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Albany Road / Butts

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BrotherJoybert
Coventry
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1 of 118  Thu 1st Mar 2012 8:32am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:119

Does anyone know exactly where their first factory at The Butts was located? They moved to Earlsdon later - the factory / site has recently been demolished / cleared for the development of 'Clarendon Square' (Clarendon Street) and O'Flanagan Homes will be re-erecting the Earlsdon Heritage Trail plaque that was on the DBS Furniture store when the homes are complete.
Albany Road / Butts
Harrier
Coventry
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2 of 118  Tue 5th Jun 2012 7:05pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:147

The original cycle track at the Butts was built in 1881 by a group of businessmen who went into direct competition to the existing cycle track in Coventry which was producing a tidy income for its owners. The latter were savvy enough to stage a series of 'World Championships' which attracted huge crowds but often with the meetings ending in a punch up with police being called because of some disagreement between the punters and the bookies. The top cyclists from London, Liverpool and Wolverhampton were attracted to Coventry by the high value prizes on offer. These top cyclists usually went head to head in races but sometimes in a handicap; tidy wagers on staked on the side by their backers. The less important races attracted larger number of cyclists competing in each race. Athletics (nearly always handicap races) were a very small part of the proceedings with very few races at each meeting. Athletics was still mostly sociable harrier running in the winter months and gala handicap races in the summer. Public schools and universities was where the 'serious' track athletics took place!! The cycles were mostly ordinary cycles (penny farthings) but one or two races involved three wheelers. There was usually four big meets each year. The standard of the track was poor with tight bends, poorly banked and resulted in frequent spills. Then the Butts came along, the track was superior and was a 440 yards cycle facility. Soon the grass surface was replaced with cinder. The running grass track was squeezed inside the cycle oval and because it did not conform to the accepted length, it struggled to attract any athletics meeting of any real substance. The Butts' company struggled for a couple of years and then threw in the towel, the track being 'taken over' by the cycle industry for testing and racing when the 'safety' bike appeared. The council took the Butts track over in the early 1930s when the Rover Company's lease ran out. A cinder track was laid in the 1950s for athletes but still not standard length, long after the cycle track had been tarmacked. The standard of the cycle track still posed problems however, cyclists of the calibre of Reg Harris and Tommy Goodwin refusing to compete when they saw the unevenness of the surface.
Albany Road / Butts
Midland Red
Cherwell
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3 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 10:56am  
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On 21st Feb 2013 10:50am, Rootes66 said: There was a church, St Martins, at the bottom of Albany Road opposite the Technical College. It was demolished sometime in the 1960s, but it dated back to the early 19th century. I've seen engravings of it with fields and countryside round about it.
It was actually the Church of St Thomas, and I am very pleased that I took this photo in 1976 Thumbs up
Albany Road / Butts
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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4 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 11:14am  
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I seem to remember some old shops opposite the Tech as well. If my memory serves me correct there was an area in front of the shops or shop, there was an old lady who ran a junk shop, I used to love browsing if I had time on the way to the Tech.
Albany Road / Butts
Rootes66
Dunfermline
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5 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 12:03pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:88

Thanks for correcting me, Midland Red. St Thomas's it was. Must have been thinking of "St Martins in the Fields" because of the rural connection! It was obviously quite a substantial building. Pity it went. I think the external masonry was disintegrating. Victorian churches are a problem - too many of them today. Yes, Annewiggy, I remember the shops too. There was also a newsagent/general store. It was in a block of tenements, three-storey with top-shops. Must have dated from the early to mid 19th century. I've seen some good black and white photos of these properties on The Butts, probably taken late 1950s (can't remember the website at the moment). I used to cycle past them every day on my way too and from school, 1959 onwards. I think they were pulled down around 1961 along with a whole lot of similar properties in the streets behind.
Hugh

