on a trip, must look them out. Maybe you knew my dad, Dutchman, Wally West and he walked with a limp and worked at AWA Baginton and then moved to Bitteswell. Thumbs up
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
dutchman
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3 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 6:52pm  
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Afraid not Mayjan. I only ever stayed at the club for very short periods at a time so didn't get to know anyone. I did get to go on the outings though Smile I don't remember a bagatelle table, just two huge snooker tables in the games room. Women weren't allowed in the games room, not even the club steward's wife and she ran the place!
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
mayjan
Green Lane,Coventry
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4 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 7:15pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2010  Total posts:263

Are you talking about the new Howitzers that they built after the old one was demolished Dutchman? The old club that I was taken to had a bagatelle table in the main room on the left as you entered the club and everyone was allowed in there. I don't recall there being a separate games room at all. My youngest brother Geoff used to get stood on a table and sing for everyone. We used to enjoy the films that they put on now and again in the concert room. Thumbs up
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
dutchman
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5 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 7:44pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3082

That depends on how you define the old one Mayjan. The club dates from the 19th century and was extended in the 1950s to take advantage of the destruction of the nearby houses. I stayed there in early to mid 1960s by which time it probably bore little resemblance to the original. I've never seen the current one. The games room was right at the back on the left hand side, entered from the main bar via the gap between the gents toilets and the serving counter. Women were not welcome in there and children generally confined to the yard out the back.
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
mayjan
Green Lane,Coventry
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6 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 8:14pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2010  Total posts:263

The time I am talking was 1950s Dutchman so it was probably quite different to when you stayed there. Nice to chat to you about it, I believe it is now gone and there are plans for a Sikh Temple or something similar. I have an uncle and 3 brothers who have always remained members and they are still waiting to. Find out what their payout is going to be from the sale of the building. Cheers
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
dutchman
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7 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 8:38pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3082

This is a map of the club from 1951 Mayjan. I've coloured the location of the games room as I remember it in the 1960s in red and gents' toilets in green:
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
mayjan
Green Lane,Coventry
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8 of 15  Sat 25th Feb 2012 9:15pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2010  Total posts:263

Many thanks for that Dutchman, very interesting. From what you have said my memory is before the club was extended, late 1940s to early 1950s. I had forgotten that the club was actually extended prior to being rebuilt. Cheers
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
poacher
boston lincolnshire
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9 of 15  Thu 27th Dec 2012 8:34pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2012  Total posts:3

I think you may be mistaken about the original date of the clubs founding. I think it was founded after 1918 by veterans of the Royal Field Artillery, hence its full name. The RFA Old Comrades Club and Institute Union. Best wishes to all. Formerly life member.
alan clare

The Howitzer Club, King William Street
dutchman
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10 of 15  Fri 28th Dec 2012 1:20am  
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There has been a club building on the site since the 1880s. What it was called and who owned it I don't know. The Howitzer Club was founded in an outbuilding in Lower Ford Street. It moved to the disused Royal Exchange pub on the corner of Castle Street in 1923 and to the above premises in King William Street only some time after 1926.
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
Primrose
USA
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11 of 15  Sun 30th Dec 2012 10:46pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:189

My dad was a life member of the Howitzers, and I spent quite a bit of time there in the 60s. I remember the bagatelle table was on the left in the low-ceilinged part of the club, probably the original building, and past it on the left, as Dutchman says, was the games room. It was all incredibly smoky and I think the walls were yellowed by the smoke. On the right was a higher ceilinged area where people would get up and sing, sometimes very crude songs which I immediately committed to memory! I think that in this area was some kind of shelf where big baskets of food and maybe other things were on display as prizes, perhaps for tombola? I had no clue what tombola was but I loved the word. Occasionally I got to go up to the concert room and I do recall the backdrop with a terrace and then a country scene. Could there have been a white birdcage as part of the picture? The only performance I remember involved the singing of Scarlet Ribbons,not the cheeriest song in the world!
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
Memories Of Coventry
Coventry
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12 of 15  Tue 19th Mar 2013 11:40pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:26

Here is a photo of The Howitzer Club just before it closed
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
dutchman
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13 of 15  Wed 20th Mar 2013 12:54am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3082

Not the one that many of us remember unfortunately, which wasn't even visible from the road. Sad
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
sapper
Coventry
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14 of 15  Thu 22nd Jun 2017 7:49pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2015  Total posts:2

A 1920's article in the Coventry and Warwickshire Graphic also shows the club at a premises in Quinton Rd. The final location of club in Albert St is the architect's (rough) depiction of a WW1 howitzer. Take a look on the aerial view google maps to see the effect, although it might not become apparent at first sight. The front of the bar was/is? covered with a full-length beaten copper frieze which depicts battlefield scenes. The frieze, a work of art in itself, continues out of the bar and up the stairs.
The Howitzer Club, King William Street
Slim
Coventry a bit
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15 of 15  Fri 23rd Jun 2017 8:26am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:362

I remember the new club building being built, as I could see it clearly from my uncle's butcher's shop over the road. I remember thinking it looked unusual with those rounded red brick columns. All my uncle knew was that it was a club. In later years I learned it was called the Howitzer club. People used to refer to it affectionately as "the gun club". Smile
The Howitzer Club, King William Street

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