Topic categories:

Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 46 to 50 of 50 posts

Page 4 of 4

1 2 3 4
No actionNo action
50 posts:
Order:    

NeilsYard
Coventry
All posts by this member
46 of 50  Tue 5th Nov 2019 2:57pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2615

Yes Prof I can see that on a 1937 map by Palace Yard opposite St Mary St but who owned the land where the Tech College Sports grounds were and the pavilion? Looking at images of that by the bridge it was a large building. Edited by member, 5th Nov 2019 2:57 pm
Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers
Harrier
Coventry
All posts by this member
Thread starter
47 of 50  Tue 5th Nov 2019 4:06pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:213

The 'sports' pavilion pre-dates WWI as it was used for changing rooms for cross country races and receptions for the various regiments which were billeted in Coventry before being sent to the front. Presumably it was built by the council when the Coventry Cricket Club Company [sometimes referred to as the Coventry Cricket Ground Company] folded in the mid 1880s and the facilities were bought by the council and leased to the Rover Cycle Company on a long lease - the CCCC may also have leased the land if it was in Council ownership already. The company (the CCCC) had built the cycle track in response to the Midland Cycle and Athletic Company which had operated the first cinder banked cycle track in Earlsdon in late 1878 and made a good few bob staging cycle meetings [with a very occasional running race on the grass inside the cinder path]. When the lease ran out about 1932, the Council took charge again and improved the facilities which the Rover had let deteriorate. I have some photos of the council laying the first tarmac surface at this time. The large stand on the home straight was multi purpose eventually replacing the stand on the left in a recent NeilsYard photograph of the start of a cycle race, the 'home' straight for the cyclists was also switched at the same time. A representative rugby match was the first event staged at the newly opened facility in 1880, the stand was built soon afterwards along with the slightly banked cinder cycle path. The Butts opened in April 1881. The stand also provided shelter for the cricket officials (scorers etc) [it was by the Cricket Company in charge]. In those days the stand had windows (seen in the aerial shot at the back of the stand) which overlooked the cricket square which was relocated nearer the rail line (as in the photo) when the Technical College was proposed, releasing a chunk of land for building. I featured the pavilion in 2012 (27th Nov post 21/25 when British Restaurants => Civic Restaurants post 1946 were discussed). Godiva Harriers used the building in the interwar years for changing / refreshments when sports meetings were held on the grass track. Post WWII, the club used the facilities for the Annual Club Dinner and Prize Presentation, so presumably the cooking kitchen was functioning efficiently to cater for over a hundred guests. Documents suggest we hired it from the Council at the time of WWI. As a substantial building its use must have been for other uses than just cricket? Much confusion surrounds the dates of the 'Butts' opening, local historians quoting different months and years, the confusion arising because of determining what each historian refers to as the Butts. The first rugby ground? the stand? the cycle track? the running track? the whole green area fronting Albany Road, with the Bullfield and the Earlsdon track thrown into the melting pot for good measure.
Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers
NeilsYard
Coventry
All posts by this member
48 of 50  Wed 6th Nov 2019 9:14am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2615

Brilliant information, Harrier - thanks. That Sports pavilion amazes me as it was so big! Wonder why it never lasted as it looked a wonderful building to leave neglected - maybe its size was the reason why. If OK I'll pass that information on to the True Coventrian FB page as a friend asked me about it - I will credit you of course. Think I mentioned before, I remember what remained of the stand on the cycling home straight from the early 80's as my brother-in-law at the time raced there frequently. It was mainly wooden in construction - would probably not meet any modern safety requirements as I recall looking through the wooden slatted steps underneath and there was always a collection of rubbish and fag-ends piled up! I have added this before to the Coventry Music / 2-Tone threads but there is a great site recording the Coventry Music scene, called thisisthen hosted by Mark Osborne (so credit to him). His section in there from The Specials shows a selection of images from the Rock against Racism gig at The Butts in June 1981. I rode in to it unchallenged for 10 minutes before I got bored as my grandparents lived in Newcombe Road. Anyway thought you might like this one Harrier if not seen already - Edited by member, 6th Nov 2019 9:21 am
Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers
NeilsYard
Coventry
All posts by this member
49 of 50  Tue 10th Dec 2019 10:04am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:2615

Harrier - just came across these two from the Stilltime Collection. I'm not totally sure on the issue of copyright with that site, so adding the links here. Interesting to see the topshops on Butts in the background here. I have seen this one before (in case you hadn’t). Edited by member, 10th Dec 2019 10:05 am
Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers
Harrier
Coventry
All posts by this member
Thread starter
50 of 50  Tue 10th Dec 2019 11:13am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:213

Thanks for those NeilsYard. In fact I have about half a dozen original photographs of this activity. The resurfacing was taking place following complaints from top riders that the track was unsuitable and in places actually dangerous. With a threatened boycott of good national and international riders, action was taken because the income from several thousand spectators from upwards of several meetings per season could not be dismissed lightly. The 'stadium' on the right is where the original grandstand was built when the Butts was constructed with the start line for the cycle races in front. Note there is no running track, athletics being a poor second best to cycling. For athletics races a temporary track was marked out on the grass, but of course, only measured 360 yards which was unacceptable for championship racing. The cycle path was 440 yards, the standard distance for a track - both cycling and athletics. The part of the stand nearest the camera, is where the entrance to the tunnel under the track was built (see my previous posting)
Butts Stadium and Godiva Harriers

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 46 to 50 of 50 posts

Page 4 of 4

1 2 3 4
No actionNo action

Previous (older) topic

Queen Street
|

Next (newer) topic

Warners and Evans shops
View similar topics in the Sport, Music and Leisure category
 
Home | Forum index | Forum stats | Forum help | Log out | About me | My music
Top of the page
HTML5
1,759,209

Website & counter by Rob Orland © 2020

Load time: 98ms