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Owen Owen

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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151 of 165  Fri 14th Dec 2018 11:01am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2961

But Owen Owen and Trinity Street where not the main talking points in Coventry in 1936. We had a prince, about to become king - he had several mistresses, slept with a number of society wives, much preferred big game hunting in Africa to meeting Ambassadors and the like, too busy for royal duties. The other prince had no training for royal duties, and Europe was in turmoil.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Reedwarbler
Coventry
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152 of 165  Thu 3rd Jan 2019 12:10pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2018  Total posts:5

On 28th Nov 2018 9:16pm, Greg said: Have you any idea why they picked on Coventry, in the late 30`s Midland Red? I wonder if it was coincidence that Red House Motor Services also had operations in Liverpool and Coventry?
Why did they choose Coventry? While I was researching my grandfather Gerald de Courcy Fraser, the architect of the pre-war Owen Owen building, I found In Coventry Archives (at the Herbert Art Gallery) a brochure issued by Owen Owen to announce their plans to the people of Coventry. It is not dated, but is probably the pamphlet unfavourably reviewed by the Midland Daily Telegraph on 06 March 1936. The document is copyright, but I have been given permission to quote from it, crediting Culture Coventry Trust/Coventry Archives together with the reference CCA/3/1/6415. The document has the architect’s drawing of the new store, and explains why Owens came to Coventry: Owen Owen, Limited, and T. J. Hughes & Company, Limited have made remarkable progress during the past eight years in a most competitive retail centre, and in an area that was suffering severely from industrial depression. The Directors considered that it would be prudent, as soon as it became practicable to do so, to broaden the basis of the Shareholders' investment, so that the future development of the concern should not be confined only to one industrial area. They, therefore, sought an outlet in a centre dependent for its prosperity on circumstances and industries rather different from those of Liverpool. After careful investigation they decided that Coventry offered scope for a store of medium size doing a popular class of trade, and that it satisfied the conditions for which they sought. So they entered into negotiations with the Corporation of Coventry, as a result of which the Corporation have granted to Owen Owen, Limited, a 99 year lease of an island site in the centre of the city, on which the new store will be built. The illustration above gives an impression of the building as it will appear when completed. The architect is Mr. G. de C. Fraser, F.R.I.B.A. The new building will occupy a triangular site bounded by Broadgate, Cross Cheaping, Ironmonger Row, and Trinity Street. It will comprise six floors, the lowest of which, 32 feet below the level of Broadgate, will be used for the reception and despatch of goods. To avoid any break in the line of show windows, which will be continuous all round the building, the goods vans will enter the sub-basement by means of an inclined roadway and tunnel under Ironmonger Row. Cantilevered steelwork will reduce the number of columns to a minimum, and thus leave unusually large uninterrupted floor spaces. There will be two restaurants, one for Quick Lunch service in the Basement, and one fully equipped restaurant adjoining the Roof Garden. Escalators and Lifts, as well as staircases, will serve all floors. The system of air-conditioning and ventilation throughout the store will, we believe, mark a great advance on anything previously installed in a store of medium size in this country.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Midland Red
Cherwell
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153 of 165  Sun 20th Jan 2019 8:10pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5341

Construction underway in 1937 Thumbs up
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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154 of 165  Mon 21st Jan 2019 1:17pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:410

Interesting to see the building contractors were a Liverpool company where Owen's other (head) store was.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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155 of 165  Mon 21st Jan 2019 2:22pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3316

Must have found the right site at the right time to get that contract.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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156 of 165  Mon 21st Jan 2019 4:58pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2961

MR. But Owens took some of Palmer Lane including the Pilgrims Rest site and buried another piece of Coventry history.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Midland Red
Cherwell
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157 of 165  Mon 21st Jan 2019 6:07pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5341

I know that, Kaga - not sure why you're calling me out on this?
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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158 of 165  Tue 22nd Jan 2019 2:40pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2961

Midland Red Hi, ouch. Not really. Just thought to remind people there was more than just Ironmonger Row. I don't think the site had been built on since Pilgrims, there was also a lot of iron posts with rings that had held chains for cattle pens, not sure if it was in Palmer Lane or in the Market Place? Those houses on the left, were they demolished or left until the bombing?
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Prof
Gloucester
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159 of 165  Tue 12th Feb 2019 3:52pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1066

Owen Owen with café on the mezzanine floor if I remember.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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160 of 165  Wed 13th Feb 2019 9:46am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:410

Hi Prof, I remember the café being in the basement albeit with views down the Burges at the bottom of the 'slope'.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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161 of 165  Wed 13th Feb 2019 9:58am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:531

Hi Wearethemods. There was indeed the café in the basement, with views of tall cranes everywhere as buildings were going up quickly - that was before the "slump", as they used to call it, before they coined the term recession. My mum and I used to go there every Friday after shopping. But that café was for ordinary, common people like us. Somewhere higher up the building, there was indeed a mezzanine, as Prof correctly states, but that was more of a restaurant for the posher people; I believe it had waiter/waitress service, with presumably a higher price to match, which is why we never set foot in the place. I believe it was called the Midway (or Medway...?), as it was midway between floors. Again, I don't recall use of the Italian mezzanine in those days. Smile
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Midland Red
Cherwell
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162 of 165  Wed 13th Feb 2019 11:30am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5341

Midway Thumbs up
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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163 of 165  Wed 13th Feb 2019 12:29pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1504

I seem to remember a posh hairdressers in Owen's as well as you went up the escalator to the first floor on the right. Did not use it myself, I used to go to a hairdressing school behind Woolworths somewhere near the market. Could get a cheap hairdo but took ages!
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
coventry49
Devon
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164 of 165  Wed 13th Feb 2019 6:53pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2015  Total posts:189

If I remember correctly I think there may have even been three restaurants - the self service one on the lower ground floor, The Midway in the middle and an even posher one higher up. The Midway was the one I used most. It had Ercol furniture in it!
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen
lindatee2002
Virginia USA
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165 of 165  Sun 3rd Mar 2019 10:20pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2015  Total posts:10

I worked at Owens during a school holiday, maybe 1964. My friend and I were in ladies' dresses and I think we tried everything on during our stint there. I went to Bishop Ullathorne Girls School from 59 to 65 and the buses used to drop us off in Broadgate. Three of us usually went into Owens and we loved to try the perfume in the fountain. Once, someone reported us for this. As we had uniforms and house colours, it was easy for the school to deduce who the criminals were and we got a proper dressing down.
Industry, Business and Work - Owen Owen

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