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Coventry Research Project

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SeanOk
Coventry
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1 of 18  Thu 2nd Apr 2020 6:05pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2020  Total posts:2

Hello All. Having stumbled across this forum I knew I had to join. I am an avid history fan and am currently nearing the end of my second year with the Open University studying for a BA Honours degree in, of course, History. All being well, when I have completed my third year, I intend to go on to study for an MA in History. That being said, I have taken it upon myself to begin my own sort of research project (in the hope this will prepare me for work expected when studying at Masters level). Being Coventry born and bred, it was obvious my choice of topic was going to be about my home town and as it stands the title of the research I am running with is: Life in Coventry, Before, During and After The Blitz (subject to change) I am posting this message to see if any of you could suggest any help with my research. In particular I am struggling to find much information on Coventry in the 1930's. I am looking to begin my research from around 1937 and ending it around 1942/3. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated - books, newspaper articles, videos, leaflets, pictures - anything! As I say, the 1930's is what I am struggling with, but I would appreciate ideas for any of the years I want to study! Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from all of you! I must say its great to be a part of a forum full of Coventry history fans like myself! Sean.
Sean

Coventry Research Project
Helen F
Warrington
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2 of 18  Thu 2nd Apr 2020 11:36pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2328

Hi Sean, welcome to Rob's fantastic site. Wave There is a lot of pre, post and mid war stuff here, although it's a bit scattered about. There are a number of members who were there. I think that Kaga is our oldest member but I'm not sure if he's 2 or 3 hundred years old Wink His tales are not in chronological order or all in the same place but well worth a read. There are many books and one written by J B Shelton about the bombing, tragically damaging his archaeology collection, called A Night in Little Park Street. If it turns up on ebay though, there will be competition. Books on Coventry There are many pictures of that era. There's a guy building 3D Models, including some that were built at the appropriate era, like Owen Owen and the Rex. Coventry Rebuilt A recent discussion was about the White Lion hotel, that was 'modernised' in the 1920s which included a mosaic, that has just been unearthed. It was damaged during the war, repaired and finally was demolished to build the current town centre. There's even a category link on the left of the screen - Wartime and the Blitz. In other words, there's lots Lol There are topics on shops, businesses, pubs, streets, the fire brigade, etc. A good place to start off site would be Britain From Above where you can see parts of the city from 1920 onwards. Log in to zoom into images. Britain From Above Edited by member, 2nd Apr 2020 11:53 pm
Coventry Research Project
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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3 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 11:26am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1605

Some years ago I "OCR" transcribed a certain book by a certain JB. I'd completely forgotten about it until you mentioned it Helen, but see if you can spot the new article at the bottom of the list on the Forum Members' articles page! Our new member, Sean, might be especially interested. Thumbs up
Coventry Research Project
Helen F
Warrington
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4 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 1:08pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2328

A sobering account that puts our current situation into perspective. I wish I'd met him.
Coventry Research Project
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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5 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 2:18pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1791

Sean. Have you looked at The British Newspaper Archive site? It is a subscription site but it includes a lot of Coventry newspapers from the years you are interested in.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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6 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 3:16pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

SeanOk. How long do you have? We had three kings reign within a year, and we had Wimbledon champions, ladies and gents - will never happen again. We had half a pint of milk a day for a halfpenny, a football team that scored five goals regularly, we had yo-yos and five stones, a little box that brought moving people into the house (television). At night time we scurried underground like rabbits, told what we could or could not eat, wear or where we could work. Somehow, every six months, we lost an hour or gained an hour. We had a blitz, and a war, that curtailed my schooling - try doing lessons in a gas-mask! In Coventry, to me the 1926/27 strike and the expansion of the city changed a lot of old ways and customs and even the 'lingo'. Most of the districts you now know, were urban fields, heaths and woods. But do ask how I can help. Kaga
Coventry Research Project
Helen F
Warrington
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7 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 4:37pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2328

Lots of good advice, I think that your problem is going to be choosing what to research.
Coventry Research Project
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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8 of 18  Fri 3rd Apr 2020 6:19pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1605