Albany Road / Butts
Midland Red
Cherwell
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6 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 2:22pm  
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I seem to recall that The Church Bookshop (G J T Collier) was one of the shops Roll eyes
Albany Road / Butts
dutchman
Spon End
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7 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 3:45pm  
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I'm sure I've posted this before but can't find it anywhere? It's a mid 1930s view of the shops opposite the Technical College. The Maudslay 'piano front' bus is just leaving Windsor Street:
Albany Road / Butts
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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8 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 4:12pm  
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Thanks for that Dutchman. I think the book shop may have been in that row in the 60's, where they sold the books you needed for the tech. I think it may have been called the College Book Shop or something like that. I think the junk shop was probably a bit further along, a bit closer to town, maybe in the top shops just showing on the right. I have been scratching my brain and I seem to remember steps in the paving outside the shop and in fine weather she arranged the boxes of stuff on the steps. I went on day release to technical college '63 to '65 and I think it was demolished while I was there. Talking of the Tech does any one know if they still have the vacuum cleaning system in the corridors of the college. There used to be flaps in the corridor and if you lifted them you could hear the noise.
Albany Road / Butts
Greenman
Cumbria
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9 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 4:35pm  
Member: Joined May 2010  Total posts:53

I think the shops in Dutchman's photograph were the ones directly opposite the front entrance to the Tech. The College Bookshop was opposite St Thomas' church.
Albany Road / Butts
Rootes66
Dunfermline
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10 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 5:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:88

Here is a link to the series of photos on English Heritage Viewfinder with pictures of the Butts area 1950s early 60s, I think: Butts. I used to cycle along the Butts from the bottom of Albany Road and turn into Windsor Street and from there up Barras Lane to Bablake. Around 1960/61, the three-storey blocks with top-shops were demolished and also that block of houses with the shop in the photo. I can picture the guys pulling them down with a JCB back-hoe. The terraced houses on Windsor Street remained for a few more years, certainly until I left the area in the mid-1960s. No trace of any of it now. Do you think the College Bookshop was further along into Queens Road, past Roach Bros Scrap Yard?
Hugh

Albany Road / Butts
Midland Red
Cherwell
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11 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 5:35pm  
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On 21st Feb 2013 4:12pm, Annewiggy said: I think it may have been called the College Book Shop or something like that.
Yes, sorry, I got my bookshops confused - The College Book Shop (Mrs Lovell?) was at 56 Butts, opposite St Thomas's, and Collier's Church Book Shop was in Hertford Street Oh my
Albany Road / Butts
Old Lincolnian
Coventry
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12 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 6:57pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2012  Total posts:457

The Church Bookshop was one of my favourite shops when I first came to Coventry. Big grin I seem to remember it was in smaller premises in Trinity Street before it moved to Hertford Street. Does anyone know why it was called the Church?
Albany Road / Butts
dutchman
Spon End
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13 of 118  Thu 21st Feb 2013 9:19pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

On 21st Feb 2013 5:34pm, Rootes66 said: Here is a link to the series of photos on English Heritage Viewfinder with pictures of the Butts area 1950s early 60s, I think: Butts.
That particular terrace is directly opposite the College entrance and was know as 'Union Place'. The Union Arms pub was to the left of picture on the corner of Hope Street.
On 21st Feb 2013 5:34pm, Rootes66 said: I used to cycle along the Butts from the bottom of Albany Road and turn into Windsor Street and from there up Barras Lane to Bablake. Around 1960/61, the three-storey blocks with top-shops were demolished and also that block of houses with the shop in the photo. I can picture the guys pulling them down with a JCB back-hoe. The terraced houses on Windsor Street remained for a few more years, certainly until I left the area in the mid-1960s. No trace of any of it now.
They had all gone by the end of August 1967 when I moved into the area, along with Trafalgar Street and Hope Street which were gradually being replaced with council flats.
On 21st Feb 2013 5:34pm, Rootes66 said: Do you think the College Bookshop was further along into Queens Road, past Roach Bros Scrap Yard?
It was just the other side of Albany Road where Apollo House is now.
Albany Road / Butts
NeilsYard
Coventry
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14 of 118  Fri 22nd Feb 2013 1:28am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1552

How is that not a crime Red! Such a shame. Sad Any reason why that happened? I think I vaguely recall it.
Albany Road / Butts
dutchman
Spon End
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15 of 118  Fri 22nd Feb 2013 3:08am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3033

The CofE could no longer afford the upkeep and there was an opportunity to build high density rental housing on the site, so they took it. The vicarage at least was preserved, albeit converted for multiple occupation.
Albany Road / Butts

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