On 3rd Apr 2020 1:08pm, Helen F said: A sobering account that puts our current situation into perspective. I wish I'd met him.
Oh, me too, definitely. John Bailey Shelton must've been one of the most interesting locals we could've ever hoped to chat with, especially after all his 1930s "unofficial" archaeology.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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9 of 18  Sat 4th Apr 2020 9:59am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

Rob, A couple of weeks ago I said can we trust old books, looks good in 21st century but Shelton isn't how everyone looked at it back in back in 1940. I would like to have met him, I have a missing story.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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10 of 18  Sun 5th Apr 2020 9:53am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

SeanOk Can I suggest you look at 'Dad's Army' - not the army side but the class system in 39. He’s a bank manager and that puts him a class above everyone, even if he knows little about the army. Porters at the railway station used to carry a single case, that's all over now. Everyone knew where they stood in social standing, and the clergy stood above everyone else, even the aristocrats, and little boys were told to keep quiet in front of grown-ups, and do as they were told.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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11 of 18  Mon 6th Apr 2020 10:19am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

SeanOk, The thirties was one of the most advanced decades in our history, there is a ton of stuff out there. The television is bringing this tragedy to the world's notice, and television's first play was 1930, and Don Bradman made the highest score of the year. Mrs Pankhurst was arrested, we just missed the elections of '29, but women's first ever vote, partly started by a Coventry women (George Eliot and her friends), I believe Coventry was floodlit. Sunday cinemas were made legal, the Bank of England transferred all its cash to America, Belisha beacons, and Beryl Markham flew to USA solo. And in '34 Coventry bought water from carts. We were flying higher and farther than any bird, made our first transatlantic call to the USA and to Australia. Children got school milk, women joined Coventry Fire Brigade, and men still wore a full bathing costume. X-rays, aircraft and motor cars improved. There is a mass of stuff out there.
Coventry Research Project
pixrobin
Canley
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12 of 18  Mon 6th Apr 2020 11:33am  
Member: Joined Mar 2014  Total posts:1139

SeanOk There was a massive social housing programme in Coventry between the wars - dubbed as homes for heroes. I haven't seen much about that on here or on the internet either.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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13 of 18  Mon 6th Apr 2020 12:52pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

Pixrobin Yes in Coventry 1934/6 although The Prince of Wales visited the slums in 1929 he visited the Durham area - the prince that abdicated.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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14 of 18  Mon 6th Apr 2020 2:07pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

pixrobin (sorry, called to lunch) My granddad bought two joint houses before the turn of the century, it had front and rear gardens toilet down rear garden, both houses fed by a well and hand pump. In 1936 the council built a new Tusses Bridge and road, taking our gardens, the pavement only two feet away, but my dad had planted an apple tree in the garden, in memory of his mates that didn't come back from WWI. My granddad had violent rows with the council not to remove the tree, they built the pavement round it. But all the old bucket toilets had to be replaced, so they built a toilet on the side of the house wall, its door six inches from the kitchen door, and then ran a cold water tap into each house to replace the well. Now I don't know who paid for what was a private house, but it solved the slums as they called it, and the apple tree grew in the middle of the pavement until the seventies when the new highway swallowed it.
Coventry Research Project
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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15 of 18  Tue 7th Apr 2020 12:07pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3843

Around 1937 we watched cinema newsreels of the Spanish civil war. Some Coventry kids even went out there, but we quickly saw the nature of modern warfare, the bombing by German planes. I had about ten uncles and about ten cousins that would have to go to war. Watching the newsreels, even in Coventry it would be destruction on an epic scale. By 1938 Chamberlain could have taken us to war, instead he went to Germany, gave us a little time to prepare. It also gave the French Army time to prepare, now in 1939 but no, as far as I'm aware they didn't move one division, and Churchill was furious. Dunkirk, and we stood alone. And the planes bombed Coventry - after a few raids, people saw the defence was poor, but nothing was done and Coventry suffered (my own view).
Coventry Research Project

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